Brick Cleaning and Sealing

Brick is one of the most durable and low maintenance materials used for building construction. However, it does require periodic cleaning to remove built up dirt and restore its natural beauty. There are a variety of techniques and compounds used to clean bricks. The brick cleaning method that works best will depend on the type of brick and the cause of the discoloration. Advances in materials science and masonry manufacturing have brought about brickwork with new colors and textures. Many of these include the addition of metal alloys that may require special cleaning solutions and brick sealant. Improper brickwork cleaning of any kind may lead to staining, leave residue and, in some cases, damage the bricks. Brick cleaners should always be tested on a test panel or in a discreet location prior to applying them to the entire surface.

Cleaning Stains

Spaying the exterior of your home with a garden hose will remove loose dirt from the bricks and provide a fresh appearance. In areas where there is little sunlight and substantial moisture, moss, algae and mildew stains may be a problem. Pressure washing will usually remove the green or black discoloration they leave behind

The pressure should always be kept below 3000 psi to prevent damaging the bricks. Many stubborn stains can be removed by scrubbing with a 10 percent chlorine bleach and water solution. When scrubbing brick, use brushes with synthetic bristles rather than wire to prevent leaving metal remnants that can rust and stain the bricks. Stains resulting from mineral deposits or an unknown source may require specialized cleansers.

Removing Paint

In the event you’re trying to remove paint from graffiti, paint thinners are usually effective. However, caution is advised since some products may contain chemicals that will damage the brick as well as adversely affect your health.  If you’re attempting a much more extensive project, such as restoring brick that has been painted over on an older home, there are a number of pastes and gels available to help loosen the paint, but most of the work will entail scraping it by hand. Previously, sand blasting and muriatic acid were commonly used to remove paint and other substances from brick. These methods can cause serious damage to brick and are highly discouraged.

Precautions

All brick cleaning compounds contain substances that are a safety hazard. Always wear protective equipment, including eyewear, gloves and protective clothing, when handling chemicals. Before applying cleansers, pre-wet bricks to ensure the cleaners stay on the surface. When rinsing, avoid using a high pressure wash above 50 psi to prevent forcing the cleanser into the brick. It’s important to rinse the bricks thoroughly. Residual cleanser can attract dirt and cause staining. Brickwork should not be cleaned in extremely high or low temperatures. At elevated temperatures, the surface temperature of the brick will cause the cleaner to dry on the surface. When temperatures fall below freezing, the mortar may be in danger of fracturing due to the freezing of invasive water retained from the wash.

Preserving brickwork is just as important as keeping it clean. There are a variety of masonry sealants on the market to choose from, but we have a very effective and high quality masonry sealant available for purchase online or in-home application.

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