How Does Brick Get Stained?

Written by katie duzan
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How Does Brick Get Stained?

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Water Damage

Brick absorbs water. If brick stands in water or in an area where moisture is constantly present, it will eventually discolour. Wet soil also leaches into brick, causing discolouration in the areas where the water touched it. Even seasonal moisture can cause brick discolouration if there is not adequate drainage or drying time.

Major Catastrophes

Catastrophes often cause discoloured brick. Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or storms create weather conditions that lead to brick issues. Since standing water alters brick colour, it is common after floods or storms to have brick discolouration where standing water or moisture seepage on bricks occurred. When major floods occur, floodwaters pick up other liquids and those seep into brick, causing different discolourations. Strong winds can fling around objects, slamming them into brick walls. If winds pick up containers that explode onto walls, permanent discolouration of bricks by whatever liquid they contained occurs. Any rusted metal left against brick after a storm will cause rust discolouration.

Smoke Stains

Fires cause extensive brick discolouration. While fire does not destroy brick itself, the smoke from the fire discolours the brick. Bricks hit by the direct flow of smoke are more affected than those indirectly hit. Standing smoke also causes damage inside homes, so interior bricks up high are usually more stained than those down low since smoke rises.

Home Maintenance Damage

Pressure washing can get rid of mould, mildew and caked-on dirt. However, it can also wash colour out of brick. If the pressure is set too high, the brick can be faded from the water pressure. The closer the pressure washer is to the brick, the stronger the force of the water and the more likely for brick discolouration occurrence. Muriatic or hydrochloric acid, which some homeowners use to clean their brick, causes brick discolouration. Sandblasting also causes damage to brick, making it more likely to be affected by water and therefore become discoloured.

Graffiti and Pranks

Graffiti and paint stains brick. Paintballing houses is a teenage prank that can permanently damage a home by discolouring the brick. Removal of these paints is difficult, since paint removal techniques also fade and discolour brick. Even non-permanent paint causes damage if the only means to remove it causes discolouration. Any type of paint causes brick discolouration if not removed quickly and completely.


Rust discolouration is a common problem when metal directly touches brick. Rust causes permanent stains on brick. Removal of rust from bricks usually causes fading and discolouration of the affected bricks.

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