Common causes of discolored masonry

Remember the scary old house in movies? It usually had overgrown vegetation and a worn, moldy look. The house was meant to convey an element of apprehension to the viewer.

In real life, though, the same holds true for our business’ buildings. A neatly maintained exterior with easy parking is a welcoming sign to visiting customers. On the other hand, stained or mossy masonry can be off-putting.

Is your discolored masonry affecting your customer’s perception of your business?
Here are some common causes of masonry discoloration.


Though harmless, these white deposits of water-soluble salt crystals can change the look of your masonry.

External environment

Whether it’s hard water or overgrown vegetation, the environment around your building can affect your masonry. Pollution and runoff can leave behind noticeable and unsightly stains.

Brown stains

The presence of manganese oxide causes these stains. Normally used in masonry as a coloring agent, brown staining occurs when the manganese oxide is exposed to acid.

Lime run

Appearing as white or gray run marks on masonry, the source of this is the construction material that was used. Calcium carbonate within the construction material combine with moisture over time, leading to lime run.

Yellow or green stains

This staining is a result of vanadium salt used in the mix material make some brick. Over time, with exposure to the elements, the vanadium deposits come to the surface, discoloring the brick.

White scum

This staining is most often caused by cleaning brick with muriatic acid solutions or insufficiently rinsing the brick after cleaning. Silicate deposits build up, leading to white scum.

The solution

A professional can identify the source of the discoloration and help you develop a plan for remediation. The plan may include washes with specific solutions, as well as addressing any areas weakened by deterioration.

Failure to accurately identify the source of the discoloration can lead to further staining or damage to your masonry.

As masonry experts, we look forward to helping you find solutions. Please email or call with questions.

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