6 Facts You Need To Know About Efflorescence
The team at Tile Tech Solutions have cared for thousands of square meters of tile and grout maintenance, comprised of hundreds of different types of tile and stone. We are committed to providing the best long-term solution for all aspects of tile and natural stone care.
One problem that we regularly deal with is efflorescence, and one of our most popular services is our efflorescence treatment. Efflorescence is an issue best dealt with by professionals, and we pride ourselves on providing a variety of services for removal and treatment. But what is efflorescence, and how do you know if it is affecting your tiles or grout?
In our second blog post, we offer 6 facts you need to know about efflorescence:
What is efflorescence?
Efflorescence is when a white or grey powder-like substance, which is actually crystallised salt deposits, forms on the surface of tiles or grout. Efflorescence is naturally occuring and can affect brick, concrete, stone, tile and other surfaces. In most cases, efflorescence will begin forming along the edge of the grout joint, and then continue to build from there.
Efflorescence can appear soon after the laying of tiles or pavers, or months afterwards, depending on the climate, humidity and various other factors. When the surface is wet, the efflorescence will seem to disappear. However, once your tiles or stone surface dries, the salt deposits will return. To see what efflorescence looks like, head to our Efflorescence Treatment page.
What causes efflorescence?
Efflorescence is caused primarily by environmental conditions, such as water, rain, snow, condensation and low temperatures. In order for efflorescence to occur, three conditions must be met: the presence of water-soluble salts and minerals within the tile, available moisture to transform the salts and make them soluble, and that the salts must be able to move through a material such as grout to the surface.
The migration of soluble salts to the surface is a process called capillarity, as the salt is dissolved by moisture inside the microscopic capillaries of the tile or stone. When the moisture and salt reaches the surface, it reacts with the carbon dioxide in the air, evaporating the moisture and crystallising the salt to form a white powdery residue.
Can efflorescence be left untreated?
Efflorescence is primarily a cosmetic issue, making your tiles or stone less aesthetically pleasing to look at, but does not by itself cause structural problems. As mentioned earlier, it is a naturally occurring process and it is possible that the efflorescence will fade after a certain amount of time and exposure to the elements.
However, the presence of efflorescence does mean that water has penetrated the surface of your tile, paver or stone, and excessive moisture can over time lead to the growth of mould, rising damp or related water damage issues. It is therefore always best to have efflorescence checked by an expert to determine the best course of action.
What damage can efflorescence do to tiles?
Although efflorescence is mostly an issue of aesthetics, the presence of efflorescence can indicate more serious problems with your tiles or stone. For example, if you notice a build up of powdery residue on grout, this can mean that the grout or grout joints are cracked. The longer this damage remains untreated, the more salt will build up and the worse the problem will become.
The longer you wait to treat efflorescence, the more costly and complicated the removal process will become. Efflorescence treatment is not a DIY task, and specialised treatments and solutions need to be used in order to achieve a long lasting professional result. In severe cases, where there is heavy build-up, your tiles may have to undergo regrouting.
How is efflorescence removed?
Our Tile Tech Solutions technicians follow a particular procedure when undertaking efflorescence treatment, developed over our decades of experience.
Firstly, we undertake an inspection of all areas affected with efflorescence to ascertain the location of the damage. We then scrub or grind off the large salt deposits, and then pre-treat and agitate all affected surfaces with suitable solutions. A period of time is taken to allow the solution to work on the salt deposits. We then pressure clean the surface and extract the efflorescence, remove the damaged grout from all joints, and finally install new high-quality matching grout with efflorescence blockers designed to minimise the chances of it returning.
Is there a permanent solution?
Because efflorescence is a natural process based on environmental conditions, we cannot guarantee that it will not return. Although our technicians use the most advanced equipment and products, no manufacturer of these products can completely guarantee either that it is a permanent solution.
However, our unique and leading efflorescence treatment, which includes specialised chemicals, materials and equipment, is designed to remove and minimise the return of efflorescence, making its recurrence unlikely.
If efflorescence is affecting your home or workplace, contact Tile Tech Solutions today for a free on-site inspection and quote.
You can rest assured that we will deliver the most advanced efflorescence treatment available. The team at Tile Tech Solutions will take care of your floors and walls as if they were our own!