As the brick surfaces of businesses and homes patina over time, they take on more character and charm. And that is one of the big benefits of brick – timeless appeal paired with low maintenance. It pretty much lasts forever.
While we firmly believe you should do as little to it as possible, we understand there are some circumstances which call for brick surfaces to be cleaned. Cleaning brick can actually damage it, so in this article we’ll discuss how to properly clean it.
Beware of the pressure washer
Before we talk about anything else, let’s start with pressure washing. Your house is not a driveway! Many people see the results of a crisp white cement and think they should hire a pressure washer to get their home or business exterior squeaky clean that way too. Squeaky damaged is more like it.
“How to pressure wash brick” is a commonly searched phrase on Google. But we promise you, it’s a bad idea. It’s bad for the face of brick. It’s bad for the mortar. It causes cracks and the cost of replacing blasted out chunks of mortar (a.k.a. repointing) can be much more expensive than the pressure washing itself.
Additionally, the pressure drives water into the grout and behind the wall. You could potentially shoot water into the wall cavities, insulation and wiring and once it’s there, it can’t dry out. Of course, if you’re painting your brick, you don’t want to paint over moisture either.
Are you still unconvinced? If you really must use a pressure washer, do it gently. The pressure at its highest should be similar to the pressure coming from your garden hose (100 to 400 psi), and it should be done from at least 12 inches from the wall.
In reality, a water hose is the strongest flow needed for your brick home.
Brush your house
But, in most cases, a water hose isn’t even necessary. Remember, a patina on the brick builds character and charm. At the most, we typically recommend clients just brush off loose debris.
Simply take a rag or broom and wipe down or brush down the wall. Yes, it really is that simple!
Cleaning newly installed brick
For newly installed brick, make sure to clean within 24 hours to seven days of the mortar hardening. It’s always best to follow the brick manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedure. If no recommendations are available, choose the gentlest effective cleaning method. And never allow brick cleaning solution to dry on brickwork. For detailed instructions on cleaning brickwork and brick pavement, download Brick Industry Association’s Technical Notes on Cleaning Brickwork.
And remember, brick only improves with age and weathering. It is easy to maintain and it grows more beautiful as time goes on. Like a fine wine, brick gets better with age.
If you’re looking for an endless selection of brick products in a variety of color and textures for your project, find a Meridian Brick dealer near you today.