Everything You Need to Know About Efflorescence
Do you see white deposits covering your chimney? If so, that’s called efflorescence, and in this post, we’ll look at what causes it, whether it’s dangerous, and what you can do to prevent it.
What is Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a common phenomenon that affects masonry materials in buildings, chimneys, and other structures. It appears as a white, powdery deposit on brick and stone surfaces and could be a sign of an underlying issue like water damage.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Efflorescence occurs when water seeps into the brick or stone. The water contains salt, and when the water evaporates, the salt is left behind, creating the white deposits you see. Sometimes the deposits look like a powder, but can also look like crust or crystals.
Impacts & Concerns
Most people think efflorescence is a cosmetic issue, but it can mask a more significant problem like water damage and deteriorating masonry materials. If not dealt with quickly, it can compromise the structural integrity of the structure, which is the last thing you want for your chimney.
Besides the potential for structural damage, you must also worry about mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew thrive in damp, humid environments, and a waterlogged chimney is the perfect breeding ground.
While the powdery substance left behind isn’t dangerous in itself, as you probably know, when you put salt on your sidewalks in winter, it destroys concrete over time. The same thing happens with your chimney. As mentioned, if you don’t protect your chimney, you could wind up with hundreds or thousands of dollars in masonry repairs in a few years.
How to Prevent Efflorescence
In most cases, efflorescence is out of your control. Improper construction and low-quality materials used when building your chimney will affect how sturdy and well it stands up against moisture. However, there are steps you can take to prevent it from worsening.
Install a Chimney Cap & Crown
Because water is the primary cause of efflorescence, the most important thing you can do is prevent it from saturating your chimney. Installing a chimney cap and crown will prevent water from getting into the flue, where it can seep into the bricks.
Flashing & Waterproofing
Roof flashing is the material that seals the gap between the chimney and the roof to prevent water from getting in. Unfortunately, flashing is exposed to the weather and can wear out or get damaged over time. It’s wise to hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and repair the flashing if it’s damaged.
While inspecting and repairing the flashing, ask your chimney professional about waterproofing. Applying a waterproofing product is a cost-effective way to protect your chimney from water damage and extend its lifespan.
It can’t be stressed enough how crucial it is to get regular chimney inspections by a trained professional.
Certified chimney sweeps have the training and experience to detect and repair minor damage before it worsens. In most cases, fixing minor issues is less expensive than waiting.
Call the Local Chimney Experts at Burlington Fireplace
Burlington Fireplace & Solar is a full-fledged, family owned and operated fireplace and chimney company proudly serving southeastern Wisconsin since 1995. Whether you need help dealing with the effects of efflorescence, chimney repairs, inspection, cleaning, rebuilding, or want a wood or pellet stove installation, we’re the local expert you can trust. Contact us today at 262- 763–3522 to schedule an appointment.