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Brick mortar joint discoloration


paul burrell
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I have a client bought a new home and the brick is discolored (white) from what I call efforscence. It looks awful. Does anyone know technically what causes this or is there a website that may be helpful. It happened about six months after the owners moved in. Is there any way to chemically treat this. The builder Told them it will go away after a couple of years. Naturally his warranty is for one year.

Thanks

Paul Burrell

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It may be "bloom" which is a normal result of moisture working it's way out of the new masonry. It can also be caused by water leaks, inadequate flashing, or other defects that allow water into the wall. If everything else on the house is satisfactory (wicks, weeps, flashings), then it's probably bloom. You can wash it off w/a little water from the garden hose. Can't tell about the other stuff until I see the property & how the masonry is installed.

Short explain; efflorescence is caused by moisture migration through masonry. As water works it's way through, it dissolves mineral salts in the masonry; when the moisture finds it's way out of the masonry, it evaporates, and the mineral salts calcify on the surface as efflorescence.

Large amounts = bad / small amounts = not so bad, or maybe superfluous. It always means water though, which can cause problems all through the building in ways we are all aware of. Whenever you see efflorescence, it's time to get the detective cap on tight & trace it as far as you can.

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Hi,

He can clean the brickwork with a mild muriatic acid solution about 1pt muriatic acid to 20 parts water. Sponge it on, allow it to work and then rinse it down with TSP. Finally rinse with clear water, allow it to dry and a few days later apply some clear acrylic concrete/masonry sealant.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

M.

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Thanks guys,

Very helpful info. I located some good web sites on brick construction and the info was pretty much what you said. The Southern Brick Institute even furnished detail of where the flashing and weeps had to be installed. The brick job I referred to will probably have problems with efflorescence from now on it is not flashed correctly. When I gave my client this info he smiled like a possum eating briars [^].

Thanks again for your quick response,

Paul Burrell

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