Is Efflorescence a problem?


Alone does not pose a major problem, but it can be an indication of moisture intrusion, which may compromise the structural material. 

While the salts brought to the surface are rarely harmful, the condition of efflorescence indicates that water is moving through your masonry in ways that are not intended. The presence of uncontrolled water can lead to more serious issues such as mold and structural concerns.

What's efflorescence?

There is a possibility that after a couple of weeks or months pass, a snowy haze may
show up on the surface of the pavers. This is referred to as efflorescence. It might
appear randomly or in certain places, and will be more pronounced on dark
colored pavers. The white haze may give the impression that the color of these
brick pavers are evaporating. When wet, the white disappears and the color of these
pavers are enhanced. If they dry, the white haze reappears.

Efflorescence is completely natural, and will disappear with time.

There is absolutely no reason to be concerned that your pavers are damaged or defective. It is a requirement in most cement-based products, in addition to in a number of other presenting products. Here in Florida it merely takes between 2-4 weeks after setup based on the season. The reason it is season dependent will be clarified in the next section.

The chemistry of efflorescence.

All concrete products include cement, which produces water or lime soluble calcium . Though concrete pavers are strong, strong and incredibly compact, they contain countless microscopic veins which operate from the inside of the surface. Moisture from rain, sprinkler systems, underground sources, poor site drainage, or dew moves these microscopic veins. Calcium oxide within the paver reacts with the water from the capillaries and forms calcium hydroxide. This increases to the surface, reacts with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and forms a white haze of calcium carbonate. When moisture on the surface evaporates, the white haze of efflorescence gets observable.
Most states, especially northern states do not possess the subtropical climate that we have here in the Pasco county, Hernando county & Hillsborough county Florida. Some folks may be surprised that we actually have rivers flowing below our feet in the ground. All this moisture in the ground permeates through the ground, through the paver base material and across the brick paver itself. The main reason that is significant is because the process of releasing efflorescence is definitely expedited here in the Tampa Florida region, in addition to further south. Up north, this process may take around 4 weeks before the efflorescence has obviously discharged from the brick paver surface. In Florida nevertheless, it can take no more than 2 weeks during the rainy season. Some may not show signs of efflorescence.

Should you've brick pavers sealed right after setup?

Sealing pavers before them having the chance to discharge any efflorescence that may be within every single brick paver. If you do have them sealed correctly after setup, that sealer can stop the calcium carbonate to evaporate in the air, and the mop will snare that white haze to the pavers, leaving you with a very unsightly mess. Most reliable brick paver installation companies know about the efflorescence process, but will nevertheless offer sealing services so as to place a couple hundred more dollars in their pockets. We've had our customers tell us that when the efflorescence was trapped under the sealer, brick paver installation businesses will tell the home owner it is a natural process and they are not accountable for the efflorescence and it isn't covered under warranty. But often times, the brick paver producers who stick by ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, www.icpi.org) criteria or supplying complimentary replacement paves for each individual brick paver effected by this process. That will also benefit the paver installer that now will bill you to remove the effected pavers, and install fresh. Costing the house owner more money. Do not be bamboozled by those brick paver installers that offer sealing services immediately after installation for a discount. You may wind up spending 3x the sum to have the sealer stripped, efflorescence digitally eliminated and re-sealed.

Eliminating efflorescence

Most producers of pavers put chemical additives at the concrete to decrease the odds of efflorescence. Completely eliminating the opportunity of efflorescence, however, is not possible because it's a natural byproduct of hardened concrete. It will stop when no more calcium hydroxide is available to more into the surface. You will find cleaners available that may remove efflorescence. These will improve the natural beauty of your concrete paver product.


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