What You Should Know About Brick Discoloration

October 23, 2019

Have you started to notice any staining or discoloration on the surfaces of your home’s brick walls? There are a variety of reasons why this might be occurring. The color or type of staining you see will give you an idea of the issue that you need to correct to get your bricks looking new again.

Here are a few different types of stains on brick surfaces in Racine, WI and what you should know about them.

Brick chimney stains

It’s not uncommon for white staining or discoloration to show up on red or other darker color chimney bricks. This is almost always efflorescence, a kind of mineral salt that is left behind on surfaces when water leaks into and starts to evaporate out of the chimney. This can occur on other areas of brick, but it’s especially common with chimneys. Over time, creosote, water damage, soot and blockages can make a chimney unsafe, so any time you start to see material buildup, it’s a good idea to have the chimney inspected and cleaned.

Dark stains on exterior brick

If you see dark black or green stains forming on your walls, it is likely to be algae. You should start with gentle cleaning processes to remove the algae before attempting to power wash. It’s generally not recommended that you use a power washer on brick walls, because it could damage the brick and force you to have to replace some of them bricks, which is likely to be much easier said than done. Algae could start to form on the sides of walls due to rain splashing up onto the brick sidewall, but in general, you can assume it’s a result of moisture buildup.

Lighter green stains can also start to form as well, which are usually a result of the formation of moss, lichen or algae. To remove, you should use chemical cleaners such as Oxcid or VanGo.

Red stains on brick

Any time you see red stains on brick or concrete, it’s almost always going to be a sign of rust, as the red is indicative of iron oxidation. Is there any metal in the area? If so, check there first and see if the metal has rusted at all. If not, consider what else may have occurred in the area. If, for example, the area under a window has red staining, it would be reasonable to infer that there was a window air conditioning unit sitting in that window at some point that would likely have resulted in the rust buildup and formation on the brick.

There are many different kinds of rust removal products available on the market. Make sure you select one that is usable on brick and masonry surfaces so you do not accidentally damage your bricks.

For more information about the various types of staining and discoloration that might occur on brick surfaces in Racine, WI, contact Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete today. We can help by providing tips or handling any repairs you may need.

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