It rains so little in Arizona that it seems our homes would be immune from water damage.
But if you live in a home with stucco, brick or block walls, you know that’s not true.
Masonry walls, including concrete-based stucco, are prone to efflorescence, those powdery white marks that “grow” on so many Arizona homes, when they get wet. The problem shows up when the hot sun dries out those rain-soaked walls and pulls the soluble salts from inside of the stucco, block or brick to the surface.
You can’t stop the rain, and you wouldn’t want to in a desert, but you can prevent your home’s masonry walls from getting wet when it’s not raining. Keeping your walls dry can help prevent efflorescence from showing up so often.
Repair plumbing leaks immediately. Even a trickle of water can leave a white mark on your stucco.
Locate sprinklers far enough away from the house that they won’t spray water on it when they’re running.
Don’t plant shrubs and flowers too close to the house. Keep them far enough away that you won’t splash water on the walls with your hose or watering can.
Seal your walls with a silicone-based penetrating sealer to prevent the porous concrete from absorbing water.
A tip: If you’re sealing or repainting your home to help prevent efflorescence, don’t stop at ground level. Push aside the landscaper’s gravel and dig down a few inches around the base of the house. Clean, prime and paint that almost-underground part of the wall, too. It will help prevent moisture from wicking up into the walls from the stem of the foundation.