Many homeowners are not aware of the little issues that can pop up in their basement over time. One of the most common questions we encounter is, “What is the white and fuzzy material showing up on my basement walls?”
This odd material that often presents itself on concrete or masonry blocks is called efflorescence. Efflorescence is a deposit that crystallizes onto concrete basement foundation walls, and gives a fuzzy and white or translucent appearance. It is often found in porous materials in basement foundations and walls.
How Does Efflorescence Form?
When water enters your concrete walls, on top of creating foundational issues, it also releases minerals into the blocks. Over time, as the water starts to disappear from your home, the minerals remain in the walls, and start to crystallize. From this point, the crystals will continue to grow, and efflorescence will become more present.
There are a few reasons why efflorescence appears:
- Water has entered into the walls and deposited minerals
- Water or moisture has caused a strong presence in your foundation, and the minerals have dissolved into the concrete
- Cracks or paths have formed to allow the water and minerals to flow through you home
The good news is that without meeting all three criteria above, you won’t notice efflorescence!
Can Efflorescence Be Harmful?
Tom’s Basement Waterproofing tells all of our customers that anything that doesn’t look like it should be forming in your basement, shouldn’t be in your basement. Efflorescence may appear to be only a visual issue, but if you look deeper into the problem, you’ll understand the worry. When the crystals continue to grow inside your walls, spalling or wall peeling will start to occur. When your walls become flaky, your foundation becomes compromised and will start to decompose.
How Can I Avoid Efflorescence?
If you haven’t waterproofed your basement, now is the time to prevent efflorescence from ever appearing! When your walls are protected, water will not be able to enter and stay for crystals to form. However, if you do notice an efflorescence problem possibly starting to form, this may mean you have a leak. At this point, we suggest calling Tom’s Basement Waterproofing to come and professionally assess the situation.
When you’re looking to provide your home with a solid foundation, don’t dismiss the type of concrete or material used to lock in your basement walls. To avoid effloresce we suggest using clay brick, and other materials that will resist water.
For more questions or information on efflorescence, call Tom’s Basement Waterproofing today! (586) 772-7670