How to Remove Efflorescence from Basement Walls?


If you are seeing a powdery or crystalline salt deposit on your basement walls, it is usually efflorescence. It is generally accumulated on brick, stone, or concrete surfaces when water, moisture, or some other type of dampness leaves behind its impurities such as salt deposits.


When you are looking to buy or rent a new property, it is important that you ensure the property’s concrete surfaces including basements walls and floors don’t have any efflorescence. The long-term residual of efflorescence can cause damage to the structural integrity of the walls which can lead to substantial expenditure in the future. That’s why it is important to get rid of efflorescence as soon as possible.


Why Does Efflorescence Occur?


The primary cause of efflorescence is moisture contaminated with salt. The salts aren’t necessarily present in the water as they can come from other sources as well. For instance, when your basement wall is damp, it can absorb salts that are already present inside the concrete or brick. 


They can also come from the cement or grout that is used to build concrete or brick walls. Apart from that, if the basement wall is directly in contact with the ground soil, efflorescence can also emerge from there.


There are external sources of salted moisture as well. If you live in a region where you have hard water (water with impurities or high salt content) in the ground, which could also be a source of efflorescence. Keep in mind that while salt deposits cause efflorescence, they are not the main problem. It’s the moisture or water that is the real issue as it carries salts and allows their deposits to form a residue.


Consequences of Efflorescence


Although efflorescence is not particularly harmful or dangerous in terms of health, it does have negative aspects. It means that you need to remove it instead of just leaving it be. Some of the major issues caused by efflorescence include the following:


  • It signifies the presence of moisture and salts in the walls and possibly the floor of the basement. This can damage the structural integrity of the building or property.
  • The consistent presence of moisture in the basement walls or floor can be harmful to health as it evaporates which reduces the quality of the air you breathe.
  • The salt residue, if not addressed right away, can grow into a major problem which can force you to spend a lot more money in the future to fix the problem.
  • If you are trying to sell or rent out your property, the presence of efflorescence can be a hurdle and can also drive down the value of your property.
  • Not to mention, the presence of white powdery or crystalline salt deposits doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing and can also invite different types of infestation that can lead to further problems.


The aforementioned reasons are enough to make sure that your house. Including basement walls and floor, does not become a home to efflorescence.


Effective Ways of Removing Efflorescence from Basement Walls


As mentioned earlier, it is essential to control and get rid of efflorescence but the first question that may pop in your head is how. Well, depending on your circumstances and the extent of efflorescence’s presence, there are different ways to prevent or remove it.


Strategic Construction

If you are in the process of building your house, there are different construction methods that you can use to reduce the odds of efflorescence growth. For instance, you can manage the amount and quality of water used in grout or mortar.


Similarly, you can rely on copings and eaves to ensure the water doesn’t stay in or on surfaces. You can also go for waterproofing which can be very effective.


Brushing or Washing it Away

Another effective way to get rid of efflorescence is to gently brush it off with a hard brush. Make sure you don’t exert too much force as it can affect the wall behind the salt deposits. Some types of salts will need proper washing using a detergent. It might take a bit of your time but it’s an easy enough process to remove efflorescence.


Using Chemicals to Clean

Depending on the surface of your basement wall and the nature of salt residue, you might need to use certain chemicals to remove efflorescence. However, before using any type of chemical, ensure that you have consulted a professional and only rely on a recommended cleaning agent. 


Don’t use any chemical agents without an expert’s advice as they can further damage your walls.  


Waterproofing Basement Walls

One of the best ways to get rid of efflorescence for once and for all is to waterproof the walls. Since the main cause of the efflorescence is persistent moisture or dampness, getting your walls waterproofed will completely fix the issue. 


Other solutions that involve washing and brushing are continuous treatments as they don’t cure the core issue. With waterproofing, you can actually address the main problem of moisture and prevent efflorescence effectively. 


Get a Quote for Waterproofing Basement Walls


If you are not sure how to deal with the efflorescence problem in your basement or want to get an idea of how much it will cost to completely get rid of the problem, you can get a quote right now from the best contractors in your region. There are certain benefits of relying on a contractor as they can:


  • Provide professional and expert consultation regarding the technical issues and challenges involved in terms of preventing efflorescence completely.
  • Provide the best service leveraging their experience and partnerships with other subcontractors. They basically have the whole organizational structure in place to deal with the issue.
  • Waterproof your basement walls and other areas around your property that are susceptible to efflorescence growth due to the presence of moisture or water.


Final Word


If there is efflorescence growth on your basement walls, you need to address the issue as quickly as possible. And while there are home remedies that work on a temporary basis, the best solution is to waterproof your basement walls to prevent moisture which is the leading cause of efflorescence.