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Randy McKee Masonry
Home of Randy Mckee Masonry
Oregon C.C.B # 91188
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I have white powdery looking substance on my new masonry

Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of water-soluble salts on the surface of masonry. Although efflorescence
is unsightly and a nuisance to remove, it is not harmful to the brick masonry nor does it affect the structural integrity
of the masonry. For efflorescence to occur, there must be a source of water into the masonry, there must be soluble salts within the
masonry, and there must be a path for the water to get to the surface of the masonry and evaporate.
Efflorescence occurs only occasionally and it is difficult to predict when it will occur. However, efflorescence is
generally associated with wet and cold weather, and the early life of the building.
The source of the salts may be from either the cement and/ or lime in the mortar, adjacent materials or occasionally the

Dealing With Efflorescence

It is advisable to allow the brickwork to dry out completely before attempting to remove efflorescence. Cleaning
efflorescence before the brickwork has had time to dry out will be ineffective, as the efflorescence is still occurring.
The removal of efflorescence is relatively easy.
Efflorescence salts are water soluble and generally will disappear of their own accord with normal weathering.
This is particularly true of "new building bloom".
If more immediate removal is required, efflorescence salts can be removed by dry brushing or with clear water and
a stiff brush. If this method proves to be ineffective then more potent cleaning products can be used.
As with all cleaning procedures, it is advisable to try first on a sample panel in an inconspicuous area to ensure that
the method will be effective, before cleaning the rest of the building. Always allow at least three days for the wall to dry
out before assessing the effectiveness of the method

Other Considerations Regarding Efflorescence

 In extreme cases of efflorescence, a thin layer of poultice can be applied to the masonry surface after cleaning. This will draw the salts out beyond the brick surface. The poultice can then be washed off with clean water. Power washing is not recommended to remove efflorescence as this process will drive additional water into the masonry and can result in further efflorescence.
If efflorescence occurs repeatedly, it is an indication of excess moisture entering into the brickwork. Efflorescence
can be a useful indicator that roof drainage details are incorrect, or that there is exfiltration of air from the interior.
In order to prevent further efflorescence, the source of this moisture must be identified and eliminated. Eliminating this
moisture will help reduce further moisture-related problems.

 Lime Run or "Bleed"

This is a rare phenomenon. Unlike normal efflorescence which is deposited as a thin surface layer, lime weeping
builds up to form a thick encrustation in a localized area. It usually occurs at joints, cracks, or base wall flashing
level. Lime weeping is more difficult to remove.
Use of acid soaps or muriatic acid and should  be used in a cut solution.
Should I seal my masonry?

Yes and No

It depends on the sealer  product.
sealing will keep the weather out of the masonry to help prevent spalling , (Spalling is a result of water entering brick, concrete or natural stone and forcing the surface to peel, pop out or flake off. This is because there is salt in water. Salt pushes outward from the inside. Eventually, spalling can cause crumbling and destruction of a structure.)
Spalling is also caused by freeze thaw. when masonry absorbers water and freezes it can expand inside the masonry and pop the surface of the masonry.
Sealing has it good and its bad, but it really comes down to the sealer.
Use a sealer that allows the brick to breath, it should not seal it so that is forms a complete plastic seal like surface..it should penetrate the surface and not stand on the surface.
Randy McKee masonry does not recommend ANY sealer product.
There are good sealers , but finding the right sealer and putting it on at the right time is the trick.
Don't put it on when it has rained in the last 3 days and temperatures should be at least in the 70s's .
Your masonry SHOULD BE completely dry, if not ,  this is where a nightmare can happen...if you seal masonry and it is still wet , you could have efflorescence come up UNDERNEATH the sealer ( especially a sealer that lays on top on the masonry)..when this happens there are now methods of removing teh sealer or reliquifying the sealer to allow the water to vaproize.

Concrete sealers

There are acrylic sealers that do layon top of concrete, these sealers are for either slowing down the cure rate  or sealing water color stains or acids stains and stamp concrete color.
these work very well ,However if you have either  stamp or colored concrete it is recomended to seal the slab every 18 months to insure the base is safe .
It will depend on the wear and tear of the concrete areas involved..if you drive on it seal it.

Rust Stain Removal
Rust is one of the most difficult stains to remove from marble, granite and other stone surfaces. Many of the rust removers available in stores can damage stone. You may want to give the following suggestion a try:
There is a product called "Iron Out" that is available from most home centers and hardware stores. This product is a white powder that is designed for removing iron from water softeners, but also works great for removing iron and other metal stains from stone. To remove iron stains mix 1 part "Iron Out" to 2 parts poultice powder (diatomaceous earth). Add water until you get a soupy consistency. Apply this mixture to the iron stain, cover with plastic and let it sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours remove the poultice and reapply if necessary.
As with any stone treatment it is always good practice to try this out on a small section of stone that is not visible to make sure it will not do any damage.

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