During the wet season in Fargo, North Dakota, homeowners are more likely to see signs of water in their crawl spaces. One of the most common signs is efflorescence. Although it is not toxic by itself, nor does it necessarily mean your crawl space is at risk of flooding, it is a clear sign of water seepage. Failing to fix this issue can lead to bigger and more expensive issues.
What is efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a white, chalky, glassy substance that forms on masonry or concrete-type walls. It is mineral deposits left over, usually from salt from evaporated water. When water or moisture infiltrates your concrete, cement, or masonry walls, it dissolves the water-soluble ingredients like calcium and lime. The dissolved minerals come to the surface of your walls through capillary voids. When these minerals dry out, crystals form, leaving efflorescence.
What causes efflorescence?
There are three components needed for efflorescence to occur.
Water-soluble salts: The walls on which efflorescence forms need to have some water-soluble salts. Brick, cement, and concrete walls contain large amounts of limestone, sand, or clay, which contain large amounts of minerals, including salt.
Water or moisture: Efflorescence requires moisture or water to come into contact with the salt to dissolve it. So when you see efflorescence in your crawl space walls, this is a sign of water intrusion. This water can be from a plumbing leak, flood, poor grading, groundwater, or heavy rain.
An entry point like porous concrete or cement: The water needs an entry point to enter your crawl space. Wall cracks, pores in the concrete, and even gaps in floor-wall joints can create entry points for water.
Can a dehumidifier help with efflorescence in the crawl space?
A dehumidifier cannot help you fix efflorescence in the crawl space. What it does is remove excess moisture from the air in your crawl space and drain the water to your sump pump system, which then drains it out and away from your home. This appliance can help improve the overall quality of air in your home and prevent unhealthy conditions . More importantly, a dehumidifier protects the structural integrity of your home. To eliminate efflorescence, you will need to explore other solutions.
Dealing with Efflorescence in the Crawl Space
To stop the formation of efflorescence, you need to stop the movement of water into your crawl space. Otherwise, the efflorescence will come back over and over again unless you fix it at the source. Plus, if you don’t fix your water issues, you could open yourself up to more problems in the future. Even small water leaks can lead to severe water damage, floods or cracked walls, which can cause much bigger and costlier problems.
Waterproofing: An effective way to stop water from entering your crawl space is by improving the drainage of groundwater, diverting roof drainage, re-grading the soil, and sealing cracks and gaps in your foundation walls. CrawlSeal® Crawl Space Vapor Barrier that’s resistant to mold. Our solution creates a dry crawl space and protects wooden supports from rot. With a 25-year warranty against ruptures and tears, this 20-mil crawl space liner turns your crawl space into a useful storage area.
Fix wall cracks: Cracks on your foundation walls make it easy for water and moisture to seep in through your porous walls. Once you realize cracks or gaps on your masonry walls, you need to seal them to prevent moisture from seeping in. Consider patching up the affected areas from the outside using an elastomeric coating that can keep up with the constant expansion and contraction of your foundation walls.
If you notice efflorescence in your crawl space, contact the professionals at Innovative Basement Authority. In conjunction with our crawl space repair and waterproofing solutions, we will install an energy-efficient dehumidifier to help eliminate moisture in your crawl space. Contact us to schedule a free crawl space inspection with our expert consultants today.