What I'm Seeing Now

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"How Do I Clean The Stained Brick?"

My client asked, "How do I clean the stained brick?"

Well, I don't know!  I guess that depends on what is causing the staining.

Underneath each of the four plastic shutters were brown stains.  Notice how the stains are just under the edges?

What is causing them?

1.  That isn't staining.  The brick is cleverly painted to give it some character and interest.
2.  Mud blew on top of the shutters, draining down behind when it rains.
3.  Drywall, or other rusting screws, were used with plastic anchors to install the shutters.
4.  Bats are behind there sleeping, and guano is washing out from behind, causing the stains.

Well, take your pick.  They are all good suggestions!  My vote is number 3! 

Drywall screws are used for installing everything except?  Very good class -- drywall!

So, what can be used to clean the brick? 

First, the source of the staining has to be determined and changed.  Other houses in the neighborhood have the same staining, so the installers were consistent.  Once that is determined, and corrected, the brick can be cleaned.  Maybe with CLR and brushing it.  Maybe, just maybe, it will clean up.

But don't pressure wash it!  That will ruin the shutters and the flashing, and likely drive water into the brick weep holes!

My recommendation:  it is amazing how consistently some problems are left for homeowners.  This house is 7 years old, and since the neighborhood is about the same age, it did not take long for this staining to show up.  But long enough for the builder to head out of Dodge!  The repair?  Stainless steel or brass screws, with lead anchors, not plastic. 

Then there's always tried-and-true duct tape rolled into sticky balls to hold those shutters tight.  OK, that last suggestion is made with a wink and a twinkle in my eye...

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 27 commentsJay Markanich • March 27 2014 02:42AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay....the finishing touches were thrown together without any thought....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 4 years ago

As per usual Barbara.  Then a few years later...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Those drywall screws hit again.  Good Grief.  HomeDepot must give them away.

Last week, the handyman, Kelly mentioned that, when warm weather came, he could power wash the dirty siding.  I cringed.  I'd rather he took a bucket of warm soapy water and a brush.  The dirty siding is low anyway. 

Of course, he's a man and will, no doubt want to use some "POWER" something.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Never pressure wash siding Lenn.  It will force water underneath and that will sit.  It can contribute to mold, especially depending on the side of the house.

The formula I developed here works great on siding.  Spray it on, let it sit half an hour and hose it off.  No brushing needed.

http://www.jaymarinspect.com/roof-black-algae.html

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Oh, I understand.  I just have to gently explain it to Kelly.  He'll be crushed.  But, he's so looking forward to working the ride-on mower, he'll survive. 

BTW, I don't have any black mold or other serious stuff.  Just dirt that splashed up from hard rains.  It's not as bad as you may think.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Well, you won't get black mold on the siding, just the green stuff.  And that formula works great.  The riding mower can only be fun, though!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

It looks like a smart and enterprising handyman could fix a whole bunch of these for the neighborhood.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

He could Debbie, and would probably elect to pressure wash it all.  Bad decision...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Duct tape the cure all!

Now I may get the ladder out and take mine apart! Oh and I will wait for warmer weather of course.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Maybe you can freeze yours on there with ice cubes, Raymond.  Not likely to melt, this year anyway.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, the cure does depend on the cause Not all solutions fit all problems. Great advce to determine the cause before stating the work.

Posted by Clay R. Seay (Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage) over 4 years ago

How else to proceed Clay?  Some would just get up there with soap and water, or pressure washing!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

With a quick look it seems the screws are rusting. Time to change them to stainless screws. You could acid wash the brick. This works pretty good.

Have a nice day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 4 years ago

I may be in the need or putting some new screws in my own shutters in the near future! Thanks for the great information!

Posted by Frank Harper, Broker/Owner, Realtor, GRI, SFR. (Idaho Family Real Estate) over 4 years ago

As they say, Duct Tape will fix anything!   I was thinking the screws as well when I first seen the picture.  Change the screws and wash off the bricks and repaint the shutters, and you will get a brand new look!  Finding the source is #1 and then you will know how to proceed with the next step!  Great Tips, thanks for sharing!

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Have you ever seen the builders do that on new construction Clint?  They look like they are ready for the moon.

Hope not Frank!  I hope yours stay rust free!

Anytime Graziella.  Stop by again!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay I love CLR. I never would have though to use it on stained brick though.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

I don't know why it wouldn't work Suzanne.  But I have never tried!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, those dry wall screws do have a habit of showing up everywhere! Let's face it, they're too easy to use and everyone's got a box of them around.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 4 years ago

I'm just'a guessin' Tom!  But what else would be the most common thing used?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I agree with the rust coming from anchors and screws. I'm surprised no one went up there and spray painted it which i have seen done by a few Harry Homeowners. I suppose it could be a bunch of stink bugs living back there, but I doubt it. Only way to tell is to remove one of the shutters. Those brick look like they have a white powder/sand finish which could be scrubbed off if someone scrubbed too hard and too much.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 4 years ago

Those stink bugs usually don't congregate Jeff.  At least not in my house!  Those buggers can get everywhere!  And I want to watch the scrubbing!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good evening, Jay. It is hard to clean rust stains from brick. It is one of those cosmetic issues that one has to life with. -- I reckon.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 4 years ago

So, if they all get stained then none are stained Michael?  Problem solved!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, dang!  I was guessing Number 4.  The bats are at it again! 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 4 years ago

ewww.....messy.....and while the house is relatively new...it didn't happen overnight !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 4 years ago

And when they look back there that might be the answer Pat!  But the bats would be exceptionally consistent all over the neighborhood.

It is S&D.  I thought it was a nice house too.  There weren't that many things going on.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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