Testing services include looking for the following salts listed in this table:


Other Salts

Thenardite, Na2SO4 Calcium Hydroxide, Ca(OH)2
Mirabilite, Na2SO –  10H2O Halite, NaCl
Syngenite, K2Ca(SO4) –  H2O Potassium Chloride, KCl
Glaserite, K3Na(SO4)2 Calcium Chloride, CaCl2
Gypsum, CaSO4  –  2H2O Potassium Nitrate, KNO3
Hexahydrite, MgSO4  –  6H2O
Schönite, K2SO4  –  MgSO4  –  6H2O
Leonhardite, MgSO4  –  4H2O

We employ the use of chemical analysis techniques to determine the source of the efflorescence from any site location while obtaining sample for testing.

Testing Services include:

  • X-ray diffraction XRD
  • X-ray fluorescence XRF
  • Atomic adsorption spectroscopy AAS
  • Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectroscopy

To inquire about these and other testing services email us at services@h2obtech.com or fill out the form below to get in touch with us. Someone will get in touch with you about your site specific questions.

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Causes of Efflorescence, Primary Efflorescence and Secondary Efflorescence

Brick wall showing efflorescence – aquaTIGHT®

Contributing Factors: Efflorescence requires the movement of moisture. Without moisture movement there would be no efflorescence on the surface to create the problem. Unfortunately, too many finishers (non-ACI Certified Finishers) routinely introduce large amounts of unnecessary “water of convenience” to the mix in order to facilitate concrete placement. Primary efflorescence is caused by the water in the concrete evaporating from the slab leaving behind the soluble salts on the concrete surface. The fact that these salts are actually more soluble in colder temperatures coupled with increased bleed water in cold weather increases the likelihood of efflorescence showing up after winter concrete placement. Contributing further to efflorescence with cold weather pours is the use of calcium chloride to accelerate the set time. High slump concrete and the addition of calcium chloride are major contributors to efflorescence. In these scenarios, efflorescence remover is necessary.

Secondary efflorescence is often described as water coming from underneath the slab or water that is introduced from the surface. Likely sources of secondary efflorescence would be a saturated base material, an improperly drained site or excessive amounts of water used by the decorative flooring contractor during his cleaning process – rinsing off the acid stain residue, for example. When extra mix water and extra soluble salts from calcium chloride are added to concrete placed in cool weather followed by more water from the decorative processes, some degree of efflorescing is bound to occur. Again, an efflorescence remover is needed.


“Contractors Guide to Efflorescence” Concrete Network, 22 August. 2016, http://www.concretenetwork.com/doug_bannister/efflorescence.htm

DEFINITION: ef-flo-res-cence (ef le res’ens), 1. a change on the surface to a powdery substance upon exposure to air, as a crystalline substance through loss of water. 2. to become encrusted or covered with crystals of salt or the like through evaporation or chemical change.

Source of Efflorescent Salts

Source of efflorescent salts diagram – aquaTIGHT®

A chemical analysis of efflorescent salts in the Southern California area (1) reveals that they are principally alkalies of Sodium Sulfates (Na3S04) and Potassium Sulfates (K2S04). These are the main soluble salts to be concerned with in Southern California since these are 90 percent of the efflorescence found in this area. These alkali sulfates appear because they exist somewhere within the masonry wall, either in the brick, the mortar, or the grout, or possibly a combination of these three.


Pictures and content courtesy of: Scientific analysis of efflorescence from the following source: “MIA Masonry Institute of America”, https://www.masonryinstitute.org, MIA, Accessed 22 August, 2016. “Based on a technical paper written by Michael Merrigan, P.E., originally published in The Masonry Society Journal, January-June, 1986” or for download CLICK HERE.

Portland Cement Association

Portland Cement Association logo

Concrete efflorescence is a crystalline deposit, usually white, that may develop on the surfaces of masonry construction (see Fig. 1). Often it appears just after the structure is completed—when builder, architect, and owner are most concerned with the appearance of the new structure. Although unattractive, efflorescence is generally harmless. However, some forms (alkali carbonates) may be able to saponify paints, leading to failure of the paint-masonry bond. Other deposits can occur within the surface pores of the material, causing expansion that may disrupt the surface. This condition is sometimes termed cryptoflorescence. This information sheet examines the causes, prevention, and removal of efflorescence encountered on masonry surfaces. For more information download the source file below.


Pictures and content courtesy of : “ Portland Cement Association”, “Cement.org”, http://www.cement.org/docs/default-source/fc_mat-app_pdfs/masonry/is239-pca-efflorescence.pdf, PCA, 22, August, 2016.

This publication is intended SOLELY for use by PROFESSIONAL PERSONNEL who are competent to evaluate the significance and limitations of the information provided herein, and who will accept total responsibility for the application of this information. The Portland Cement Association disclaims any and all RESPONSIBILITY and LIABILITY for the accuracy of and the application of the information contained in this publication to the full extent permitted by law.

Causes of Brick Efflorescence “The Brick Industry Association” 

Efflorescence Patrick Loughran, AIA, PE, LEED AP July 13, 2007 Page 1 Goettsch Partners Efflorescence in Masonry: Understanding the Problems and Solutions By Patrick Loughran, AIA, PE, LEED AP ( See )

A diagram showing brick efflorescence – aquaTIGHT®

Mortar can be a significant contributor to efflorescence. W.E. Brownell, the author of a research report on efflorescence in brickwork [Ref. 2] states:

“The primary and most obvious source of contamination of otherwise efflorescence-free brick is the mortar used in wall construction. The mortar is in intimate contact with the brick on at least four and sometimes five sides. It is applied to the brick in a wet, paste-like condition which provides ample moisture for the transfer of soluble salts from the mortar to the brick. If any appreciable soluble material is present in the mortar, it will be carried into the brick proportionately to the amount of moisture transferred.”

There are many, often complicated, mechanisms of brick efflorescence. Simply stated, efflorescence occurs when water containing dissolved salts is brought to the surface of masonry, the water evaporates and the salts are left on the surface of the masonry. The salt solutions may migrate across surfaces of masonry units, between the mortar and units, or through the pores of the mortar or units.

There are certain simultaneous conditions that must exist in order for efflorescence to occur:

  • Soluble salts must be present within or in contact with the brickwork. These salts may be present in brick, backing materials, mortar ingredients, trim, adjacent soil, etc.
  • There must be a source of water in contact with the salts for a period of time sufficient to dissolve them.
  • The masonry must have a pore structure that allows the migration of salt solutions to the surface or other locations where evaporation of water can occur.

For more information download BrickIndustryAssociation_Eff_Causes.pdf or go to source below:


Pictures and content courtest of : “The Brick Industry Association”, “TECHNICAL NOTES on Brick Construction, 23A, June 2006” http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/ek_public/documents/document/aiap026860.pdf

Other media sources related to efflorescence


Efflorescence Causes, Removal, and Prevention

Removing Salts/Efflorescence From Brick And Stone Masonry