Anyone in the masonry or concrete industries has experienced it. The white powder that drives homeowners batty after they spent a pretty penny to have beautiful pavers installed on their driveway or pool deck. What is it?
It won't come off with water. It's efflorescence‚ a major annoyance for both the installer and the homeowner! According to an article from The Masonry Institute entitled "Efflorescence: Cause and Control, the definition is:
ef-flo-res-cence (ef‚Äô le res ‚Äòens), 1. a change on the surface to a powdery substance upon exposure to air, as a crystalline substance through loss of water. 2. to become incrusted or covered with crystals of salt or the like through evaporation or chemical change.
The good news is that there are products available to get rid of pesky efflorescence now. Although muriatic acid and sandblasting are sometimes used to remove efflorescence, they are extreme measures.
We offer STAIN MAGIC, a commercial grade, easy to use cleaner that is specifically formulated to remove rust and efflorescence from both concrete and masonry surfaces. It's a concentrated formula, which can be diluted up to a 1:4 ratio with water (i.e., one part STAIN MAGIC to four parts water), applied to the surface and allowed to work its magic, before scrubbing the surface and rinsing well.
Depending on the severity of the efflorescence, multiple iterations may be necessary. Note, there are cases where the efflorescence is deeply embedded in the surface and will be unaffected by chemical treatments. Once you remove the efflorescence, it still may come back due to the moisture and salts in the paver.
When you use a water-based sealer that is breathable, you avoid trapping the efflorescence below the paver surface (you don't want to live with that white stuff on the surface permanently!). Our masonry sealers all fit the bill to allow your pavers to emit the efflorescence (if they must), and you can then clean them again, touching up the sealer as needed. If you have any questions about efflorescence and the treatment of it, we'd be happy to help.
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