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What Are the White Stains on My Building? - Efflorescence

Have you noticed a peculiar grey-white stain on your building? Is it powdery? Does it appear to be some kind of mould? We’ve got some bad news and good news for you: it’s not mould, but it is efflorescence. Fortunately, it’s a common sight in the stone stain removal UK business, and we at Spectrum know exactly how to tackle it without causing any undue damage or disruption.

Efflorescence: What is It?

Taken from the French word for “flower”, efflorescence is, in its most simple terms, salt left behind on the surface of brick, masonry or concrete following the evaporation of water from inside the material. To occur, it requires three things to exist within a material: 

Ideally, moisture from within the building’s structure would escape through the mortar, keeping Efflorescence from forming. Sadly, mortar can harden, preventing it from being able to breathe and forcing moisture to escape through the building material. This is when Efflorescence occurs, and it’s what you’re dealing with now.

The aforementioned salt is often already present within the building, although it can also come from the mortar or be present within moisture itself in hard water areas. As for the moisture, it can either be introduced by external sources (like rain) or already be present internally. Naturally, salt dissolves in water, so when both are present inside brick, masonry or concrete, they form a mixture. It’s this mixture that evaporates, and when it reaches the building’s surface you’re left with ugly crystalline masonry stains. 

Should You Be Worried?

You needn’t be overly concerned about efflorescence on your property, but you may want to consider the consequences of leaving it untreated. While it poses no risk to the structure of your building—as mentioned, it is not any sort of mould—it is unsightly. The pale, powdery coating it leaves on buildings could make a poor first impression on clients, residents, customers or guests. Furthermore, it will tarnish the kerb appeal of your property, in turn lowering its value.

For these reasons and more, we recommend dealing with efflorescence sooner rather than later.

How Can You Remove Efflorescence?

As unsightly as it is, Efflorescence is not impossible to treat. At Spectrum, we’ve handled an array of stone cleaning and masonry cleaning contracts involving or centred around the buildup of Efflorescence. We know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

Doesn’t Work - DOFF Machine: The DOFF system is undoubtedly a popular stone cleaning method used by countless stone stain removal UK companies, including us at Spectrum. Unfortunately, while it’s ideal for removing a vast array of stains and troublesome organic matter from buildings, it has little impact on ground-in carbon staining like efflorescence. What’s more, the high-pressure nozzle and super-heated spray of the DOFF system can risk causing inadvertent damage to the building. If you’re the owner of a culturally or historically significant building, you’ll want to be cautious around the DOFF system.

Does Work - TORC Machine: Efflorescence requires a lighter touch than the DOFF machine can provide, which is why the TORC system should be your tool of choice. Instead of a high-pressure stream—like the DOFF system—TORC makes use of a unique modular nozzle (available in aperture widths of 5mm - 13mm) to release a swirling vortex spray. While gentle, this spray is remarkably effective, using a mixture of compressed air, water and fine granules to lift efflorescence and other masonry stains.

TORC Machine: What Else Can It Do?

In addition to removing efflorescence, the TORC machine can effectively handle:

The TORC machine is also the perfect solution for cleaning stains from intricate stone architecture. The replaceable nozzle feature and sensitive controls allow for delicate stone cleaning where damage is a serious concern. 

Efflorescence Treatment with Spectrum

Spectrum’s team of operatives pride themselves on their wealth of knowledge regarding the maintenance, repair and restoration of building exteriors, particularly when it comes to caring for heritage stone buildings. If you’re looking to entrust your efflorescence-stained building to a reliable team of specialists, you’ve come to the right place with Spectrum. 

We work 100% scaffold-free using IRATA-approved industrial rope access methods. This means that, with Spectrum, you can enjoy all the benefits of an expert property maintenance service without any of the disruption of scaffolding for your clients, residents or employees.

Our operatives won’t settle for second-best. They take a bespoke, flexible approach to every problem, not resting until the client is satisfied. We think it’s crucial that our team provides the best service possible. While a "one size fits all" approach works for other companies, it just isn’t good enough for us.

Contact Spectrum today and get our operatives on your side.

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