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Question DetailsAsked on 6/22/2014

can currant sealer be removed from brick?

Currant sealant was applied to front of my house's dark red brick. It now looks like there's a white film on the brick. Can this be removed?

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1 Answer


Don't know what currant sealer is - sorry. But assume some sort of silicone or oil based sealer ?

Now the bad news - for most bricks, exterior surfaces should NOT be sealed, because that seals in moisture (which always finds a way in) and softens the brick and mortar, and promotes frost damage in the winter. What you are probably seeing is either sun damsge to the sealer (turns sealer white) or efflorescence - lime being transported to the brick surface by the moisture escaping from the bricks.

Try a spot - if easily removed with straight kitchen vinegar on a rag (white preferred to prevent staining) then is lime leaching to the surface - usually a sign the moisture is getting trapped in the brick and excess moisture there.

If does not wipe off and looks like building up on the brick under the sealer, that is an indication that moisture is trying to escape from the brick but is getting trapped under the sealer - bad for the brick and mortar, and bad for the wall as moisture levels will rise in the entire wall.

There are cleaners out there to remove lime/conrete staining from concrete landscape blocks and brick and such - will take it off (brush on, scrub, and wash off product), but bear in mind they also remove some of the mortar at the same time, because the lime that makes up the primary bonding agent inthe mortar is what is leaching out - so not such a great idea to use.

If lime and water vapor is getting trapped by the sealer - I don't want to be the one to tell you it should be removed, but that would be the judgement by a professional engineer or architect or long-time experienced brick mason. Some sealers can be taken off with a checmical remover that does not significantly hurt the mortar, some require sandblasting.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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