This past week we received a phone call from a client needing a mold inspection. She was preparing to put her house on the market in Athens and was concerned there was mold growing on her basement walls. After asking the right questions and determining the walls were concrete block, it sounded more like efflorescence than mold. Furthermore, after explaining the differences she decided to do some more research before she had us come out.
What is efflorescence?
Concrete is like a wick. When dry and porous concrete comes in contact with wet soil it begins to absorb the water. Remember capillary action from biology class? If concrete block stays in contact with wet soil long enough, it will begin to absorb the water and seep through the block. When water seeps through the block it picks up the naturally occurring minerals found in the concrete. These salts and minerals are deposited to the surfaces of the concrete block and become visible after it dries. This is what we call efflorescence. It is often times white to light grey, crystalline in appearance, and feels powdery to the touch.
To the untrained eye, efflorescence is easily mistaken for mold.
A few days later we spoke again with this client and after doing some more investigating she realized it was efflorescence. This saved her from having a mold inspector come out and stalling to put her house on the market.
If you suspect that mold is growing in your home, take a closer look and perform your own inspection. If you still have questions or concerns, let us clarify the issues for you and get down to the bottom line. We perform mold inspections and remediations as part of our whole-home indoor air quality approach, and we’re happy to answer any questions that you may have. You can contact us at Branch Environmental, or give us a call (706) 310-0097. There’s no dumb question when it comes to your investment and your family.
Photos showing efflorescence on clay brick and concrete cinder block