SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1986

Cleaning Efflorescences from Masonry


Salt efflorescences attack masonry in all parts of the world, but in the arid regions they are the major cause of masonry decay. The efflorescences crystallize repeatedly from saturated solutions and become hydrated, generating, in the confined pore space and under surface crusts, pressures large enough to overcome the strength of the masonry material.

Common methods for removing these salts are washing with water and application of surface-active poultices. These methods have their shortcomings: the first tends to transport salts into deeper regions by capillary action while removing some salts from the surface; the second method, besides being highly cumbersome, may result in masonry damage due to the salt crystallizing at the poultice-masonry interface.

This paper describes two suction techniques, one of which appears to eliminate these shortcomings while promising maximum removal of salt from large surfaces in the shortest possible time.

Author Information

Gauri, KL
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Holdren, GC
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Vaughan, WC
Metropolitan Sewer District, Louisville, KY
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Developed by Committee: E06
Pages: 3–13
DOI: 10.1520/STP20012S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4995-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0932-2