Efflorescence is a Sign Pointing to Potential Brick Repair or Replacement Needs
While structures made of brick and/or masonry will often reflect the qualities of strength and longevity, they are still susceptible to some degrees of damage/failure. Sometimes, the signs of weakening are rather apparent – crumbled bricks, missing mortar, and even total collapse – but there is at least one sign that can often be dismissed as just being an eyesore or maybe given surface treatment only. This is the presence of efflorescence, or the white crystalline substance that forms on the face or surface of brick/masonry, and it should be cause for concern.
Efflorescence is in reality a deposit of salt and minerals left behind after water that has seeped out of the brickwork eventually evaporates. And while this efflorescence can be removed by applying acid, chemical cleaner, or sandblasting, the fact that water has penetrated the brick/masonry is the root issue, and likely the reason that eventual repair or replacement work will be required.
Concerning the Exterior of a home/building i.e.: walls, chimney, and foundation, there are several ways in which water or moisture can penetrate brick/masonry and ultimately lead to efflorescence; these include:
- Leaks in the roof or around windows and doors
- Cracks in the brick, the foundation, or the mortar
- Prolonged exposure to changing weather conditions
- Absorption through dried or non-waterproofed exteriors
- Overflow from ice dams or improperly maintained gutters
- Antifreeze added to mortar during construction in the winter
With respect to Interior surfaces (basement walls, concrete floor), a primary contributor to water or moisture penetration is a disproportionate level of humidity, which can be attributed to a variety of sources such as:
- Water heaters
- Cooking and canning
- Showers, saunas, hot tubs
- Unfinished walls (lack of moisture barriers)
The appearance of efflorescence on a brick/masonry surface probably means that water penetration has been occurring for quite some time, and that the related brick damage has been going on for a while also. This type of staining or residue should stimulate the property owner to schedule a complete inspection of their building envelope to determine the source of the problem and the appropriate course of action to remedy the situation, thereby preventing such types of damage or situations as:
- Reduced curb appeal and property value
- Water damage to the interior of the home
- Weakening of the home/building foundation
- Decline in energy efficiency due to heat loss
- Structural collapse of a chimney/external wall
- Replacement of roofing, windows, and/or doors
This complete inspection should be performed by professionals with extensive experience in building envelope maintenance and repairs, like the crews from Avenue Road Roofing.
Complete Masonry and Brick Damage Repair Services for Toronto Homeowners
Although it would probably be a more economical approach, cleaning efflorescence from the surface of masonry work might not be the best long-term option for homeowners or property owners in Toronto. Neither will do-it-yourself brick repair and/or replacement, unless that individual happens to have the specialized skills needed to complete the job without compromising the stability and integrity of the wall, chimney, window frame, etc.
Due to the potential extent and severity of the underlying complications associated with efflorescence, it would be highly advisable to seek expert masonry repair or replacement services to ensure that the work is done correctly and completely. The masonry services division of Avenue Road Roofing offers the skills and expertise that homeowners need to repair any and all brick damage quickly and efficiently.
These specialists will provide quality workmanship for the following types of brick repair and masonry work:
- Foundation waterproofing
- Chimney repairs or rebuilds
- Brick replacement/restoration
- Fireplace refurbishing or repairs
- Tuck-pointing/repointing mortar joints
- Construction and repair of parapet walls
- Brick and stone window ledge replacements
- Formed concrete repairs (stairs, porches, walls)
For additional information on the masonry services offered by Avenue Road Roofing, visit our Masonry Work page.
If the brick or masonry work of your Toronto property is showing signs of efflorescence, it could be an indication of more extensive water damage. Call the masonry division of Avenue Road Roofing today at 647-360-7743 to schedule a complete inspection of the building envelope and determine the best course of action to restore the integrity of your home or office.