January 1, 1970

Debby Allmon, a certified remodeler and vice president of Schloegel Design Remodel, was recently featured in the Kansas City Star‘s Handy Man section.


Debby addresses a question submitted by a reader concerning a moisture issue. Here’s what the reader had to say:

I have a problem with some unsightly brickwork on the front of my house. It is on a front porch area with soil behind the brick. In the past, someone applied a white sealer to the mortar. In a year’s time, the white sealer seems to have come out of the mortar and dissolved on the bricks. It appears as though some fungus might have loosened the painted mortar. Could this be moisture forcing its way through the mortar? The mortar seems to be deteriorating.

Debby diagnosed the issue as “efflorescence,” which is when a while stain appears on masonry due to moisture getting into the sealer and breaking it down. Here’s what she suggested:

Typically, the best removal method would be with a dry brush. Rinsing with water or hand-washing with a mild detergent and a stiff-bristle brush may also be effective. Some people just let the natural weathering process do the work.

Though, Debby adds, there are a few more steps you can take to ensure your problem is taken care of. Read the rest of the article on the Star to find out what you can do.