TOP 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING RID OF WHITE HAZE ON YOUR PAVERS
That white haze on your outdoor pavers … it’s called efflorescence. And the process of removing it can be a true test of your patience. Before gearing up in your rubber gloves and going to town on those pavers, stop and read this. We’re going to share the top 5 things you need to know about getting rid of the white haze on your patio or walkway.
1. Do your homework.
There are many different types of paver cleaning products on the market. And it’s critical you use the right one for your particular situation. Make sure to carefully read the instructions and recommendations for any efflorescence product. You’ll also want to verify the product that you’re cleaning with won’t damage your pavers. Material properties of pavers come in about as many varieties as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Face mix vs. regular pavers, wetcast slabs, natural stone (dense vs. soft), clay brick, Chunky Monkey (no, wait … that’s not right … but at least we got your attention). Unfortunately cleaning is not a one-size-fits-all process for pavers. For example, masons will use muriatic acid on clay brick to remove mortar. However, muriatic acid could do serious damage to a concrete paver. The take-away here: know what type of pavers you’re working with, use a cleaning product that’s safe for them, and carefully follow the instructions for said cleaning product.
2. Set the right expectations.
Ok, so you won’t want to hear this but here it goes: It may (and probably will) take several applications to remove efflorescence. It could take a few days, a few weeks, or possibly even a few months to come back. But the chances are, it will come back, it will irritate you, and it will require another round of cleaning. Another thing to keep in mind is that darker colored pavers often exhibit more noticeable and stubborn efflorescence than lighter colored pavers. And if the pavers have efflorescence "rings," these may be impossible to remove all together.
3. Take the time to do it right.
You’ve read the instructions on the back of your efflorescence cleaner and they suggest multiple cleanings. Suddenly the Evil Efflorescence Devil appears on your shoulder, suggesting you take a short cut! “How about you just clean using a stronger concentration? It will take much less time!” DO NOT DO THIS. Please consider us the Good Efflorescence Angel and heed our advice. It’s better to clean multiple times according to manufacturer's instructions and dilution ratios than to clean at a stronger concentration. The product will work as intended and the cleaning will be more effective.
4. Be aware of your surroundings.
Before performing an efflorescence cleaning, you’ll want to protect anything nearby that can be affected by the chemicals in the product you’re using. Nearby vegetation should be saturated before cleaning. Efflorescence cleaners may also cause grass to yellow, but this is usually a short term thing (the grass should bounce back without any issues). Lastly, be aware of surrounding surface materials (natural stone, poured concrete, etc.) as these can suffer negative side effects of the cleaner as well.
5. Efflorescence can’t be removed under sealer.
We repeat: Efflorescence can NOT be removed under sealer. This is why it’s imperative you allow your pavers to go through the natural process of efflorescence prior to sealing. Since we wish to end this blog post of a happy note, we will not detail the grueling process of fixing sealed pavers that have efflorescence.
Yes, getting rid of white haze on pavers can be challenging, annoying, and a test of your patience. However, going into your cleaning project with this knowledge (and perhaps ending it with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s), you’ll be bound for success.
And for 8 Facts About Efflorescence, click to check out this informative blog post.