Knowhow-Now Article

Recommended Brick Maintenance Techniques

By Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson

Knowing how to clean and apply the proper brick maintenance techniques can prolong the lifespan of your bricks. Cleaning with the use of certain chemicals can be made on any brick surface, but with the exclusion of certain detergents with harsh ingredients. Some products may stain the brick so it is best to rinse with water after using chemical cleaner.

The best cleaning agent for brick masonry is mild detergent rinsed with low water pressure. The use of plain water is seen as a better method to prevent damaging the surface. However, if high or moderate pressure is to be used, the masonry surface must be appropriately repaired before proceeding.

brick walls are often very beautiful

If the recommended brick maintenance techniques fail to achieve satisfactory results, repainting the bricks in various tones is the next best alternative. In other conditions, however, there are certain techniques to apply relating to the maintenance and cleaning of brick masonry work.

  • Mortar: Properly installed bricks require little, or no maintenance. The color will not virtually fade, and the only repair works needed will be after long years of use. Usually it involves re-pointing of mortar joints, which is comparatively softer than the bricks. Nevertheless, if the right proportion has been used to guard against the elements, re-pointing will not happen in the near future.
  • Efflorescence: Unless the basic cause of water penetration is resolved, staining due to extensive salt otherwise known as efflorescence may persist. This may be due to nearby damp vegetation where water is bound to be absorbed by the bricks. Other sources may need to be overhauled or repaired such as faulty flashing and proof courses, leaking downspouts, or defective copings.
  • Algae, Lichen, and Moss: The presence of water encourages the growth of tiny plants such as those belonging to the algae family. At times, vines and other climbing plants can cling to the brick wall, with their roots adhering and damaging the surface. In such case, consult with the experts on what type of weed killer to use, effective in getting rid of the plants yet will not be harmful to the bricks.
  • Graffiti: Removing graffiti from brickworks can be easily accomplished with a variety of safe products. These materials can be purchased from any local hardware. While they cannot prevent irresponsible graffiti artists in expressing their ideas on your valuable wall, the graffiti remover makes cleaning easier and faster.
  • Rain Splashes: Brickwork usually has rain splashes at the lower level. The use of mild acid cleaner washed down by plain water can remove the stain and restore the matching color with the rest of the bricks. Do not use wire brush as this can cause scratches, which cannot be removed regardless of any vigorous cleaning process.
  • General Staining: Brick staining usually occurs because of salt coming from the brickwork. Incorrect brick maintenance techniques can further cause permanent damage and can render the brickwork unattractive. It is wise to pre-test any cleaning method in a small inconspicuous area to determine its effect before proceeding to tackle the whole surface.

As a rule when using chemicals, soak the brickwork with water making sure not to over saturate. This method prevents the chemicals from being absorbed by the bricks. Again, water is the best agent to rinse traces of chemicals after cleaning. A high-pressure hose is not recommended at this time.

When cleaning with chemicals, use wooden scrapers and brush with stiff fiber to ensure that the bricks are not damaged. Protect adjacent features such as windows, doors, ceilings, and floor by covering them when applying the chemicals. In localized application, cleaning liquids can be introduced as a poultice with filler in the like of powdered chalk or bentonite. Because some of brick maintenance techniques require the use of chemicals, precautionary care must be taken by wearing protective clothing.

Removing graffiti from brickworks can be easily done with a variety of safe products. These can be bought from any local hardware store.

graffiti can really ruin a wall's look

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