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Why do Bricks Turn Black?

Have you got black stains on your Brick?

Brick and stone buildings are the hallmark of towns and cities. Their striking beauty pre-dates our modern-day skyscrapers, providing a sense of pride for employees and residents alike to marvel at the wonders of our forefathers.

However, black stains on bricks that can be seen on a building’s exterior, regardless of if it’s recently been constructed or a landmark to a previous time, are an unpleasant sight for property managers. 

In our latest blog, we’re going to share some of the most common black stains that can be found on the exterior of brick and stone facades and the best practices to effectively remove these stains. 

Lichen black stains on brick

It’s common for property managers to find one side of their building is damper than the other side, typically the side that receives the least sunlight, but can also be in locations near drainage pipes. These damp conditions provide a fertile breeding ground for black spot growth stains – otherwise known as lichen.

Lichen breed within the porous, uneven brick surface. If left untreated, the lichen will continue to grow, which not only becomes harder to remove but will also cause damage to the wall by loosening mortar and brickwork, all of which will eventually result in costly repairs.

Carbon black stains on bricks

If you look around any major town or city, you’re likely to find black stains on the brick exterior of old buildings, monuments, and statues. These black stains, which will vary in dark/light shade of colour, will be carbon stains.

This is caused by decades of carbon emissions from factories and industrial plants, filling the air with invisible particles which end up on our brickwork. Rainwater does help to wash away the carbon particles, but the build-up over time will create black crust like stains, which if left untreated, will lead to erosion and staining. 

Pollution black stains on bricks

Black, oily type stains on bricks, especially on the lower levels of an exterior, could be caused by vehicle pollution. If your building is on a busy road, at a junction, or nearby any construction work for example, the emissions from the petrol fumes will cause discolouration or a darkening of the brickwork. 

Unwanted paint stains on bricks

Black paint stains on bricks are likely to be the work of graffiti artists, though of course if you’ve had recent work done to the roof or exterior of the property, then it could be tar stains or such like. Either way, these black stains need to be treated immediately to avoid damage to brickwork and your company’s reputation. 

Why Do You Need to Clean These Stains?

Black stains, if left untreated, can cause long-term damage and result in costly repairs to your building's exterior. Lichen, carbon, and pollution stains will cause damage to the exterior by loosening mortar, eroding brickwork, and causing long-term stains. 

Bricks are a porous substrate that emits evaporation. The black stains we have discussed in this blog can block the pores and reduce the breathability of the stone. Therefore, the stains cause deterioration in the brickwork, leading to cracks, crumbling, and long-term damage. 

How to Remove Carbon Stains from Brick 

Spectrum’s pioneering brick cleaning and rope access service allows us to restore brickwork to its former glory up to 8 floors from the ground.

We are an experienced contractor who know how to clean the brickwork without causing further damage. For example, we strongly advise against using pressure washers, as the pressure can sometimes to lead bricks splitting the surface and eroding the top layer of the brick. This can also lead to more water penetrating the brickwork, which will expand during the winter months, causing further cracks. 

That’s why it is always best to go for a professional brick cleaning service like ours here at Spectrum. In addition, much of the cleaning work takes place at height, and our specially trained team can operate using access equipment to give them the best possible cleaning position on any building.

We advise for a regular brick cleaning service to be undertaken on your property’s exterior. This is especially recommended for old buildings to remove the first signs of black spots on bricks, caused by lichen or carbon pollution. Property managers should also contract a professional brick cleaning service to tidy up the brickwork after renovation works, as the brick is likely to be scuffed, marked, or stained with cement for example. 

Spectrum’s Stone Cleaning Service

At Spectrum, we understand how important it is to keep your statues clean and preserve their pristine glory. 

Our DOFF cleaning process heats steam to 150 degrees Celsius which is an incredibly effective temperature to remove stains, discolouration, organic matter (such as algae) and paint/graffiti. The DOFF cleaning system can easily be transported to different locations, creating a quick and efficient stain removal service.

Our highly experienced team are experts in stone cleaning and masonry repairs, and we pride ourselves on our in-depth approach and scaffold-free cleaning. We provide our customers with a bespoke and fully flexible professional stone cleaning service, so if you are looking to transform your property, get in touch with our team today.

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Back to Blog Posts

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Can We Help With Your Specialist Building Cleaning and Restoration Needs?

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