Efflorescence on Damp Wall l Rules for brick laying

Efflorescence on Damp Wall | Causes of Efflorescence | Removal of Efflorescence


Efflorescence on Damp Wall simply means the appearance of white-colored powder material on the surface of the wall.

The alkaline salt present in the brick used in the wall absorbs moisture from the air which on drying leaves powder deposited on the surface of the wall.

It is also caused if pyrite was present in clay used for brick making and water used for pugging contains gypsum.


  1. Effects of Efflorescence on Damp Wall  

Some effects of efflorescence are:

a. Unhygienic condition

b. Decaying of wood attached to the wall.

c. De-colouration of paint.


  2. Causes of Efflorescence on Damp Wall  

Some causes of efflorescence are:

1. One or many constituents of the wall may contain salt.

2. High water-cement ratio resulting in a more porous mortar.

3. Inadequate curing of the wall which may leave un-hydrated products on the surface.

4. Exposure to rain or other sources of water.

5. The slow rate of evaporation of water allows time for the salt to permeate to the surface.


  3. Preventive Measures  

Some preventive measures of efflorescence are:

1. Use ingredients containing as little soluble salt as possible.

2. Use waterproofing admixtures in a mortar to reduce the permeability of the brick wall.

3. Avoid premature drying.

5. Use cement, lime, and mortars no stronger than required for the application to minimize possible soluble salt levels.

6. For masonry, ensure the flashing and damp proof courses are detailed correctly. Cover the top course at the end of each day’s work.


  4. Eradication of Efflorescence on Damp Wall  

For the eradication of the efflorescence problem, the source of ingress of moisture should be determined first. The cause of ingress may be due to defective DPC or absence of DPC or other causes.

Steps in the eradication of efflorescence are:

1. The first action is to stop the source of ingress of moisture.

2. The second step should be to remove plaster from both inside and outside and leave it to dry.

3. Then removing the defective bad brick or filling voids with mortar or cement slurry or cement concrete.

4. Check the mortar joint carefully and remove loose mortar where necessary.

5. Wash the white patches surface with the acidic water and then wash it again with clean water.

6. Plaster both inner and outer surface with cement mortar adding waterproofing admixture.

7. If the causes are due to the absence of the DPC course or due to the failure of DPC; a new course of DPC should have to be introduced or replaced by the defective DPC with the new one.

DPC can be done by following;


1. Cleaning the Surface

The surface can be cleaned in the following ways before the application of DPC.


a. Brushing

Soluble salts deposited can be removed with a stiff bristle broom. Note that all brushed materials should be removed by a vacuum cleaner or other means.

If the result is not satisfying, scrub with a scrubber and then lightly rinse the surface. Note that adding water may result in further deposits, repeated dry brushing as the deposit appears is probably the best.

Insoluble salt deposits cannot be removed by water washing although the use of a high-pressure water jet is effective.


b. Using a dilute acid solution

The application of a dil. acid solution is also very effective in most cases and in some cases, extreme care is required while handling acids. When diluting HCL acid, always add the acid to the water never the reverse.

Ensure good ventilation and also avoid the contact between the acid and the reinforcement. The concrete surface should be cleaned with only diluted acid.

The recommended proportions are 1 part of HCL and 20 parts of water. The surface should be saturated always before the application of dilute acid. When applying the acid solution ensure that the surface is moist but without any free water present.

Then the applied solution should be allowed to react on the concrete surface for 10-15 minutes.

The surface should be thoroughly rinsed and scrubbed with lots of clean water. Repeat rinsing at least twice or until all traces of the acid solution have been removed. The process may be repeated if required to bring the necessary surface finishing.


2. Application of DPC

After cleaning the surface; a suitable DPC is applied to the desired surface.



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