White Mold or Efflorescence

Are you considered about white mold on your block walls? It may not be mold.

Is that White Mold on Your Foundation Block Walls?

Michael Church here with the CrawlSpaceNinja.com and in this video I’m going to share with you a little bit about efflorescence, what is that? Well it’s something you might need to know about if you got a wet crawl space that you’re dealing with and you’re getting ready to sell your house.

So I recently received this email from Jane who lives in Knoxville and she writes “Hi Michael we had a current home inspection and a home inspector found efflorescence in our block wall and our crawl space, they were recommending that we take care of the problem in order to sell the house. What should we do?”

That’s a great question Jane, and first of all just so you know that efflorescence is not mold!

We’ve done test after test on that and it never comes up as mold, so you don’t have to worry about that. What it is though, is it’s an indication of a water problem. Either recently or in the past. The calcium inside of the cinder block gets pushed out of the cinder block or the concrete and is visible on the wall whenever you have static pressure pushing that water out of the ground and into the cinderblock wall of the crawl space.

What is Efflorescence?

Now first of all I want to describe what exactly efflorescence is, so here’s what it says “Efflorescence is dissolved salts deposited on the surface of a materials such as concrete or brick that are visible after the evaporation of water in which it was transported.

Where does the moisture that causes efflorescence come from?

The moisture that creates efflorescence often comes from groundwater, but rainwater can also be the source. Efflorescence does not pose a major problem, but it can be an indication of a moisture intrusion.”

So what all does that mean?

Well what that means for you is if you just recently had a home inspector, then they’re like “oh no we’ve got a water intrusion problem I’m gonna write that on my reports.”

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a current water intrusion problem. It could have happened twenty years ago and you fixed it whenever you had your downspouts and your gutters corrected ok. So it may not be an issue.

What you have to do is you have to check the moisture level of the cinder block of the concrete and that’s done with a moisture meter.

What about Using Waterproofing Paint?

The other thing to be sure of is, how do you address the problem in the first place?

While you may decide to put some kind of paint over the dried residue on the bricks, just be aware that if you do any kind of cover-up like that, and you do have an active water intrusion problem, the paint will not withstand a constant water intrusion.

The static pressure that’s coming through that paint itself can become a mold food, and then not only do you have efflorescence on the block behind the paint, now you get mold growing on that paint that you just installed.

We certainly don’t want that!

Solving an Active Water Intrusion Problem

Now remember just a few minutes ago I said efflorescence itself isn’t mold, it’s salt that comes through the cinder block. But if you’ve got an active moisture problem that moisture that’s coming through the cinder block, the brick, or the concrete wall is evaporating into the space.

If you have a basement or a crawlspace, what is that doing? It’s raising the humidity in that space.

And we all know what humidity level mold can grow at? Right? Sixty percent!

Controlling Moisture to Avoid Structural Damage

If you have an active moisture problem, and tested the wall and it’s wet and every time you get a rain storm it seems to get worse and worse, you may want to install a dehumidifier to control that humidity.

You don’t want secondary damage on your joists, or your drywall. Depending on if it’s a crawl space or a basement, it would be a good idea to make sure you install a dehumidifier as quickly as possible to address at least the secondary damage of possible mold growing in that space.

Encapsulation will Resolve Moisture and Water Intrusion

To answer her question “what can she do to fix this problem?”

Well you can masque the issue by using an epoxy waterproofing paint, which I don’t really recommend. Like I said earlier if that static pressure pushes through its going to cause a mold problem in the future.

Divert Water from Your Foundation

Basically what you have to do is you have to make sure that the gutters and downspouts are draining away from the house to make sure the slope of the yard is away from the foundation of the house. You know just the basic things to make sure the water isn’t actively coming into the space, whether it’s a basement or crawlspace, but what we do in crawl spaces that seems to satisfy the issue here with these home inspectors is you can encapsulate the crawl space.

Efflorescence is Only a Problem if You Have an Active Water Leak

Well I really appreciate you all watching this video and I hope that gives you a little bit of information about how to deal with efflorescence. So again it’s not a big deal in most cases as long as it’s not an active water intrusion problem. If it is active than it could be causing a humidity issue, so you wanna get it taken care of as quickly as possible. If it’s a basement you may have to go with some sort of interior basement waterproofing or perhaps an exterior basement waterproofing system in order to keep that water from coming through the cinderblock, so keep an eye on those block walls and those those concrete walls and the brick for some of the older houses in the crawl spaces in basements to make sure you don’t have an efflorescence problem.

Contact Crawl Space Ninja to Waterproof Your Foundation

Our team of waterproofing specialists are ready to help you with your moisture intrusion. Give us a call at (865) 659-0390 or find your local Crawl Space Ninja experts. Speak to one of our waterproofing advisors for your free quote to get started today.

Leave Your Questions About Water Intrusion Below!

Please if you don’t mind like this video down below I would really appreciate it. If you have any comments or anything let me know. Home inspectors you know, mold inspectors, other people in our industry, I invite you to chime in and let us know what you think about these videos and you have any direct issues that you need to get in touch with me with you can contact me through the YouTube channel and I hope you like it and have a great day.

-Client Testimonial-

Hey Michael Church here and I’m here with Willie and we did some work on his crawl space, so Willie you were just telling me that your house is more comfortable now can you tell me a little bit about that?

Willie – “Yes since had enclosure done and dehumidifier put in you guys put in for me and it has been amazingly cold. We put in a new air filter, told me about some of the problems. I did those things when you guys got done with your product it was greatly improved. It’s 71 degrees and feels like it’s almost 60.”

Wow that’s amazing. Just so you know it is summer time, so we wanted it cold in the summer down there. So you mention the air filter, the Airsafe 2000, so you like that too? – Michael

Willie – “Airsafe 2000 was almost an instant improvement. Just the way the air sounds and I could not imagine living without it.”

Thanks Willie for letting me get your video testimonial. One last question, how were the guys to work with? – Michael

Willie – “Professional all the way through! Always want to make sure I was aware of the process, what was going on. Even tried to make me crawl down in there once they were done! Lol. I just looked back in there and explained the dehumidifier to me. Absolutely professionals!”

That’s wonderful, thanks again Willie, and thanks for watching the review. – Michael

2 thoughts on “White Mold or Efflorescence”

  1. Hi, just watched your video titled “White Mold in Crawl Space or Something Else?” and had a couple of questions. I work in a concrete testing lab and know for a fact there aren’t any standardized methods to quantify/qualify efflorescence. That said, what tests do you run in order to determine that a “white stain” is actually mold, and not efflorescence. In the video you had said you’ve done “test after test and it never comes up as mold” but I’m curious what tests you are running in order to identify whether it’s mold or not. Would you mind sharing with me?

    1. Hello Adam, when we have seen white chalky substance on concrete block walls inside crawl spaces and the homeowner was concerned about it being mold, we took surface mold tape lift samples and sent to an independent lab. The lab results never showed mold when the wall was not painted or treated with any products. We have discovered mold when contractors or homeowners treat or or apply waterproof paints or regular paint to the interior walls of crawl spaces and basements and those products fail. Hope that helps.

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