White Stains On My Chimney? What Is Efflorescence?

A common issue with masonry chimneys is the formation and eventual build up of a white substance called efflorescence. While many people may assume the residue is a normal occurrence in an aging chimney, it can actually be a sign of underlying issues.

So What Exactly Is Efflorescence?

Efflorescence indicates the presence of water in your chimney. The bricks in a masonry chimney contain minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. When water seeps into the porous masonry materials a white stain develops as the water evaporates and brings the minerals to the surface. Over time this substance can accumulate and may have a crystallized or “fuzzy” appearance.

Why Efflorescence Is More Than Just An Eye Sore.

While the white stains on your chimney might not be the most appealing to the eye, these marks are also a tell tale sign that water has access to your chimney. Efflorescence occurs when underlying issues allow water to enter the brick such as, cracks, a damaged liner, no cap, or deterioration of the mortar. While your chimney may not need immediate attention, if left untreated water exposure can lead to structural damage. Efflorescence isn’t restricted to just the outside of your chimney and can occur on the inside of your home as well. Improper flashing (the seal between the roofing material and the chimney) can leave room for water to leak directly into your home. Water inside your home will not only damage your chimney but reek havoc on your ceilings, floors, and create the perfect environment for mold growth. The best time to service your chimney is BEFORE a problem occurs. preventative maintenance can help keep you and your family safe but also save your wallet!

What Can I Do About Efflorescence? 

While you may not be able to completely block the formation of efflorescence, there are preventative measures that you can take to reduce the effects of water damage. Here at Don’s we offer crown repair, waterproofing, flash seals, chimney caps, liners and more to keep your chimney in tip top shape. If you have efflorescence or believe your chimney needs service give us a call today to schedule an inspection!

 

Example of a cracked and water damaged chimney vs. a chimney with preventative measures such as a chimney cap and proper flashing.