Efflorescence is the formation of salt deposits, usually white, on or near the surface of concrete and clay bricks, causing a change in its appearance. Apart from the discolouration efflorescence is harmless. This is best described as being ‘a temporary skin problem and not a deep-seated disease’.
Efflorescence on Cement Pavers
In Gauteng, efflorescence is most obvious in the rainy summer months, but may be observed throughout the year, especially in irrigated areas and after a sudden drop or rise in temperature. It can occur from within the concrete or from the subgrade (soil below the pavers). With time, efflorescence becomes less extensive and in most instances it disappears completely. Light coloured pavers might show the deposit less than darker coloured pavers.
Efflorescence is a natural phenomenon that occurs through one or a combination of the following processes:
Chemical processes – Formation of efflorescence can be the result of a reaction to one of the components in the manufacturing of the concrete or clay paver with carbon dioxide and / or sulphurous gases.
Physical processes – The formation of efflorescence could be caused by a number of physical processes involving both salt and water transfer in and out of the concrete product, the aggregates used in installation and the subgrade or earth beneath the pavers.
How to remove efflorescence
Efflorescence is difficult, but not impossible to remove. In many instances rain will simply wash efflorescence away.
We believe the best cure for efflorescence is to just leave it as it will go away with time.
“Home remedies” for the removal of efflorescence include:
- Dry brushing and the avoidance of water to clean effected pavers.
- Washing with clean water or a mild detergent.
- Using a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. Using a scrub brush over the affected areas.
Irrespective of the method used to clean efflorescence, it could reappear.
Manufacturers of Brick Pavers cannot guarantee efflorescence-free products – prior-to or post-installation.
How to prevent efflorescence
In recent times, the applications of penetrative paving sealants or protectors have been proven to be successful in preventing efflorescence from returning. Penetrative sealants and protectors saturate and fill the surface capillaries (pores) of the paver, in turn they limit the transference of efflorescence to the surface of the paver by trapping it inside