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Efflorescence is a term used to describe white deposits of crystalline salts on a masonry surface. Left to continue unabated, it can cause ongoing problems, particularly when painting an affected surface.
Efflorescence must be removed prior to painting as it can prevent paint and other coating systems from adhering properly.
As this resource explains, efflorescence occurs when moisture moves through substrate, transporting minerals salts with it and leaving a deposit of crusty white mineral salts. The moisture either needs to be blocked or exhausted to prevent efflorescence from taking place.
There are several steps that can be taken at the design and construction phase to stop efflorescence in masonry. Among these are ensuring that the substrate is fully cured prior to painting and specifying factory-mixed cement renders that are lime free or low in calcium and polymer reinforced. This resource explains several more practices that can be used to prevent efflorescence.
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This resource is designed for builders and industry professionals who want to understand what efflorescence in masonry is and what can be done to remove it post-construction.