What word are these home inspectors actually reaching for? Efflorescence! To keep it simple, efflorescence is the white powdery substance found on porous building materials such as masonry walls. As moisture moves through the wall, it brings salts with it, and as the water evaporates, it leaves behind the white substance. When a home inspector observes a significant amount of efflorescence, its an indication of a moisture problem. Since moisture is home enemy number one, the source of the moisture needs to be identified and measures taken to remove the source. The efflorescence itself is harmless, but where we find a lot of efflorescence, we also find mold, termites or other moisture damage.
The moisture can come from not having gutters,having gutter downspouts terminate too close to the home, running sprinklers too long, or even up from the ground. Most home inspectors can generate an accurate hypothesis on the origins of the moisture, but it is beyond the scope of an inspection to definitively determine the origins, or prescribe a repair. The point is, a home inspector should be able to properly identify, explain, and assign the