Efflorescence - Cause?

Trying to get this written in my report and can’t decide on what to report. This is the south side of the building and is only on the west side of the ramp and stairs. There are window openings above each place that efflorescence is present. The window openings have very deteriorated caulking jobs on them. My thought is that wind driven rain is penetrating the bad window flashing and getting behind the brick veneer and working its way back through the brick at the bottom of the wall.

1st image is the stairs
2nd image is the window above the stairs
3rd image is the ramp and the windows above it all have deteriorated caulking on them. You can also see where the aluminum flashing is missing on the entire lest side of the door as well

Any thoughts? Thanks

Smart a*s reply… but an honest one…

Water movement through masonry, leaving behind the dissolved salts and minerals on the surface area after evaporation.

Have a nice day! :wink:

Yes I understand efflorescence. I was looking for any suggestions on possible cause of it in this circumstance. I know it is from water movement through the masonry wall. I was just wondering if anyone could offer any suggestions as to the source of moisture behind the wall. My thoughts are from the poor and/or missing flashing details at the window and door penetrations, that’s all.

Yes, I know, thus my “smart a*s” reply. (I warned ya’).

Here’s the bottom line, WAG, as you alone were on site… your own thoughts stated above are very possibly the reason for the moisture… the question is… WHY is the moisture in the wall NOT draining through the weep holes??? Did it have any??? Were they blocked, as most are, from sloppy masonry work??? Were they below grade??? Your GUESS is as good as anyone’s. Report accordingly.

Just in case… http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Contact+Mike+Holmes :mrgreen:

Matt, I would be more apt to think that the rain water splashing on the brick from the steps and the sidewalk saturate to brick and the efflorescence comes out as the moisture migrates out in the drying process.

No sign of efflorescence is on the brick elsewhere.

Removing the efflorescence and then sealing the brick would be an option.

But since you were there and verified that there is a lack of caulking and flashing, that is also a possibility. :slight_smile:

Pretty obvious why it is there.
No flashing and where in the heck is the foundation wall.

I suggest you check in the basement for water issues if there is one.

I see no flashing anywhere and what about those brick window ledges.

Where do you think the water goes after it soaks through ?
Brick and masonry are porous.

Bad design there I mean where in the heck is the step up for the door ?
Just open up and scoop it in I guess.

Bob the concrete ramp and brick could be on a brick shelf like this, No?


I agree on the bad design.
The flashing is not always visible in a picture like this. Weep holes are present so flashing has to be assummed installed.

Verification of flashing if not visible would take destructive inspections. :slight_smile:

Marcel there is no flashing or weep holes and the go one with the other.
The flashing or moisture barrier needs to stick out at least 3’8 of and inch.

The flashing simply is not there as I have looked for it on my 26" screen here.

Yes it must be visible and yes the masonry is defective.

LOL, give me a break for krist sake. :):wink:


If I ever see it, and that’s a big IF, it is always on a home, never on commercial… ever!

That’s the reality of it. :wink:

You sure Jeff?


Maybe in the sticks standards are not followed but if they have issues and you do not call out best practices you deserve future grief by the client.
Go argue with the brick association sites as they know more than you guys or me.
In what world is no weeps and flashing acceptable.
What you smoking?

IRC R 401.3

The foundation shall sit above finish grade by 8"

OBERVATION: The foundation appears to be below grade. The brick veneer are subjected to water during rain events.
During the evaporation, the mineral salts left behind are discoloration the brick veneer.
Over time the veneer will degrade at a faster rate. The effervescence will act like a sealer trapping in MC.

RECOMMEND: A professorial brick company clean and protect the 8 low courses of brick veneer or the veneer that comes into contact with the grade.

Brick veneer above grade.
How old is the build?
SUSPECT: This could be building bloom or masonry building bloom. A residue left behind the the building process.

IE: During the veneer courses being erected the masonry is furrowed in the brick course center. The mason strikes the furrow making a concave in the center to act as a suction and also allow the brick to be manipulated to level without much difficulty. He/she should be able to level a long course, 8 to 10 bricks with his 5 foot masons level.
The masonry oozes to the sides and is scraped off by the masons trowel at a 45% degree level and that scraping is applied to the brick butt as the course builds vertically in both direction… A little bit of masonry is left behind on the upper and lower lead faces.

When the masonry is thumb tight the mason finishes the masonry, in between the clay or concrete units, with a tuck pointing tool. The tools come with several finishes. The course is struck (IRONED) with the tool on the head and butt joints. This to leaves a bit of masonry on the brick.

Dependent upon how proficient the mason is aquatints to how much masonry is left on the brick face.

When I was a mason I washed the majority of newly constructed work I accomplished.
There is no need for brick bloom.

Prepare your hypothesis by asking, How old is the building? brick bloom can last 5 to 7 years.
The lower courses may to be builders bloom. The masonry is still in contact with the grade.

building bloom.Read more

Call or email me about masonry if you wish. I do not know everything and I try to learn daily.

[quote=“mpainter1, post:3, topic:78100”]

if anyone could offer any suggestions as to the source of moisture/QUOTE]
Do not bother looking behind the wall.
It is from rain events. external. It is trapped within the brick. The interior double wall is void of MC. If it was not the drywall would show signs of apparent elevated HR or even MC above the norm. Mr. organic growth my be present also. Not saying it does not happen. The occurrence is rare.

Weep holes are for atmospheric pressure relief in double wall envelopes.
The exterior is a high pressure forcing MC into the medium pressure void and the interior space being a low pressure zone. hence forth perm barriers.

Not sure where your sarcasm comes from as I am sure a buyer for this property might take offense to such a flippant attitude.

Please explain after your off the wall insult apparently directed towards me has faded which part of the facts below you disagree with and please do so when you feel like be serious rather than directing insult towards me from left field.
You are usually a bright helpful person and sad to see if someone else is rubbing off on you.

Please bring back the real Marcel.

Any building constructed since 1970 should have rubber, plastic or metallic “flashing,” a protective skirt that curves around joints to protect against moisture. When water does get through a wall, it collects on the flashing and is released through “weep holes,” small openings in the masonry. These holes are most obvious at the top of the foundation wall.
3/16-inch-diameter weep holes every 33 inches at minimum, just above the flashing . Flashing, in turn, is recommended under the first course of masonry at ground level, above windows and doors, below window sills, and at any lintels and shelf angles

Thanks for all your comments guys. I have a question though. Since there are no weep hole in the brick veneer, would sealing the lower courses of bricks cause an even bigger issue by not allowing the moisture to escape at all? That is assuming that water is entering the wall around the window and door flashings as well as from the rain Marcel’s rain theory.

Bob. Yes there are water issues in the basement. I believe it is a combination of the issue we are discussing as well as a gutter system that has every single miter in it shot.

Jeff. No weep holes were noted. Unless they are below grade as the brick extends below grade at almost every spot around the building. On the east side of the building I could actually see the small parts of the foundation wall and the lower courses of brick. No weep holes were noted in these areas either

Absolutely… but, perhaps I should be more exact in my statement…

I did not mean to infer that commercial walls are missing certain features, what I meant to say, in agreement to your post, that it is virtually never visible on commercial properties… ESPECIALLY along a walkway or an entrance ramp where 1) it is easily visible, and 2) where there is a potential where a passersby could snag themselves on a flashing edge. As you know, Bob is technically correct, but you and I both know that reality takes a strong hand in what actually happens on a job site. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, just that I have never seen it (that I ever recall) as Bob insists it must be.

Uh, did you even bother to read my post where I questioned if there were weeps, and if they were clear of debris blocking them???

I couldn’t tell if there were weeps there from your pics, because I don’t own a 26" replacement for a small **** (yes Bob, aimed at you). The one pic looks like there may be, but was unsure. I suspect that is what Marcel noticed also.

Yes, as you said, if there are no weeps it has to come out somewhere else, and that would usually be through the brick, thus the efflorescence.

Yeah Jeff, that one picture looks like weep holes but is actually deteriorated mortar joints from the water