Posted on: 21.10.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Drywall is a relatively cheap building material that is ideal for creating walls and ceilings or separating rooms in residential and commercial buildings. It also provides an excellent painting surface to give your interior color and texture. Unfortunately, drywall discolors over time and takes on an unpleasant brown hue.

Here are 8 reasons why drywall walls turn brown over time:

  1. Moisture from the outside penetrates the drywall.
  2. Fluctuations in air temperature.
  3. This can be caused by condensation.
  4. Exposure to dirt, dust, and air pollution.
  5. A combination of dust, dirt, mold, and moisture.
  6. Surfactant leaching.
  7. Excessive sunlight exposure.
  8. Poor cleaning habits.

This article will explore each of the reasons mentioned above in more detail. Stay here to find out why your drywall may have discolored and what you can do about it.

1. Moisture from the outside penetrates the drywall

Moisture can do quite a bit of damage to your home. It also darkens your drywall, and prolonged exposure can dramatically change the appearance of the drywall. Worse yet, a damp environment can trigger the growth of mold and mildew, causing the drywall to develop unsightly brown, gray, black, or green spots.

Improperly installed HVAC units and lack of proper insulation, plumbing, and ventilation are the typical causes of this problem. This is because these elements can allow moisture from the outside to penetrate your home. Moisture can also be caused by flooding or leaking water that seeps into the drywall material.

The result is a significant deterioration of the floors, walls, and ceilings that may require replacing the drywall walls in the affected areas. Even if the walls or ceiling eventually dry out, the unsightly yellow-brown stains will remain, ruining the appearance of your home.

In addition to discolored walls, the accumulated moisture can also warp the drywall, causing cracks, crumbles, and generally compromising the structural integrity of your home. Mold can lead to health problems or worsen existing allergies, especially in people with sensitivities. That is why it is crucial to fix any leaks before repairing your drywall.

Once you notice brown stains on your walls or ceilings, carefully examine the areas around the stains for roof damage or pipe leaks. If the stains appear fuzzy, then you have a mold problem. Identifying the root cause of the problem is key to resolving it.

Once you have identified the source of moisture, you can address the problem by consulting a professional. While a mixture of bleach and water can help remove the brown stains from your drywall, you need a long-term solution to prevent it from recurring.

That is why it is also best to perform regular maintenance and repairs, including cleaning air vents and repairing leaky pipes and insulation. This helps to stop further discoloration. It is also a good idea to consider using a dehumidifier in the affected rooms.

Here is a video demonstrating how to repair water-damaged drywall:

2. Fluctuations in air temperature

Your efforts to stay cool can also contribute to your drywall losing its color. This is because air circulates during temperature fluctuations. As the air moves around the rooms in your home, it picks up dirt, dust, and other particles that eventually settle on your drywall, which in turn can cause your drywall to discolor.

3. This can be caused by condensation

In winter, condensation can cause large patches on your drywall. Indoor air contains moisture (humidity), and when that air comes into contact with a significantly colder surface (such as your wall or ceiling), condensation occurs, and the air becomes liquid. This provides a good breeding ground for mold, which is why you see brown stains.

4. Exposure to dirt, dust, and air pollution

Contact with dirt, dust, air pollution, and other dry particles or compounds like organic material, tobacco, wood, or candle smoke can discolor your drywall. These particles accumulate on your walls, causing some areas to change color. If your walls are constantly exposed to dust and dirt particles, there is a good chance they will change color and appear brown and “dirty” over time.

5. A combination of dust, dirt, mold, and moisture

Sometimes, the browning of your drywall may result from a combination of various factors. These may include moist walls, swirling dust and dirt particles, soot, and even mold. The gradual buildup of these components can accelerate or exacerbate the situation as the small particles easily cling to the moist areas of your drywall.

Builders and painters use the term “ghosting” to explain this phenomenon of dark streaks or brown spots on walls and ceilings. Light-colored walls tend to make the discoloration more noticeable.

Fortunately, regular wall cleaning and keeping as much dust and dirt away as possible can help prevent such discoloration on your drywall. A good paint job can also cover up the discolored areas, although this may not be a long-term solution.

6. Surfactant leaching

Surfactants are water-soluble ingredients present in latex paints. Surfactant leaching occurs when you paint your walls with these latex paints. Over time, the surfactants migrate to the surface, resulting in brown streaks, spots, or residues on the painted surfaces. The residues can appear sticky, glossy, discolored, or soapy.

The unsightly discoloration occurs when newly applied latex paint is exposed to high humidity or moisture during the curing process. It mostly occurs in moist areas such as bathrooms or on walls and ceilings. Painting your walls with high-quality latex paint designed for optimum performance in humid indoor environments can help reduce surfactant leaching.

7. Excessive sunlight exposure

Excessive and constant exposure to sunlight can cause the original color on your drywall to fade, making it look duller or darker. This is especially true in regions with ample sunlight. In combination with environmental pollution, fading can cause a visible change in the appearance of your drywall.

The type of latex paint used on your walls plays a significant role in determining the extent to which this occurs. Higher gloss options have more latex, acting as an adhesive that forms a protective layer over the paint, drastically minimizing fading by reflecting the sunlight. It is advisable, therefore, to use such paints on your drywall.

8. Poor cleaning habits

While regular cleaning can keep your walls looking bright and glossy, improper cleaning methods can contribute to your drywall turning brown. This is because they can lead to more particles that could cause discoloration.

For example, using a damp cloth on your drywall can contaminate the surface with dust, dirt, grime, pollutants, or residue from the cloth. To reduce the risk, you should clean your drywall properly. If you are unsure how to care for them, consult your builder during the construction process and always ensure your drywall is dry after cleaning.


  • All American Painting Plus: Why Is Your Drywall Discolored?
  • YouTube: How to Repair Water Damaged Drywall?
  • West Coast Fire and Water: What You Should Know About Water Damage and Mold Growth in Drywall
  • Home.Howstuffworks: How Drywall Works
  • Benjamin Moore: Surfactant Leaching
  • Homesteady: How to Repair Crumbling Drywall Due to Moisture
  • Can Mold Cause Health Problems?
  • Home-Partners: Ghosting On Interior Walls
  • Dulux: Color Fading
  • Hallmark and Johnson: How Condensation Can Cause Drywall Stains in Your Home

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