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Efflorescence

Efflor, Efflo – What? Efflorescence

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*Since 2020, some pavers that have been manufactured are not fully cured out; they are still green and need longer to cure out after installation. Cheap brick with a horrible base. This base creates this calcium build-up.

Always Remember: Cheaper isn’t better. Not in the long run, as it may cost you four times the original cost of doing it right the 1st time.

Is there a “whitish powdery cloud” covering your beautiful new patio? Before you pick up the phone to complain, we urge you to read this. The white haze you’re seeing is called paver efflorescence. While it may be ruining the appearance of your patio, paver efflorescence is entirely natural and is not damaging your pavers in any way. Paver efflorescence, also known as ‘calcium hydroxide’ or ‘free lime,’’ can occur a few weeks after the installation of your pavers and is much more common than you may believe.

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Efflorescence (which means “to flower out” in French) is the dissolved salts deposited on the surface of a porous material (such as concrete or brick) that are visible after the evaporation of the water in which it was transported. The moisture that creates Efflorescence often comes from groundwater, but rainwater can also be the source. Efflorescence alone does not pose a significant problem but can indicate moisture intrusion, which may compromise the structural material.

There is a chance that after a few weeks or months pass, a white haze may appear on the surface of your pavers. This is known as Efflorescence. It may appear randomly or in certain areas and be more pronounced on dark color pavers. The white haze may give the impression that the color is fading. When wet, the Efflorescence seems to disappear, and the color of the pavers is enhanced. When dry, the white haze reappears. There’s no reason to be concerned that your pavers are damaged or defective. The concrete pavers are experiencing a natural process that occurs in all cement-based products. But the condition will usually correct itself with time and exposure to the elements; again, Wait a minimum of 30 Days before sealing. All concrete products contain cement, which contains calcium. Although concrete pavers are solid, strong, and very dense, they have millions of microscopic capillaries that run from the interior to the surface. During wet weather, moisture enters these microscopic capillaries and reacts with the calcium to form calcium hydroxide. As the stone dries, the water rises to the surface. On the surface, the water evaporates while the calcium hydroxide reacts with carbon dioxide to create calcium carbonate (the white haze).

Sealed pavers cannot breathe properly, causing the pavers to turn milky white; if this happens, it’s possible the pavers were sealed incorrectly or too early.

Efflorescence will stop when the supply of calcium hydroxide is exhausted. Over the years, the Efflorescence that does occur will also be washed and worn away by rainwater and wear and tear.

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What is it?

Efflorescence may also be referred to as calcium hydroxide or free lime. This is an entirely natural occurrence Efflo is a whitish haze that appears on the surface of concrete pavers within a few weeks or months of installation. Efflo may also be referred to as calcium hydroxide or free lime. Efflorescence is an entirely natural occurrence. It usually occurs in random areas throughout all types of concrete pavers. However, it may appear more pronounced on dark-colored pavers. But don’t worry. Even though it gives pavers the appearance of fading, it does not affect the structural quality of the pavers.

Why does it happen?

All concrete products contain cement. As the cement hydrates, it produces lime or water-soluble salts, such as calcium hydroxide. The calcium hydroxide is soluble in water and therefore migrates to the surface of the concrete pavers through capillary action. When the calcium hydroxide reaches the surface of the pavers, a chemical reaction occurs with the carbon dioxide in the air. As it reacts with the carbon dioxide, the calcium hydroxide forms water-insoluble calcium carbonate. The calcium carbonate creates a whitish haze on the surface of the concrete pavers. As the moisture evaporates from the surface of the pavers, the whitish haze becomes more pronounced. Finally, and as naturally as the Efflorescence appeared, it will fade.

Efflorescence will most likely disappear within the first year of installation… Most concrete paver manufacturers have attempted to control the problem of Efflorescence by using an admixture in their products. However, no manufacturer has eliminated the problem.

Should you have brick pavers sealed right after installation?

DO NOT SEAL PAVERS SOONER THAN 4 WEEKS AFTER INSTALLATION IN FLORIDA!

No matter how inexpensive it sounds now, which will be costly later.

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Sealing pavers before allowing them to breathe and the opportunity to release any efflorescence that may be within each individual brick paver will cause that whitish haze.

Suppose you do have them sealed right after installation. In that case, that sealer can prevent the calcium carbonate from evaporating into the air, and the sealer will trap that white haze into the pavers, leaving you with a very unsightly mess. Most reputable brick paver installation companies know about the efflorescence process but will still offer sealing services to put a few hundred more dollars into their pockets. Our customers have told us that once the Efflorescence was trapped under the sealer, brick paver installation companies will tell the homeowner that it is a natural process. They are not responsible for the Efflorescence, which is not covered under warranty. However, the brick paver manufacturers who abide by ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, www.icpi.org) standards often offer free replacement pavers for each brick paver affected by this process. This will also benefit the paver installer, who now will charge you to remove the affected pavers and install new ones!

They were costing the homeowner more money. Don’t be tricked by these brick paver installers that offer sealing services immediately after installation for a discounted price. You may spend 4x the amount to have the sealer stripped, efflo chemically removed, and re-sealed the right way.

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Eliminating Efflo

Most producers of pavers put chemical additives in the concrete to reduce the likelihood of Efflorescence. In most cases, these additives do the job. Unfortunately, eliminating the chance isn’t possible because it’s a natural byproduct of hardened concrete. It will stop when no more calcium hydroxide is available to move to the surface. However, there are cleaners available that can remove efflo. These will enhance the natural beauty of your concrete paver product.

Frequently asked questions.

Q: When will Efflorescence stop?
A: Efflorescence will stop when the supply of calcium hydroxide is exhausted. Over the years, the Efflorescence that does occur will also be washed and worn away by rainwater and wear and tear. If you live in an area of frequent rain and sunny days, Efflorescence and its passing may occur quickly. The process may take much longer in drier climates.

Q: Will Efflorescence go away naturally?
A: Since many factors are involved in its formation, it is difficult to determine when Efflorescence will stop. Just as it appears naturally, Efflorescence will eventually disappear. Although, over time, rainwater can wash and wear it away, please note that it is necessary for wetting and then drying to occur before Efflorescence is drawn out of the stones. Watering the driveway using a sprinkler during dry periods can help expedite the process. Often, here in Florida, for example, this time frame can be as short as two weeks in the rainy season and as long as eight weeks during droughts or winter times.

Q: Can Efflorescence be removed without the wait?
A: Yes. Although Efflorescence will eventually go away naturally, commercial cleaners are specifically formulated to remove Efflorescence from the surface of the concrete pavers. However, these cleaners will not prevent additional Efflorescence from occurring if you use them too early or incorrectly; you have to use them exactly as described to avoid making them worse or creating a new problem on top of your existing one. For example, suppose you only want to clean the pavers once (say before sealing them). In that case, we recommend you wait approximately ten rainfall/drying periods before cleaning the surface deposits as most of the Efflorescence should occur by then. Please note that it is necessary for wetting and drying to occur for Efflorescence to be drawn out of the stones. Therefore, watering the driveway using a sprinkler during dry periods can help expedite the process.

Wait 30 days before having your pavers Sealed.

When all else fails, Hire us to bring the life back into your pavers.

Use our Contact Page, and we can get you on the right track.   

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Spring Hill, FL 34608