Ever wondered what efflorescence is and how it occurs? The occurrence of efflorescence is a potential problem whenever Portland cement products are used. There have been many industry articles and resources available that speak on the issue of efflorescence - It is important to note that efflorescence is not considered a defect of the installation materials, but rather a naturally occurring issue common to all Portland cement based products.
The best way to prevent efflorescence is to better understand what it is and how it happens. Three things have to happen for efflorescence to become a problem:
- There must be soluble salts present (these salts are present in Portland cement products from the manufacturing process).
- Water must be present in the setting bed, mortar bed and/or grout.
- Some type of force (evaporation, gravity, capillary movement, etc...) has to bring the salts to the surface of the installation.
Salts can then be put into solution and brought to the surface. If all 3 things occur then the water evaporates, the salts remain on the surface where they react with carbon dioxide in the air. The reaction turns the salts into a visible white material that collects on the surface. These salts can be calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate, potassium carbonate, or calcium hydroxide depending on the source of the Portland cement raw materials and any additives that may have been added to the concrete or mortar.
Eliminating any of the 3 needed circumstances will eliminate the occurrence of efflorescence. For more information on the best ways to help minimise the occurrence of efflorescence, read the full Technical Data Sheet 1159 here.
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