Efflorescence is a common occurrence when the concrete or mortar used for the construction of your basement contains excess salts. The salts are leached to the surface of the foundation walls as a result of water transfer. This results in white salt deposits on the surface of the foundation.
These deposits often appear within the first year of construction of the foundation. Although they are often viewed as an aesthetic concern, they can become a structural problem if the situation is not properly resolved.
Whether you’re in the planning stages of construction or are dealing with an already constructed home, there are several steps you can take to help you avoid efflorescence. These include:
- Choosing your materials carefully
The content of the materials you use for construction contribute to the characteristics of the material. It is important to choose materials that have low quantities of slats. This will greatly reduce the potential of the formation of salt deposits.
It is also important to be careful with the equipment you use. Ensure that it is properly cleaned after use. This prevents the transfer of contaminants during mixing or laying materials.
- Waterproofing of basement
Ensure that the basement is waterproofed properly. This keeps the moisture out of the foundation walls. With the water kept away, there is little or no chance of deposits forming.
- Treat the surface of the walls
Treating the surface of the walls with a water-repellent material will restrict the penetration of water to the surface of the walls. This will minimize salt deposits on the surface.
How to remove deposits
When you discover salt deposits on your foundation wall, you will probably want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. How they are handled will depend on whether they are soluble or insoluble salt deposits.
Soluble salt deposits can be removed by simply dry brushing them off the surface of the wall. You can use a stiff-bristled brush for this. Insoluble salt deposits ought to be dissolved using a dilute acid. Care should be taken to prevent discoloration of the surface.
It is important to remember that getting rid of the deposits on the surface of the walls is not a permanent solution. It is only aesthetic. The deposits are likely to return if the underlying cause is not dealt with. It is therefore important to contact a waterproofing contractor to ensure that water can no longer infiltrate the foundation walls.