How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

What causes brick stain or discoloration near the ground?

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The culprit is almost always high moisture content in the brick, especially at the face. And the specific delivery system of the wetness could be 1) sprinklers hitting the wall, 2) rain rolling off the edge of a short roof overhang with no gutters and splashing back onto the wall, 3) a plumbing leak, or 4) moisture rising up from wet ground—being wicked upward by capillary action (rising damp).

    If the color is dark green or black and the surface can be scraped off, then it is a fungal growth. A white powdery surface means it’s efflorescence, which happens when the salts in the brick become wet and get pulled to the surface, then dry. See our article What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls? for more on this phenomenon. 

    Other colors, such as yellow and red ochre, are also the result of dissolved minerals migrating to the surface and drying into powder. Rust from reinforcing steel ladders in the mortar joints can also cause staining and cracking along the mortar line. Go to What would cause long horizontal lines of brick mortar to fall out? for more details.

    Rising damp occurs when there is no water-stop material between brick courses, such as a metal or lead flashing, near ground level to stop the upward movement of moisture coming from the soil. In some cases, it can cause brick to disintegrate and crumble away. Read our article What causes the surface of old bricks to erode away into sandy powder? for photos and details. 

    Examples like the one shown at the top of the page are most likely a comabination of sprinkler overspray and rising damp. 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Here’s links to a some of our other blog posts about BRICK:

 What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?

What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall? 

What does freeze damaged brick look like? 

Are brick houses hotter in Florida?

Is a brick house sturdier than a wood frame house? 

How can I tell if the exterior walls of a house are concrete block (CBS) or wood or brick?

• What causes a vertical crack in an exterior concrete block or brick wall? 

• Why is my brick wall cracking?

• What causes mortar cracks?

What is the average life expectancy of brick?

• Which is better: vinyl or brick manufactured/mobile home skirting?

• How do termites get into a brick house?

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

"What Are The

Signs Of..."

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests

Sinkholes

Stairs

When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes

Site

Shingle Roofs

Safety

Stucco

Remodeling

Wind Mitigation

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Radon

Brick

Plumbing

Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs

Foundations

Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Condominiums

Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile-Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil

Insurance

Floors

Insulation

Toilets

Exterior Walls

& Structures

Generators

Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers

Electrical

Kitchens

Doors and Windows

(placeholder)

Cracks

Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps

Appliances

Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.

Bathrooms

Lighting

AFCI, CAFCI,

DFCI, & GFCI

Sinks

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size

Attics

Electrical Switches

Siding

Search

This

Site

Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete

(placeholder)

Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

About Us

(placeholder)

Wells