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How Efflorescence Works

Author's Note: How Efflorescence Works

I'm sitting in a trendy coffee bar on New York's Lower East Side, sipping a trendy espresso and listening to Tom Waits growling on the sound system when I happen to notice the exposed brick wall. Exposed brick is so common today as to be beyond trendy. But my eye is immediately drawn to a whitish-gray film on some of the bricks. Efflorescence in action!

A serious problem for the café owner? Time to whip out the muriatic acid or bring in the sand blaster? Hardly. That powdery deposit makes the bricks look old. It's just what the interior decorator ordered. Character. Ambiance.


It goes to show, what's grungy to some is fashionable to others. Kind of like Tom Waits's voice.

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  • Bannister, Doug. "Contractor's Guide to Efflorescence," (April 20, 2012)
  • Capel, Chris. "Conservation Skills." Routledge. 2000, page 102.
  • Delaware Quarries. "Efflorescence Causes, Removal, and Prevention."(April 20, 2012)
  • Environmental News Service. "Bacteria 'Trained' to Clean Ancient Artworks," June 15, 2011.(April 20, 2012)
  • Ford, Aleid. "Sistine Chapel - spot the differences!" Italy Magazine, June 23, 2010.(April 20, 2012)
  • International Masonry Institute. "Efflorescence & New Building Bloom."(April 20, 2012)
  • Koski, John A. "Removing efflorescence," Masonry Construction Magazine, May 1, 1992.(April 20, 2012)
  • Nasvik, Joe. "What Causes Efflorescence and How do You Remove it?" Concrete Construction, December 2005.(April 20, 2012)
  • Portland Cement Association. "Preventing Efflorescence," (April 25, 2012)