Ever deal with a white, powdery residue built up on your concrete or cinderblock basement wall? Unlike a drywall water damage stain, this substance can be cleaned off. But you might notice it coming back even after scrubbing it away.
This phenomenon is called efflorescence, and it’s a sign that your basement is leaking. At Peak Structural, we have years of experience dealing with efflorescence. We’re here to help you understand what causes it, and how you can get rid of it for good.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Water Collects in Soil Around Your Basement Walls
When your basement was constructed, builders excavated soil to start creating the foundation. Once your home was complete, soil was backfilled to create the underground part of your basement. The problem here is that once soil has been displaced from its natural compaction, it’s looser than the soil surrounding the tightly packed excavation barrier. This creates a “clay bowl effect,” which allows water to easily collect around your foundation walls.
Water Seeps into Your Concrete Walls
Concrete is an extremely absorbent surface. You may notice this when it rains, that the concrete driveway or sidewalk around your home soaks up water. The same goes for the concrete walls in your basement. As water is soaked up by the loosened soil surrounding your home, your concrete walls soak up this moisture as well. They can even fill with liters and liters of water.
While drought is a serious concern in Colorado right now, it only makes your basement more vulnerable. During the first drought-breaking rain, the soil around your home and the concrete walls are particularly thirsty. As your concrete walls absorb the water, the water absorbs salt from the construction materials, too.
Your Walls Leak and Leave Behind Dry Salt Deposits
As water overwhelms the capacity of your concrete walls, it will begin to leak and trickle out. Water will act as a vehicle for the salt in the concrete, and as it seeps through the walls, the salt comes with it. Once it’s reached the inside of your basement, the water will evaporate, leaving behind salt deposits, aka, efflorescence.
Efflorescence itself is not a problem. While it can be an eyesore to your basement walls, efflorescence won’t pose a threat to you or your family’s health. It doesn’t emit a smell, nor is it a growing organism like mold. However, efflorescence is a major red flag for a real problem in your basement, water intrusion and leakage.
Having an interior drainage system and sump pump installed can help manage the water seeping through your basement walls. The concrete lining your basement walls is absorbent and fills with water. A drainage system works to collect this water instead of allowing it to build up in your basement walls, then leak, leaving a trail of efflorescence behind.
On its own, no, efflorescence does not go away. You’ll have to scrub it off your walls using either a store-bought or at-home efflorescence cleaning solution. And if you don’t address the problem at the source, it will continue to appear on your basement walls.
The white fuzzy substance you’re seeing on your basement walls is called efflorescence. It’s dried up salt deposits left behind from evaporated leakage in your basement. If you see efflorescence in your basements, it’s harmless. But it is a sign that you have a basement leak.
At Peak Structural, we have high-quality solutions that stop efflorescence from happening in the first place—so you won’t have to keep scrubbing it away. Our experienced basement experts use permanent solutions to stop water intrusion and will continue to maintain your basement years after installing the Service. Learn more.
Call Peak Structural for A Free Inspection of Your Efflorescence
For more than 30 years, Peak Structural has been helping people in Denver, Pikes Peak, and Colorado Springs protect their basements, foundations, and crawl spaces. If you notice efflorescence in your home, we can take a look at it for free and tell you exactly what’s going on. We won’t pressure you to book with us, but will provide you with a free, no-obligation quote.
You have a lot to think about as a homeowner—and basement waterproofing can help you stop the problem in its tracks, so you can focus on what really matters most. Get started today.