Efflorescence is very simply caused by the action of water entering masonry. That water then dissolves inherent salts, the most abundant of those salts is usually what's known as 'free lime' which is left surplus from the matrix of the concrete.
Removing efflorescence is difficult and labour intensive, and requires acid based remover. Many products attempt to mask the word 'acid' with "water based" and other jargon, and will often mask any unpleasant odour with a nice scent such as lemon. Regardless, an acid pH is essentially what's required to dissolve the efflorescence.
Once efflorescence is cleaned, it is most likely going to return. The only way to try and prevent reoccurrence is to try and prevent water entering the masonry. (The very action of rinsing away acid cleaner with water, is immediately in itself going to promote efflorescence returning).
Apart from complete demolition and reconstruction, there are really only a few options to try and control the efflorescence returning:
- For balconies; rake out the grout, try to impregnate the tile bed through the grout joints and re-grout, this time using Efflock in the grout.
- Apply a surface applied sealer to the masonry. (Observe the service life, chemical base and suitability, all sealers require periodic reapplication).
- Minimise or shelter the area from water (e.g. a roof).
- A combination of all 3 of the above.
Efflock is primarily an additive mixed into cement based materials at a ratio of 1:100 at the time of construction to prevent efflorescence and all the headaches described above. It does however, have a secondary function for use as a surface applied sealer mixed at a ratio of 1:9 which is designed for porous materials to repel water entry. It has a superior service life and is very economical (roughly half the cost), but not suitable for all substrates. For more information, please refer to our Product Data Sheet on our FAQs page, or contact us directly.
Efflock does not sell an efflorescence remover, we provide prevention. Like many of our customers who have had efflorescence problems in the past, incorporating Efflock into your building will prevent these troubles. Remember it for the next one!
pH scale. (Courtesy of Wikipedia).