Having biological growths (i.e., lichens, moss and/or fungi) present on masonry walls is usually an indication that there is excess moisture in or around the masonry. These growths should be removed immediately, as they attract moisture to the masonry surface and hold it there, which can lead to even more serious problems for you. Lichens, molds and mosses in particular produce certain compounds, which can damage and/or discolor your masonry as well.
Removing Moss from your Brickwork
Remove as much of the moss from your masonry as possible using a knife blade and/or stiff-bristled brush before rinsing the surface to remove most of the plant material. If your masonry is sound, use low to medium water pressure; if the masonry is softer, use standard water pressure from the spigot. Allow the water to soak the remaining plant growth for at least 30 minutes before gently scrubbing the surface again with a stiff-bristled brush. Thoroughly rinse the surface again with clean, clear water at low pressure from your garden hose.
Preventing Future Growth
Moss prefers the porous surface of bricks, especially the crevasses between them. Its mere presence is a sign of water in the system, something that will need to be inspected by a chimney professional, as it is vital to the life of your chimney system to determine how the water is getting in. Keeping it from growing on brick requires creating an environment that is inhospitable to its growth via physical, cultural and chemical means. You’ll first need to trim back tree branches and foliage that hang over the bricks to reduce shade. Removing organic matter—leaves and grass clippings—from the bricked area regularly will also help to improve sun exposure and decrease moisture retention.
Stopping Water Penetration and Your Health
Being able to prevent water from entering your chimney system will improve conditions in and out of your home. Water penetration and saturation could cause unwanted smells as well as excess smoking in your chimney. Both of these issues will adversely impact the overall air quality in your home. Some biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions and some types of asthma. Symptoms of health problems caused by these contaminants include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever, and digestive problems. None of these are to be taken lightly.
Understanding how to properly remove the moss and keep it from coming back will help you keep your masonry in pristine condition for many years to come. If you are experiencing moss and/or water intrusion problems with your chimney, our professionals are knowledgeable and qualified to identify the problem. Once we have inspected your chimney and understand the source(s) of your problem, we will give you a detailed plan of action to get your chimney dry and keep the water out for good.