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Marmoran custom-made wall coatings

Specialists in custom-made wall coatings, Marmoran knows a thing or two about walls – and how to keep them looking spic and span.

Especially in South Africa where harsh weather conditions can affect the functionality and aesthetics of a building.

Here, they share all you need to know about efflorescence – and how to combat it in your walls.

What is efflorescence?

“Efflorescence is a common occurrence in wall coatings, particularly in concrete, brick, and masonry finishes. It surfaces as the formation of crystalline deposits on/or under the coating, leading to an unsightly appearance. These deposits primarily consist of salts like calcium, potassium, and magnesium, either inherent to the building materials or present in the surrounding environment.

What causes efflorescence? 

“Water is the underlying cause of efflorescence. When a wall coating or masonry structure absorbs moisture from rain, groundwater, or atmospheric humidity, it dissolves the soluble salts within the materials. As the moisture evaporates and moves towards the surface, the salts are left behind, creating the distinctive white, powdery stains associated with efflorescence.”

How can efflorescence be prevented?

For those looking to prevent or minimise the impact of efflorescence, several strategies can be employed:

Material Selection: Opt for wall coatings and masonry materials with low water absorption characteristics. This reduces moisture penetration, lowering the potential for efflorescence.

Adequate Drainage: Ensure effective drainage systems are integrated into the design to redirect water away from the walls. This significantly reduces moisture contact with the wall coating.

Craftsmanship Excellence: Meticulous construction practices that minimise gaps and cracks in the wall can deter moisture penetration.

Waterproofing: The application of waterproof sealers or coatings creates an impermeable barrier against moisture, lowering the risk of efflorescence.

Routine Maintenance: Regular inspections can detect efflorescence in its early stages, allowing for prompt issue resolution and preventing further spread.”

What can be done if there’s already efflorescence in the wall coating?

“While efflorescence can be removed, it’s vital to recognise that it’s a symptom of water ingress. If the root cause of water ingress is not addressed, the white deposits may return. Therefore, architects and builders must prioritise identifying and mitigating the sources of moisture infiltration to prevent the recurrence of efflorescence. This proactive approach not only preserves the beauty of architectural coatings but also ensures the long-term structural integrity of the building.

If efflorescence has already manifested, steps can be taken to eliminate it:

Dry Brushing: Gently brush the affected area with a stiff bristle brush to remove the powdery deposits, taking care not to damage the coating.

Water and Vinegar Solution: A mixture of water and white vinegar (1:1 ratio) can dissolve efflorescence. Apply the solution to the affected area and rinse thoroughly with water afterwards. NB: Do not attempt to clean with a bleach solution as this may irreparably damage your coatings.

Commercial Efflorescence Cleaners: Specialised commercial products are available such as our very own Marmoclean.”

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Contact: Marmoran


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