Facts About Chimney Brick Efflorescence
Efflorescence is a common problem that clearly shows your chimney has issues. In states like Minnesota, efflorescence can be a genuine concern due to the region’s climate and how it affects brick and mortar. Here are a few facts about efflorescence and why it’s a problem.
What is Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts that can form when water evaporates on the surface of porous materials such as brick, concrete, stone, or mortar. In chimneys, this can show up as a chalky white, yellow, or sometimes brown residue.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Minnesota experience all four seasons (some shorter than others), with snowy winters and rainy springs. What does that mean? It means that chimneys in the state are exposed to large amounts of moisture from rain, snow, hail, and fog, all of which can penetrate the bricks and lead to efflorescence. The problem is more common in older homes.
What Kind of Damage Is Efflorescence a Sign Of?
While efflorescence itself isn’t harmful, it can indicate damage to your chimney. For example, water can seep into the bricks of a chimney due to its sponge-like capillary action. Left alone, bricks that have absorbed moisture could cause damage to your chimney’s structure over time, especially during our long winter months when freeze-thaw cycles can cause the water inside the bricks to freeze and expand.
How do You Stop Efflorescence?
There are several ways to prevent efflorescence. One is by using a water-repellent designed specifically for chimneys. Waterproofing your chimney will prevent water from seeping into the bricks and causing efflorescence. However, coating application should only be made after the chimney has been thoroughly cleaned and professional chimney sweeps have made any necessary repairs.
How do You Get Rid of Efflorescence?
Professional chimney sweep services offer efflorescence removal as part of their services. Removal usually involves using a stiff brush to scrub off the efflorescence, followed by applying a specialized cleaning solution. Rarely, in severe cases, sandblasting may be required.
Will Efflorescence Go Away on its Own?
If left alone, the underlying causes of efflorescence, such as water damage, can lead to more severe structural problems. These can include spalling, where the water inside the bricks causes them to peel, pop out, or flake off, or, in extreme cases, the chimney will collapse due to loss of structural integrity.
Call Twin City if Your Chimney Has Efflorescence
Efflorescence only occurs when there is a problem with a chimney. If you have efflorescence on your chimney Call, in Edina (952-941-2685) or Woodbury (651-204-0112) or complete our easy contact form to have your chimney inspected. Our crews of chimney experts will inspect your fireplace to determine the cause of efflorescence on your chimney and fix the problem quickly. Take advantage of the warm weather and short wait times to get your chimney repaired. Don’t wait until we have sub-zero temps and your chimney fails; get in touch now.