white deposits on red brick

cas66ragtopMarch 5, 2012

My house is brick, and is about 22 years old. I have one area where a white deposit of forming. The mortar joints are just fine, and there is no cracking. I have seen this on other buildings, and it can get pretty bad. So far, it isn't all that bad, but I want to fix it before it gets worse.

The internet search I did on this tells me it is called "phospheresence", where the salt in the mortar or the brick is starting to seep out during rainfall and leave deposits as the water runs down the wall. I have also seen they have cleaners for this.

My questions for you guys are:

1. What product really works best?

2. Which product will only remove the salt deposits and leave the rest of the original brick finish alone?

The bricks are finished in a few different colors, ranging from red to brown to black. I had always assumed this color was solid, running all the way through the brick. After removing some mud wasp nests, I found out it is a surface color. If you scrub the bricks, you also scrub off the coloring. So whatever product I use to eliminate the salt, I want to make sure I don't scrub off the coloring if I can help it. Which leads me to another question - is there a product where I can duplicate the brick colors if needed?


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Unless the bricks are glowing in the dark, the term is efflorescence. The usual treatment is muriatic acid followed by a thorough rinsing with water. This is usually, however, a temporary solution. The conditions which are allowing the efflorescence to appear will not be altered by a surface treatment. Any time muriatic acid is used, there is a risk of discoloring the brick as well.

The color of bricks does go all the way through. Over time, though, the surface weathers. This can be worn away by cleaning which gives the impression that the color is coming off. It's not. The cleaning is just changing the surface appearance.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 5:07AM
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Thanks for the help. I will have to try that.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 8:57AM
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