Have you seen white, powdery and dusty-looking deposits on your walls, especially around the corner edges of your home? Well, it’s time you acted on it! Why? Because, not all white things are pretty, and it’s no dusting from Santa. What we are staring at is: Wall Efflorescence: a condition where salt (white) deposits are formed on the surface of the Walls. The formation of salts is usually a result of excessive moisture in the tile. It is also known as Whiskers.
What is the cause of wall efflorescence?
The appearance of this white-coloured grouts or salt deposit happens when water enters the brickwork. The internally held salts dissolves in the water, while leaving its essential salts into masonry. So, what is left on the wall is the surplus from the base of the concrete. Basically, as the water evaporates from within the surface, the natural mineral in the water crystallises and becomes visible on the surface. Thus, if the walls are darker then efflorescence becomes more apparent.
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What are the stages of wall efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a common occurrence, and it happens largely on more porous stones and sometimes even on tiles that aren’t on non-porous surfaces. The most common places, where you will notice efflorescence is around bathroom, driveway, and other areas that are likely to have high moisture. This happens in two stages:
One that happens instantly after usage is known as primarily efflorescence, and the other that happens at a later time – secondary efflorescence.
Impact of Efflorescence
The good news is that this annoying built-up isn’t hazardous. This is just salt and can be easily removed. However, it is also an indication of excess moisture. So, it’s important to treat the moisture issue, which can cause deterioration if not treated in time. But, on the whole, efflorescence on the surface is mostly an aesthetic issue.
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Treatment for Efflorescence
Sandblasting is one of the most popular and traditional ways of cleaning tile efflorescence. However, it’s harsh on the overall surface and removes everything in sight. Basically, the abrasive action of sand erodes the surface of the brick and the mortar joints along with salt deposits. This, in turn, makes the surface highly porous. Thus, it’s key to use sandblasting with caution, and follow it up with waterproofing.
The other option is to go with special chemical cleaners. Here, one must follow it up with a thorough cleaning of the surface with water to ensure that the floor is free of all cleaning agents, which could be acidic in nature.
Lastly, one of the most accepted chemical cleaners is muriatic acid in a mild solution. So, look out for this solution in any brand that you use, and follow it up by using one portion muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid, HC1) to 12 parts of water. Alternatively, you can go for resin-based ceramic tile joint fillers like Roff Rainbow Tile Mate (RTM) Epoxy. This solution exhibits stain resistant, chemical resistant, hard wearing and impervious properties, with a high degree of resistance to abrasion and impact.
However, it’s important to follow-up this process of cleaning till the chain of natural efflorescent chain is broken. For this, you can also use joint fillers like Roff Rainbow Tile Mate. This joins up to 5 mm width tiles, and can be used for external and internal tiles of the walls.
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Well, you must know it’s not a chronic issue and wall efflorescence can be easily controlled. And, to avoid its reoccurrence make sure there is adequate substrate drainage, which prevents salts from evaporating.