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Thread: Any Ideas for Cleaning Stained Brick?

  1. #1
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    Any Ideas for Cleaning Stained Brick?

    Is this the right place to ask about brick?
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    My husband and I are having a little problem.
    Now before everyone goes berserk, I just got married and moved here last fall. and my husband lived like an old bachelor for years and years and....didn't notice it..........don't be too hard on him, he's a little disabled....

    Okay. We renovated the house top to bottom (with professionals) to get the house updated and ready to sell. This is the LAST thing to deal with.

    There was a problem with the gutter above it FOR YEARS. The gutter has been repaired. since this photo was taken, there is a new roof too, and the water damage on the inside has all been repaired. The flower bed is cleaned up too. The house has been completely repainted (stained) and looks great--except for the brick.

    What do we do? My husband tried a bunch of different (acid) chemicals on it (from Home Depot) that didn't help. Tried power washing. Nope. A neighbor suggested trying a dry stiff metal brush. Nope. He suggested trying a grinder with a brush. Well in order to grind off enough to get rid of the stain, the brick will be so damaged that you'll see it anyway.

    Does anyone have any idea what to do for this? I've called several masons and no one seems to know how to clean it. Will sandblasting help? Are going to have to paint the brick?

    Thank you for any suggestions.
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  2. #2
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    If muriadic acid don't do it then paint it.

    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Baer View Post
    If muriadic acid don't do it then paint it.

    Don, I'd be happy to paint it, but the problem is that a lot of the house is brick:
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    that's the side--i can't find a photo of the front this minute. How do you paint one wall without painting all of it? I mean it looks great everywhere else now that the siding has been restained, new roof etc....
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  4. #4
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    Cynthia,
    The other solution is to sell it as is, After all it's a used house there are bound to be things that aren't what the new buyer wants so let him/her deal with it. I did when I sold my mothers house after she died. I built in $5k into the price and gave the buyer a $5k discount to buy new carpeting...
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    I guess the question is, will the stain on the brick repel buyers?
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
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  6. #6
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    It might make people question about water damage to the structure. I would have suggested as Don said with the muratic acid as well I would install a down spout in that corner to channel the water away from the wall and the building before listing it. You could also take the pic to a mason and ask what they suggest. My parents had a problem with their back deck and bricks and it was called efloresence ( the white stuff on the bricks) and they couldn't give him an answer for it so he re coated the bricks with the sealer and it went away. Not saying that this is the answer but just some avenues to look at.
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia White View Post
    I guess the question is, will the stain on the brick repel buyers?
    Like drew said put in a gutter to show that you have done something about the problem. Don't try to hide it. As long as you show you were proactive in solving the problem the buyers will be confident in buying.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    yeah, we'll try the muriatic acid. All the gutters have been repaired. No more Niagara Falls. Everything has been repaired or replaced from top to bottom except that brick (yet). I can't see leaving the stain like that. I wouldn't buy a house that looked like that. I guess we'll paint it if we have to. thanks guys
    Last edited by Cynthia White; 06-24-2010 at 05:03 AM. Reason: Added something
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia White View Post
    ... I wouldn't buy a house that looked like that. I guess we'll paint it if we have to. thanks guys
    And I'd be more likely to buy a house with stained brick than one with painted brick. Especially if I saw the problem causing the stain had been fixed.

    Drew's right...it looks like efflorescence, which is caused when water leaches the salts and other minerals out of the cement in the mortar. Muriatic acid might help, but read and follow the instructions closely...it can be nasty stuff. You also don't want to get any of it on any plants. Here's another product I found, but have no experience with:

    http://www.aldonchem.com/popup-ab-efflorescence.htm

    And another link...talking about efflorescence on concrete slabs, but the solutions are in line with what I've seen used on masonry in the past:

    http://concreteconstruction.net/indu...ticleID=233348

    Personally, I think I'd leave it for the next owners to deal with. My guess is that the house has enough other pluses to offset any minus the stain might have on a buyer's decision-making process. I also suspect that the stain will fade over time, now that the wall's no longer being used as the downspout.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post

    Personally, I think I'd leave it for the next owners to deal with. My guess is that the house has enough other pluses to offset any minus the stain might have on a buyer's decision-making process. I also suspect that the stain will fade over time, now that the wall's no longer being used as the downspout.
    The only problem with that Vaughn is that there is a stigma going around Vancouver in regards to leaky condo's and any signs of moisture damage is a scare factor to most people. It doesn't have to actually be a problem and it may have been fixed but people are funny when they see something like that rather than understand the situation they will just turn away or ask for a substantial reduction in the selling price. It is also becoming a buyers market right now as the intrest rates are starting to go up a bit and there are more homes coming on the market. Just in my area alone we have seen a substantial increase of homes for sale from last year, where maybe 20 -30 homes were for sale now there are well over 100. With still another 5000 homes being built just down the street from me. The market is becoming saturated with homes for sale and as I am sure you are aware anything that puts a question in the mind of a buyer as to the condition of a home could potentially squash a sale. I have done lots of home inspections and I would seriously have to question this if I was doing an inspection on a home with any signs of water damage like this. I have also done lots of repairs on homes where there is water damage. I am sure that the inside of the home has framing, insulation and dry wall and you have no idea what is happening on the other side of the brick without opening the walls up to have a look. There may be nothing but it could be a huge mess.
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

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