Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Someone asked in an earlier post about how to get rid of efflorescence, the white salts that leach out of a masonry wall when water gets and sits behind the brick face. I asked a brick rep recently about how to fix the problem.
First, make sure that the weep holes in the wall (if there are any) are open and clear at the bottom. It's helpful to make sure that there's a little bit of mesh (almost like plastic Brillo) in the weep holes so that insects don't crawl up in the wall and live there. Having cleared weep holes will allow some water to drain out of the bottom of the wall. Then, check the top of the wall to seal and/or fix any cracks where water could be getting in. After that, the brick rep suggested just letting the wall be for a few months and let the remaining trapped water leach out. After that, a brick supplier or masonry company can help you remove the remaining efflorescence. The solution is not to blast it off with a water power washer, as that will just push water back into the wall and start the problem over. However, it does involve using a power washer that uses a mix of water, a cleaning solution, and a fine-grade particle (like sand) to quasi-sandblast and simultaneously wash the white film off.
By the way, if you have questions about some weird building thing you've seen lately, take a few pictures and send them my way. Maybe I can answer the question, and if nothing else, it gives me something to blog about rather than my pedestrian life.