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white stuff on brickwork...?

Discussion in 'Building' started by Lorena, 19 Mar 2010.

  1. Lorena

    Lorena

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    Hello,
    I have a small area of red brick wall at the front, west facing, about 6 foot long by 4 foot high, covering some steps [not part of house]. It's covered in some white stuff that seems like powder when rubbed with finger. It looks as if someone has come along with a paint brush and daubed it but I know that's not the case. I'm not sure if the correct term is 'spalling'.

    I'd like to sort of rinse it off. Any ideas how best to go about it please? Is there some special stuff I should use? The wall is only 3 years old and looked very newish with good pointing before this appeared which I'm wondering is something to do with harsh winter weather.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
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  3. PrenticeBoyofDerry

    PrenticeBoyofDerry

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    is it coming from the bricks or from the mortar joints.
    It could be either efflorescence or even lime bloom,
    depending at what stage/state they are in, pressure washing and scrubbing can remove it or if that does not work, using a mild acid wash should do it.
     
  4. ajrobb

    ajrobb

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    Spalling is frost damage cause flakes to break away. I've had a quick google. It might be 'leaching'. New bricks can leach salts but this should stop eventually. Wet bricks can leach lime from mortar. Is there a damp problem?
     
  5. Static

    Static

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    As PrenticeBoyofDerry says pressure wash if its fairly recent.. but chances are acid will be the only remedy.
     
  6. ajrobb

    ajrobb

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    As wall is only 3 years old and it is powdery rather than hard, I'd try plain water and elbow grease first.

    Thanks guys, I've learnt something today. :)
     
  7. Lorena

    Lorena

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    thanks for replies, I'm very grateful for help.

    No it's not coming out of the mortar, just the bricks. A few bricks have turned pure white, others mostly patchy. It's very powdery to the touch. The mortar joints look fine. I'm wondering if it's salt leaching as posted above. There is no damp problem at all, it just looks horrible.

    What exactly is a 'mild acid wash'?...what do you recommend to use for this?...

    thanks again :)
     
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  9. jeds

    jeds

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    What you have is 90% certain to be efflourescence. This is caused by natural salts in the masonry being carried to the surface by evaporating water, brought about because the bricks got excessively wet during construction. Wetting the bricks further is the worse thing you can do because it will carry the salts back into the brickwork and the wetting will just bring more salts to the surface later. Might look ok to start with but is not curing anything and will make it worse in the long run.

    Best treatment is a stiff dry brush.
     
  10. Lorena

    Lorena

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    ..thank you John, I shall try a stiff brush first :)
     
  11. Thermo

    Thermo

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    as jeds says, it be the salts coming out of the brickwork. perfectly normal. rub some off and taste it with your tongue and it will taste salty. Stiff brush and dont use any cleaners or washes.
     
  12. noseall

    noseall

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    Conditions at the moment are perfect for efflorescence, i.e. a wet cold period followed by a dry windy period.

    There are dozens of walls local to me covered in it.
     
  13. Lorena

    Lorena

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    ...thank you again. At least I know what it is. I'm brushing it off gradually. It's bloomin' hard work :mad: ..... :)
     
  14. DIYnot Local

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