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Efflorescence Treatment - Troubleshooting:

The first step is always to test the product in another application other than your project. The purpose of doing this is to get over your natural reaction that something might be wrong with the product. This will aid in determining what is really happening and why.

If, after testing as described and reviewing the information on this page, you do not have an answer and do not know what to do - contact us for assistance as something is certainly different than you think.

Before emailing for assistance - do the following tests so you can give us the results in the your email. If you contact us before doing the testing and reviewing the information, there will be delays in assisting you because we must still ask you for these test results. We cannot be of assistance by guessing.

(It is important to do all 3 tests)

  1. Apply a small amount to a piece of flat, clean glass per the label directions. The glass gives you a clear view of what the product looks like when dry. With sealers or coatings, this will show you the degree of toughness and adhesion. With cleaners and other products, this will show you what it looks like when dry.
  2. Apply a small amount to an uninstalled piece of the same surfacing per the label directions. The uninstalled piece of the same surfacing takes away anything that occurred during and after installation.
  3. Apply a small amount per the label directions to a different type of surfacing with a similar absorption. This takes the surfacing itself out of the equation to show if there is something unusual about that particular batch of surfacing.

Now that you see what the product does and how it looks - let's examine the job conditions and determine what is different. The conclusion to be verified is that something has occurred during the installation, or in the time span after installation, to interfere with performance. You do not want to do anything else (reapply product, strip, etc.) that will complicate identifying the issues.

Here are the things to look for:

  • Oily residue after one hour? or treated surface now beads water.

    Note: Efflorecence Treatment is not a sealer and does not make a surface bead water. Water will bead if the surface was always naturally non-absorbent, or it was previously sealed and is now non-absorbent to some degree. Sometimes an installer will apply a sealer to make grout cleanup easier and you may not be aware this happened. Check with the installer.

    If Efflorescence Treatment has been applied to a non-absorbent surface and has not been able to penetrate, the surface is either very dense, or it has been sealed. Remove excess Efflorescence Treatment with Aldon Insta-Clean, mineral spirits or lacquer thinner

    Note 1: If this surface was never sealed and Efflorescence Treatment has not absorbed within 1 hour, the surface type is very dense and very low in absorbtion. Typically, these surface types are too dense to have efflorescence salts and moisture migrate through them. Therefore, see "Problem Solving" for "mineral deposits" as being the more likely condition.

    Note 2: if this is a sealed surface, there are other considerations:

    1. If a non-Aldon sealer: it did not create a barrier to efflorescence.
    2. If an Aldon sealer designated on the   Surface Type   page as stopping efflorescence - the application instructions were not followed and the sealer was not penetrated into the surface to create the barrier described.
    3. If an Aldon penetrating sealer was properly applied and you see "white stuff" on top of it, it is not efflorescence. This is almost certainly mineral deposits carried by water from another location, then drying out in this place and leaving the salts behind. See  "Problem Solving"  for "mineral deposits".

      In any of these situations - in order to treat and stop the efflorescence the sealer needs to be removed. See   "Problem Solving"   for the issue "Redoing a Previously Sealed Surface".

  • Initial application looked great, but after a few hours some efflorescence reappears?

    What happens is that the standard "powdery" efflorescence particles are taken below the surface as they should, however, there was also some crystalline efflorescence that was not obvious before. These are crystals that are bonded to the surface and cannot be moved below. See the product label for "crystalline efflorescence" to see how to remove this remainder of the stain.

  • Efflorescence Treatment made no difference? It might be entirely "crystalline efflorescence" (see label).   Other possibilities are it is not true efflorescence and may be grout additive bleedout or aluminum stains from window or door frames.  Lacquer thinner should dissolve grout additives. We do not know of any way to remove alluminum stains other than sanding.

    One other possibility is the Efflorescence Treatment only needs to be applied more heavily than was done.  Its function is to attached to the efflorescence powder and take it below the surface, therefore, there has to be enough liquid to do that.

  • Applied Efflorescence Treatment on grout lines and after drying for more than one day some areas are lighter in color than other areas.   The product enhances colors where it penetrates.  If the grout has something in it that creates variable absorbtion, the more absorbtive sections can be darker than the sections that do not absorb as much.  This can be created by the remainder below the surface of old sealer.  It can also be caused by grout designated "modified", "poly...", "acrylic", "latex", or something else indicating that it contains additives in addition to cement, sand, and color. If that additive was not well blended by the manufacturer, or mixed well by the installer, the result can be uneven absorbtion. Wait a week or two for the Efflorescence Treatment to completely dry out and lighten up in color effect. If that does not work sufficiently, use some lacquer thinner and clean white rags to remove as much Efflorescence Treatment as possible from the darker areas.

  • Neither "Efflorescence Treatment" or "Grout Residue Remover / Brick and Block Cleaner" remove it? Try "Grout Residue Remover / Brick and Block Cleaner" at full strength on a very small test area. If not fizzing, it is not efflorescence. See if it dissolves with lacquer thinner. If so, it is probably a latex or acrylic additive from the grout and/or setting materials. See this issue in   "Problem Solving"

     

  • "Efflorescence Treatment" made the surface look good and enhanced the color, but the effect lastest for only a few weeks or until water hit the surface.
    This product is a treatment than can be reapplied as often as necessary. However, if the treated surface is then sealed with the appropriate Aldon sealer that stops efflorescence, the appearance effect should remain permanently. Test a small area first to prove.
    If color seems to fade again, or you see white areas again, check for light mineral deposits being left on top by rain or sprinkler water. These can be removed with "Grout Residue Remover".

     

  • Efflorescence returns before the recommended 7 days for "Efflorescence Treatment" to fully dry prior to sealing?
  • This means more water is coming up at such a rate that the efflorescence is reoccurring sooner than 7 days.

    All label recommendations are for best case, least risk. Sometimes, conditions dictate the need to vary from the label recommendations. This is one of those cases. Therefore, the only reasonable answer is to seal sooner. However, when deciding to vary from the label, it is even more important to test a small area and allow enough time to evaluate before doing the entire project. Watch for sealer not being able to penetrate/bond properly because of the water interference.

  • For "Interlocking Paver" installations: If you use the cleaning process described on the pavers page and still have white stains:

    It could be because of "Sand Stabilizers": If remaining white looking stains do not respond to Aldon "Grout Residue Remover" (fizzing), this might not be efflorescence. Sometimes an installation might have a "sand stabilizer" mixed in with the sand. These are basically glue type materials. This glue can wash out and leave light colored smears on the pavers. Test lacquer thinner and/or Aldon Premium Stripper to remove this glue. When you seal with an Aldon sealer, choose one that will stabilize sand at the same time and you will get that stabilizing effect in a single step without the same risk.

If this does not answer your situation - something is very different and unusual. You should be able to discover why by looking for the issue in  "Problem Solving"