What is efflorescence and how to remove it

By Published On: April 13th, 2023
Close up of efflorescence on red bricks


Brick and Masonry stain removal

Efflorescence build up on bricks
Efflorescence build up on brick wall

How to identify efflorescence

Efflorescence is a deposit of salts that can form when water is present in or on brick, concrete, stone or other building surfaces. It has a white or greyish tint and consists of salt deposits that remain on the surface after water evaporates. Brick staining or efflorescence can appear as a powdery substance on floors and walls and requires special care to treat.

Incorrect cleaning methods and chemicals can destroy masonry

We have received panicked calls from homeowners as they hired a contractor who applied the wrong chemical to the surfaces in an attempt to remove the brick staining which in fact made it worse. When this didn’t do the trick, they gave it all a good wash down with a high pressure washer.

The result of this onslaught was that the façade of the house looked even worse. Efflorescence gets worse after a spell of rain, and the saturation of the bricks caused during the power washing heightened the problem. More pressure equals more water, and if this façade isn’t treated before the winter, the water in the bricks will freeze. The formation of ice inside the brick will lead to them cracking and breaking, which will make the pores bigger and result in the bricks simply crumbling away.

This kind of situation is sadly not uncommon, and this isn’t by any means the first time we have had to repair damage caused by inappropriate cleaning methods. It is absolutely crucial that you hire a knowledgeable contractor to clean and treat brick and masonry. In many instances, we were able to reassure the client that they had come to the right place and we would be able to salvage the situation.

Efflorescence build up on stone steps
Efflorescence removed from stone steps

How to remove efflorescence ?

Firstly try to identify if there is any water issues / leaks in the proximity that could be causing the staining. Blocked gutters and damaged rain water goods can be the agitator of efflorescence and repairs should be completed before any cleaning commences.

If the area in questions is quite small, there are some efflorescence home remedies you can try.

  • Diluted vinegar: If you’re in a pinch, household diluted white vinegar can be used on efflorescence. It’s less harmful than industrial chemicals and you most likely already have vinegar in your kitchen.
  • Brushing: With a strong brush, you can remove efflorescence with ease.
  • Rinse the building surface: Rinse the building surface with a little water. If the surface is outdoors, you can use a hose to spray down the surface. Or, if the surface is indoors, you can use a spray bottle filled with water to rinse the surface thoroughly and softly brush away any surface residue.

Get in touch

If you are experiencing brick and stone staining we would love to hear about it. Dont hesitate to call us or send in the details of your project through our contact page at  https://pmac.ie/contact-pmac/

PMAC is a registered Heritage Contractor and a link for the site can be found below. 


Related Posts