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Efflorescence vs. Mold: Unveiling the Hidden Intruders

Two of the most common foundation problems are mold and efflorescence, and although Carolina homeowners who lack experience in dealing with the two may confuse them, there are some notable ways in which they differ. Learning about these differences and how each substance can affect your home’s foundation will help you prevent and treat the presence of both of them.

Mold: Get the Facts

Mold in your basement will look a little different than it looks on wood and drywall, as concrete isn’t an organic surface. Look for dark, speckled patterns. As it continues to grow, those round, black specks will take on a three-dimensional appearance.

Why Does Mold Grow on Concrete?

Mold needs humidity, a combination of heat and moisture, to grow. As long as these two components are present, mold has almost everything it needs to thrive. The third thing it needs, however, is an organic material for nourishment. 

The concrete in your basement isn’t an organic material, true, but it will serve as a host to bacteria, minerals, and other organic compounds that are enough to sustain mold growth.

Why Is Mold a Danger?

As mold grows on your foundation’s walls, it will degrade the concrete and make it more porous, in turn creating an even more optimal environment for mold to spread and grow. Over time, it will lead to the destruction of your foundation.

Additionally, mold spores will seep into your home from your basement, and as you and your family members inhale them, you’ll be put at greater risk, as exposure to mold causes respiratory issues, skin problems, and other health conditions.

How to Get Rid of Mold

mold in a basement

You’ll need a foundation and crawl space contractor to treat these types of mold. Thankfully, the concrete in your foundation may not need replacing, as the contractor will use special equipment to eliminate the presence of mold.

Efflorescence: What to Know

When dampness pervades your basement, or you suffer from a foundation leak, salt will be present in that moisture, which will dry or evaporate and leave the salt behind. It is that salt that forms the white or chalky residue commonly called efflorescence, and though it isn’t a fungus, like mold, it does signify dangers to your foundation.

Efflorescence comes from the french word which means “to flower out.” And although it sounds pretty, it’s not a pretty sight for any homeowner in Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston, or beyond to come across.

What Causes Efflorescence?


In addition to the salt that’s naturally found in water, the moisture seeping into your foundation will also carry several other minerals. These are present in stone, brick, and concrete, and as your foundation material gets exposed to moisture, the water will become infused with those minerals.

As the moisture evaporates, all of those minerals mix with the salt and remain on the surface. A material that’s more porous will have a richer sampling of these minerals, leading to the heavier presence of efflorescence.

Why Is It a Problem?

In itself, efflorescence isn’t a problem, as the minerals left behind aren’t destructive to your basement or foundation surfaces. However, the presence of these deposits will tell you that you should start looking more closely for leaks or the presence of moisture within your foundation.

After a prolonged period of moisture exposure, the concrete may degrade, which can lead to significant damage and the need for reconstruction by a qualified foundation repair specialist.

How Do You Get Rid of Efflorescence?

You can better prevent moisture problems and reduce the need for more extensive repair projects with routine foundation maintenance, but the first step in treating the condition once it is already a problem is to resolve the leak in your foundation.

Afterward, your foundation and crawl space contractor will have the supplies and equipment necessary to wash away the efflorescence, a process that will end by applying a fresh coating of sealant to protect your foundation walls.

Leave Foundation Restoration to the Pros

Even after learning about mold and efflorescence, you may not have the skills or resources to treat these conditions in your basement or foundation. Falcone Crawl Space & Structural Repair provides the high-quality foundation services you need to protect your home. Discuss your needs by contacting us today.