What Does a Retaining Wall With Efforescence Mean

A retaining wall is a highly convenient structure for any property prone to heavy rain and flooding. When it comes to choosing a retaining wall for your landscape, there is no shortage of options for materials. If you end up having a stone type retaining wall, there is a phenomenon that can occur.

This phenomenon is called efflorescence. Efflorescence is an occurrence that results in the development of white powder on the surface of the retaining wall. While it is a generally natural occurrence, it can build up over time. By knowing what it means for your wall to have efflorescence, you can better care for it.

What to Know About Efflorescence

The first thing to know about efflorescence is that it is not a stain. It is a thin, white, powdery deposit of water-soluble salts left on the surface of masonry as the water evaporates. This occurrence usually happens during the curing process and makes an appearance as far as months after the retaining wall’s installation. While efflorescence doesn’t appear on every retaining wall, certain conditions cause it, and there are ways to deal with it.

What Causes It

Certain conditions need to exist before a chance of efflorescence can occur on your retaining wall. There are three conditions that you will want to note. The first condition that is needed is the presence of a water-soluble salt. Second is the need for a source of moisture. The final condition is the use of a material that is porous enough to allow the salt to seep through to its surface. Once the liquid evaporates, efflorescence makes an appearance.

Aside from these conditions, climate elements can also be a cause for efflorescence. Water, rain and snow are the primary sources of moisture and may impact the degree of efflorescence. In addition, there is also the season to consider as humidity will impact whether soluble salts appear.

How to Remove It

There are different ways to have efflorescence removed from your retaining wall. You can consider pressure washing your retaining wall to dissolve the white powder. However, you will want to make sure your retaining wall is dry after washing. If there is any leftover moisture on your retaining wall, it can cause the efflorescence to return.

To avoid overly wetting your retaining wall, you can watch over its curing process and prevent too much moisture from seeping in. What’s more, you have the option of scrubbing the efflorescence away with a strong type of brush.

Outside of washing and scrubbing, you will want to consider applying a vinegar solution. This solution involves diluting some white vinegar and applying it to the surface with a sponge or a spray bottle. Once you allow it to sit on the surface of the retaining wall, you can wipe it dry.

How to Prevent It

The best way to prevent efflorescence from happening to your retaining wall is to use the proper coating. A recommended type of coating to use for retaining walls would be silicone and acrylic. Applying a silicone or acrylic coating on your retaining wall can help prevent moisture from seeping into the structure. Other than this, you will want to consult a professional on the best preventive measures for your retaining wall.


Efflorescence is a seasonal phenomenon that happens to a retaining wall and generally appears as white powder on the surface. Three conditions lead to efflorescence and can build up from retained moisture.

Some of the best ways to deal with efflorescence on retaining walls are to wash it off or apply a vinegar solution. Properly curing and coating your retaining wall can help prevent the occurrence of efflorescence. However, it would be more helpful to refer to a professional service group like Caroline Springs Landscaping.

Caroline Springs Landscaping can help any retaining wall needs at bdget0friendly rates and provide quality options. Whether you wish to remove or prevent efflorescence on your retaining wall, be assured that Caroline Springs Landscaping will provide quality assistance.

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