Efflorescence on Pavers – Preparation for Removal
Good morning. Today we are going over efflorescence removal. First thing we want to do is get the pavers wet. This entire area here is suffering from what we call “efflorescence“. Simply, it’s just the calcium deposits making their way to the top. What expedites that is when it gets wet. The way to counter that is you actually have to use an acid. No pressure or anything like that is going to actually remove it. It takes a specific acid to neutralize and get rid of this.
First thing you want to do as a technician is to wet it all down. You never want to put the acid straight on dry surfaces, and never on glass, if you can. So if you are around an area that has a lot of glass, you want to make sure that glass is really, really wet. Then keep it wet, and try to prevent any acid from getting on there in the first place. But pavers are a little more friendly. We pretty much have wet down everything. The efflorescence was expedited by a lot of plants here, so they did a lot of watering. That constant water is what brought that calcium to the top.
The Removal Process
The process is relatively easy. After we have already wet it all down, you want to use your proper PPE, of course, the mask and gloves. Then we just treat it. This is our acid that we got specifically for efflorescence.
And when we got efflorescence – some keynotes to think of: You’ll know it’s efflorescence when you get it wet and it goes away. If you get it wet and it’s still really really white, that could be failed sealer. Sometimes the homeowners don’t know that the pavers had been sealed before. So you’ve got to do some test spots. So if you get the pavers wet and it goes away right away, then that is usually efflorescence, it’s not failed sealer. So, we already did a test spot during the estimate. So again, we are going to put this on. When it starts fizzing, that’s when you know it is working. We are going to put it on, we are going to let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then we are going to brush it with a stiff broom and then rinse and reapply as necessary. So, here we go…
You can see it’s fizzing up, so you know you got that efflorescence.
Again, you can see it fizzing up in areas. It looked really worse when it was really dry. So we have gotten a lot of moisture and rain lately. So these pavers are already pretty wet. You can still see it fizzing in some areas.
And when it is fizzing, that means it is working. You don’t ever want this to dry. So, you are going to put it on, again, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then we are going to come back and broom it in with the brush, rinse it off with the power washer and then repeat as necessary. I find that usually, it takes somewhere between 1 to 3 attempts before you get a satisfactory result. And then we are always reminding homeowners that this could come back. This is a natural process. There is no guarantee that this won’t return.
So you can see it clearly fizzing up I am just going to agitate it.
And again, you want to wear PPE as much as you can. I just keep taking the mask off, so that I can explain. Otherwise, I’d be having this mask on at all times. After you scrub it with a broom, you want to let that sit for another, I don’t know, anywhere between a couple of minutes and 15 minutes. And then you want to rinse it off.
Repeat if necessary
And like I’ve said before, then you would repeat as necessary, up to 3 or 4 times max. At that point, it’s really a situation where you probably are not going to remove it if it’s not moving after three or four times. Right now we have this acid mix at one part water to one part acid. So, in other words, just 50/50. But you can actually start as low as 4 to one, so 4 parts water to 1 part acid. But this was pretty bad during the estimate, so that’s why I upped it to a one-to-one mix. You can go full-strength, depending on the severity. Again, we are going to let this sit for probably a good 5 to 10 minutes, not allowing it to dry, and then we’ll rinse it, and we will repeat as necessary. And that’s all I have.