Efflorescence Mystery - Masonry - Contractor Talk

Efflorescence Mystery

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-22-2015, 12:31 PM   #1
Pro
 
Chris G's Avatar
 
Trade: Porch and Deck Builder
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,096
Rewards Points: 1,210

Efflorescence Mystery


This an email from a client, any thoughts?

Hi Chris, sorry to bother you with this, but I'm stuck. We have a strange water issue in the bricks on one side of the house--it rains, and 8-12 hours later we get a vast area of white that appears as the water evaporates out. Last winter it blew out the pointing, and I had to have it redone. The mason was guessing the water was getting in through some windows, but they are all fixed up, so that's not it. I had a roofer out last week to see if that was the problem, and he seemed to think probably not (but he was, as all roofers are, crazy, so who knows). So the mason has no idea, the roofer has no idea. But there is still water in the wall (it's between the bricks--it's a double brick wall).

Do you have any idea what trade I could call next? Another roofer? I have absolutely no idea.

Best
cw
__________________
I can not emphasize how stupid I really am

http://www.vicporch.ca
Deck Fence Porch Builder Toronto
Chris G is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 06-22-2015, 01:28 PM   #2
Pro
 
GettingBy's Avatar
 
Trade: Home Improvement/handyman
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DC area
Posts: 2,622
Rewards Points: 6,486

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


For more than you ever wanted to know about this, try
http://www.delawarequarries.com/clea...orescence.html
plus
http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

and

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Arthur Conan Doyle

Seems like some dispositive tests are in order, by contractors or the HO or some lab or some consultant.

Advertisement


Last edited by GettingBy; 06-22-2015 at 01:34 PM.
GettingBy is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 01:42 PM   #3
Have Trowel, Do travel
 
brunothedog's Avatar
 
Trade: Artisan
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: international
Posts: 909
Rewards Points: 1,188

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


have a Thermal imaging camera available?
__________________
I used to love the days when you could look at an unattended bag on a train or bus and think to yourself...'Iím going to take that.'
brunothedog is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to brunothedog For This Useful Post:
Chris G (06-22-2015)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-22-2015, 02:44 PM   #4
Pro
 
Tscarborough's Avatar
 
Trade: Monkey Scratching Cat Herder
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Austin
Posts: 6,346
Rewards Points: 1,460

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


What has the most surface area of a wall? The wall itself. If the efflorecence shows up that fast it must be a very soft brick and/or mortar. Is the wall sealed? Normally you won't get wide areas of efflorecence from point entrance of water.
Second he says it is a double wythe wall, what is in between the wythes?
Tscarborough is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 03:08 PM   #5
Pro
 
Chris G's Avatar
 
Trade: Porch and Deck Builder
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,096
Rewards Points: 1,210

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


Age of house is a consideration I should have mentioned. I think it's around 80 years old.

Between the whythes - most likely air and bits of mortar.
__________________
I can not emphasize how stupid I really am

http://www.vicporch.ca
Deck Fence Porch Builder Toronto
Chris G is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 06:28 PM   #6
Renaissance Man
 
superseal's Avatar
 
Trade: Masonry, Carpentry and everything else.
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 6,817
Rewards Points: 5,844

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


Efflorescence is generally a problem with younger masonry as the water soluble salts work themselves to the surface through evaporation of moisture.

If the wall is has been recently re-pointed which may be the case, it could be that mortar which is causing efflorescence.

A good quality sealer, e.g Sure Klean PD would surely put a stop to the transfer of such water and minimize your issue. That is, if everything checks out with undermining leaks.
__________________
"Under promise, over deliver and all that!" JBM
supersealconstruction.com

https://www.facebook.com/Superseal-C...2699413750013/
superseal is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 06:46 PM   #7
Pro
 
dom-mas's Avatar
 
Trade: masonry
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 8,133
Rewards Points: 626

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


Don't use sealer in our climate please. There should be absolutely no need for it. How high above grade? Roofers are crazy, and some are lazy. Need a pic for any sort of a reasonable diagnosis. If it's reasonably close to a chimney, flashing would be my guess but there are so many possible answers that without more info we're throwing darts blindfolded
__________________
New & restoration masonry construction
www.dominionmasonry.ca
dom-mas is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to dom-mas For This Useful Post:
fjn (06-22-2015)
Old 06-22-2015, 07:17 PM   #8
Pro
 
fjn's Avatar
 
Trade: mason
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,170
Rewards Points: 11,202

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


I'M with dom-mas 100% regarding the use of sealers. The building has stood for around 80 years and now we need to apply a sealer ? ? ?



Applying a sealer to masonry is like dancing with the devil as far as I'M concerned.I think the root problem needs to be corrected rather than think the world of chemistry will solve your problem.
fjn is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 07:18 PM   #9
Pro
 
Tscarborough's Avatar
 
Trade: Monkey Scratching Cat Herder
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Austin
Posts: 6,346
Rewards Points: 1,460

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


I know you do not like sealer, and a true mass wall should not be sealed, but it sounds like this is different and something is causing generalized moisture movement, and very quick movement at that. It does not sound like a point source, it sounds like a porous brick and not enough volume to make the cycle, driven by an issue with the wall makeup.
Tscarborough is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 07:28 PM   #10
Pro
 
fjn's Avatar
 
Trade: mason
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,170
Rewards Points: 11,202

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


Chris G; post some pictures. Without pictures it is like expecting a mechanic to diagnose engine trouble by placing his knee against the fender with the hood closed.
fjn is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to fjn For This Useful Post:
dom-mas (06-22-2015)
Old 06-22-2015, 07:52 PM   #11
Pro
 
Tscarborough's Avatar
 
Trade: Monkey Scratching Cat Herder
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Austin
Posts: 6,346
Rewards Points: 1,460

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


It is, but there are some cues: It must be a recent problem, it is not a point source, and it is extremely rapid.

Best guess on that information is a recent sealing of the interior wall, paint, or insulation/vapor barrier, etc.
Tscarborough is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 07:57 PM   #12
Pro
 
dom-mas's Avatar
 
Trade: masonry
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 8,133
Rewards Points: 626

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
It is, but there are some cues: It must be a recent problem, it is not a point source, and it is extremely rapid.

Best guess on that information is a recent sealing of the interior wall, paint, or insulation/vapor barrier, etc.
good points. I'd still like a picture to try and eliminate some things.
__________________
New & restoration masonry construction
www.dominionmasonry.ca
dom-mas is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 08:54 PM   #13
Renaissance Man
 
superseal's Avatar
 
Trade: Masonry, Carpentry and everything else.
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 6,817
Rewards Points: 5,844

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


Listen guys...I get the whole sealer debate but there's no way you can prove to me from what I've seen and experienced through the years of multi wythe construction...Our area is full of it...rusted out electrical boxes on interior perimeters, rusted out galvy flashings, rusted and jacked lintels, waterborne and oxide staining, and so on...Just because the building lasted 80 years without no sealer doesn't mean it wouldn't have benefited having it.

And to think chemistry is not helping to maintain some of the worlds most monumental monuments would be foolish thought as well. Sealers are here and here to stay, for very good reason IMO.

Dom and FJ, do you honestly think applying a quality product such as Sure-Klean PD poses long term threats to the masonry? My experience and verdict would be much different.

No disrespect...just my perspective.
__________________
"Under promise, over deliver and all that!" JBM
supersealconstruction.com

https://www.facebook.com/Superseal-C...2699413750013/
superseal is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 09:14 PM   #14
Pro
 
Tscarborough's Avatar
 
Trade: Monkey Scratching Cat Herder
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Austin
Posts: 6,346
Rewards Points: 1,460

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


Sealers work, when warranted. Here in central Texas there is a lot of hand made low-fired Mexican brick. It can last for 80 years unsealed, and then pop every face on the North side of the building when we get a rainstorm followed by an ice storm. It doesn't happen often, but it happens often enough to make it worthwhile to seal the brick.

On mass walls, it is a little more complicated, even with an excellent sealer like Siloxane PD. First if the wall is not dry when it is sealed, then there is an issue. Second, even though it is breathable, if liquid water gets in the wall on a sealed mass wall, there is going to be degradation.

I will defer to the cold weather guys on their climate, I don't know enough to say.
Tscarborough is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 09:15 PM   #15
Pro
 
dom-mas's Avatar
 
Trade: masonry
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 8,133
Rewards Points: 626

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


There are very few sealers used in my area...almost none really. I'm not well versed on all the different products out there and I'm sure there may be some that will help more than hinder, but of the few I've seen applied, they trapped moisture, made the wall look wet, and eventually flaked off...and they usually didn't solve the problem because rain infiltration isn't a big deal here....unless it's coming from poor flashing or caulking, rotted wood which was often incorporated into the masonry, vegetation that has leaves that touch the structure, or bounce back from a driveway or sidewalk or some other form of water being diverted towards it

I also know that you use a type N or stronger mortar for re-pointing older homes. In Ontario that gives a moulded brick a 10 year death sentence, maybe 20 if it's in a sheltered area. You live in a very different climate than the OP and I do.
__________________
New & restoration masonry construction
www.dominionmasonry.ca
dom-mas is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 09:26 PM   #16
Pro
 
dom-mas's Avatar
 
Trade: masonry
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 8,133
Rewards Points: 626

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


That house was showing no signs of effloresence for some time before and it suddenly appeared. Some new development is causing it like Tscar says. Better to my mind to fix the underlying problem than to fix the symptom. Perhaps it will be that a sealer will cure it's ill, but I still want a pic first
__________________
New & restoration masonry construction
www.dominionmasonry.ca
dom-mas is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 09:27 PM   #17
Pro
 
Tscarborough's Avatar
 
Trade: Monkey Scratching Cat Herder
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Austin
Posts: 6,346
Rewards Points: 1,460

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


If you use a surface sealer on exterior masonry, you an idiot, no matter what climate you are in. May as well paint it with oil paint.

The sealers which I am talking about do not change the appearance, are breathable, and penetrate and bind with the silica content of the brick.
Tscarborough is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 09:41 PM   #18
Pro
 
dom-mas's Avatar
 
Trade: masonry
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 8,133
Rewards Points: 626

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


So they change the chemistry of the bricks? ugh, but maybe some bricks need their chemistry changed. TO had some excellent brickyards right up into the '70's, excellent brick for the most part. Good clay, well fired and durable

Maybe sealers have come a long way, I still can;t understand why they are needed for a well maintained home. We don;t get the volume of wind driven rain that other locations get.
__________________
New & restoration masonry construction
www.dominionmasonry.ca
dom-mas is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 09:47 PM   #19
Pro
 
Chris G's Avatar
 
Trade: Porch and Deck Builder
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,096
Rewards Points: 1,210

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


I'll see if I can get him to take pics. Dark and rainy here, so clues to mystery will have to wait till tomorrow I guess.
__________________
I can not emphasize how stupid I really am

http://www.vicporch.ca
Deck Fence Porch Builder Toronto
Chris G is offline  
Old 06-22-2015, 09:53 PM   #20
Member
 
jazzwillie's Avatar
 
Trade: Mason Contrator
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Washington Court House, Ohio
Posts: 35
Rewards Points: 70

Re: Efflorescence Mystery


While on a tour of the Belden Brick plants our guide was asked what kind of sealer to they recommend with their brick. His answer was "The best sealer we recommend is... no sealer. The best defense for a brick wall is air flow."

Advertisement

jazzwillie is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jazzwillie For This Useful Post:
dom-mas (06-22-2015), fjn (06-23-2015)


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bad wood mystery ssroofpros Roofing 7 02-20-2013 09:54 AM
Toilet Mystery carolinahandyma Plumbing 9 01-05-2013 05:50 PM
Sodablasting Efflorescence Blaster10 Sandblasting 12 10-06-2012 04:03 AM
Efflorescence, What Now?? carpentershane Tiling 14 07-07-2009 12:05 AM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?