During a recent commercial real estate tour in Northern California, I was walking with a client through the basement of an industrial building, when we came upon a retention wall covered in white powder. “What is that strange white residue on the concrete wall?”, he asked, somewhat fearful of the building he was hoping to buy, “should I be concerned?”
Although this common white powder is not often a major problem, Haedrich & Co. always likes to operate from a “concerned perspective”, using every opportunity to thoroughly investigate the cause and, most importantly, the source of any issue. In this particular the case, my client and I had discovered another great Redding, CA deposit of efflorescence, or salt to be exact. Efflorescence is actually the process that pulls water/moisture to the surface of almost all types of masonry walls and flooring, only to then evaporate and leave salt behind. The word derives from a term meaning “to bloom” and that is exactly how contractors typically describe this process when white powder is found on the walls, especially on new construction. For this wall, however, our industrial building was a late bloomer, and this efflorescence appeared to be old and potentially chronic. Therefore, although efflorescence is not a chemical concern and rarely structural, it’s always good practice to investigate the issue further to determine if there are any moisture problems.
If you’d like to find out more about this fine white salty residue, I recommended starting with this great article from HowStuffWorks.com: How Efflorescence Works
And if you have any questions about the best commercial real estate investigations to be sure to identify any potential problems, feel free to give us a call at (530) 221-1127. We’re always happy to help!
About Chris Haedrich
After graduating with a degree in Global Studies from University of California Santa Barbara, Chris joined the firm in 2005 planning to stay as long as he was inspired and challenged …and he has never left. Chris is a CCIM candidate and member of the International Counsel of Shopping Centers (ICSC). When he’s not chasing deals or fly fishing through town, Chris has enjoyed several positions on various local boards, including the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce, Redding East Rotary, One SAFE Place and Catalyst – Redding Young Professionals. In his previous life he was a fly fishing guide in Colorado, amateur videographer, and wannabe world traveler. Ask him about his climbing wall in his barn or most recent homebrewed beer.