Do your paver stones have a white haze or chalky substance on the surface? The technical term for this naturally occurring phenomenon is called efflorescence. It is caused when moisture from rain, snow or humidity collects in the porous paver stones and the heat from the sun draws the moisture and sodium carbonate (water soluble salt) within the pavers to the surface. When the moisture evaporates, it leaves a random pattern of white or gray salt deposits on the surface of the pavers (as well as concrete and bricks) as shown above.
If you plan to seal your paver patio, you should remove efflorescence before applying the sealer, or else you will lock in the white discoloration.
Discoloration from efflorescence can occur 3-6 weeks after the installation of new pavers or anytime thereafter. It does not harm the pavers; however, if harsh cleaners and chemicals are used to remove the efflorescence it may damage the pavers.
Paver Stone Discoloration FAQs
How Do I Know the Haze Is Efflorescence?
There are many causes of surface discolorations that are often mistaken for efflorescence including lawn and garden fertilizers that land on the surface of the pavers, applying sealer to wet pavers, using low-grade sealer or using a water-based sealer on top of a solvent-based sealer.
In addition, if a sealer does not dry properly, it can cause discoloration.
“The lesson for do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners is to avoid common sealing mistakes that can permanently discolor or damage their paver stones,” shared Robert Frankel, head of sales and business development for Paver Rescue.
Fortunately, there is a quick test to verify if the cloudiness or white powder is efflorescence: Simply apply water on the cloudy area. If the discoloration disappears when wet, then it is highly likely efflorescence. If the discoloration remains, it is probably time to call in an expert to assess your pavers. You can request a free estimate from Paver Rescue.
How Do I Remove Efflorescence?
Over time, rain will naturally remove the efflorescence from pavers. However, natural correction tends to take longer for pavers in shaded or partially shaded areas. Depending on the amount of efflorescence, many homeowners simply use regular dish soap and water with a stiff plastic scrub brush. Beware: harsh cleaners or chemicals may damage the pavers. DO NOT use a wire brush on your pavers, as pieces of wire can become dislodged and create rust marks on the surface of your pavers.
If your pavers were installed a year ago or longer, it is likely time to have your pavers assessed and professionally cleaned. Request an Estimate
How Do I Prevent Efflorescence?
- Avoid common DIY paver sealing mistakes by hiring a professional like Paver Rescue to seal and maintain your patio.
- Remove wet rugs from the paver surface until they dry completely.
- Adjust sprinklers to avoid watering your pavers.
- Address any lawn or garden drainage issues that may cause moisture to build up on the pavers.
Is Efflorescence Harmful?
No. The white salt deposits from efflorescence are not harmful to your pavers. Efflorescence will disappear over time, or you can expedite the process by using a gentle cleanser and brush.