Mortar crumbling, yellowing and turning to dust


Old 12-07-15, 07:48 AM
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Mortar crumbling, yellowing and turning to dust


Our house was built in 2007 and within the past week or so I noticed mortar yellowing, crumbling and dusting out of some of the brick deck pillars. I verified the pillars are filled with cement by viewing from the top. The pillars are built at the top of a slope, so I would think drainage is decent but the mildew or mold on the bottom of the columns says otherwise. The mortar on the house seems okay.

What's the best route forward? Should we clean and seal the brick and call it a day? Are there any structural issues we need to worry about?

Pillar with mold/mildew at bottom:
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Close up of crumbling mortar on deck pillar:
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Close up of house (not the pillar) with intact mortar:
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Old 12-07-15, 09:08 AM
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We have a couple concrete and masonry pros that will hopefully spot your post and give a more informed answer.

I don't clearly see crumbling mortar in the photos. Is is mortar that got on the face of the bricks or blobs protruding from the joint or if you scrape it with a nail or screwdriver can you easily dig out the mortar?

If the mortar is indeed bad I assume something was wrong with the mortar from the beginning. Either they used old partially cured mortar or contaminated sand or water. Since I assume it's a problem with the mortar itself I don't know of anything you can do to increase it's strength or really protect it. A sealer might superficially help but trying but water could come at it from the bricks or inside the column.
Old 12-07-15, 09:21 AM
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If you scrape the yellowed mortar on the pillar it easily comes off. I first noticed white powder at the base of a few of the pillars and then went up from there. The yellow discoloration is new.

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