The only thing worse aesthetically than a dirty brick-and-mortar house is when the brick crumbles, breaks, chips, or becomes discolored due to improper washing. If you have a brick exterior on your home, understanding how to properly clean exterior brick walls is vital to your brick walls keeping their rich appeal.
So, can you pressure wash a brick house? Our brick-and-mortar cleaning experts at Blue Wave Pressure Washing, believe every homeowner should have simple solutions to retaining the beauty of their brick home. We are sharing how, with occasional maintenance and the proper cleaning solution, your brick home can be restored back to its former glory.
Improper Cleaning Can Cause Expensive Damage to Brick Walls
Brick is a strong and durable surface that has the bonus of adding charm and character to a home. The only problem is that when a home’s exterior is made of brick, it can accumulate unsightly mortar stains and has a tendency to grow mold, mildew, and moss on the brick surface when it’s not exposed to regular sunlight.
If you want to keep your home’s brick exterior or other exterior surfaces made of brick clean, it’s important not to make the mistake of using too much pressure from power washing. It may seem like a high-pressure power wash to your home would get rid of the stubborn dirt buildup in mortar joints and on the brick’s surface. While it’s true that cleaning bricks will get rid of some of the dirt and residue stains, using too much pressure will only cause expensive problems.
Some of the things that happen to brick when cleaning is improperly done are:
- Chips or cracks in the brick’s surface.
- Discoloration and streaking of the bricks.
- Loose or missing mortar joints.
- Crumbling or flaking due to deterioration of the brick.
If you use the excessive power of a pressure washer or if you use harsh chemicals like muriatic acid to clean brick, it can cause costly damage to the beautiful brick surfaces of your house.
Do Brick Houses Need to be Washed?
Brick homes can still be washed, just make sure that anyone performing exterior brick cleaning on your home uses the method of soft washing and uses cleaning solvents that are safe for brick cleaning.
Does Pressure Washing Damage Brick Walls?
A high-pressure power wash is appropriate for vinyl siding homes. If your house is made of brick or has a brick surface make sure low-pressure cleaning methods that are less harsh on the brick are used. You may use a spray bottle, a bucket with a sponge, and a low-pressure power wash for safe, soft washing.
How Blue Wave Cleans Brick Homes
While it’s possible to DIY your home brick cleaning, it’s best to have experts in residential exterior home washing transform your dirty brick wall into a house exterior your neighbors won’t stop talking about.
When you have the professionals at Blue Wave come to your Raleigh, NC, or surrounding area home, we come prepared with all the tools and materials needed for properly cleaning brick.
Let’s go through the process to clean brick walls, walkways, or other brick surfaces.
STEP #1: Inspect the Brick and Mortar for Imperfections
At least a week prior to cleaning the brick, it should be inspected for imperfections like cracks, missing mortar joints, chips, or the growth of mildew, moss, or other substances. Inspecting the exterior brick walls of your house allows time for any patches or repairs that need to be made to dry for up to 7 days before washing.
STEP #2: Check the Weather Forecast
The best outdoor conditions for cleaning brick are when the temperature is above 50 degrees and it’s overcast and cloudy outside. This is to prevent streaking and residue stains that can happen if the weather is too hot and the brick dries too quickly.
STEP #3: Prep the Brick and Surrounding Area
Using a tarp or cloth, cover the surrounding glass, metal, and wood surfaces. If you have any lighting fixtures, plants, windows, or other nearby surfaces or objects.
STEP #4: Wet the Brick
Using your garden hose, the brick is sprayed down thoroughly, ensuring you are not using a high-pressure attachment that could damage the mortar joints or brick surface.
STEP #5: Apply high-quality Detergent
At Blue Wave, we take our social responsibility to the environment seriously. Therefore, we never use muriatic acid or another industrial-strength solvent that is harmful to the Earth when soft washing our clients’ brick homes.
Although some people will still refer to cleaning brick as “acid washing,” the industry standard in brick house cleaning has moved away from harsh chemicals in favor of an eco-friendly brick-cleaning solution mixed with warm water to safely and responsibly clean brick.
If you are cleaning brick at home and mixing your own solution, regular dish soap, vinegar, or chlorine bleach is a better alternative. It’s important to protect your skin from bleach or other chemicals, so be sure to wear rubber gloves and safety glasses before working with any chemical solutions.
In order to apply the detergent and water mixture, use a sponge to thoroughly cover the bricks with the solution, without applying too much pressure to the materials themselves.
STEP #6: Soft Brush Tough Stains Away
Using a soft brush, gently scrub away any dirt, grime, mildew, or other residues off of the brick-and-mortar surface and joints. Use only a natural or nylon bristle brush, avoiding a wire brush that could scratch the brick or leave behind metal bits that will rust or stain the bricks.
Additionally, never use a power tool to wash brick, you will strip the surface of the brick, exposing years’ worth of potentially different colored brick underneath or completely cracking or breaking the brick surface altogether.
STEP #7: Rinse the Brick at the Correct PSI Soft Wash Setting
After doing all that hard work, it’s essential not to make it all go out the window on the final brick cleaning step. Using a hose or low-pressure washer, rinse the cleaning solution and leftover debris off of the brick and mortar.
High-pressure washer settings will lead to loose and decaying bricks, so make sure your power washer is set to a low pounds per square inch (PSI) setting. The correct low-pressure, soft-washing PSI setting is between 500-2000. It’s always better to start low and adjust the pressure as needed.
Make Your Old Brick Look New Again with Blue Wave Pressure Washing
Blue Wave is your source of professional brick-and-mortar cleaning services in Raleigh and the entire Triangle region of North Carolina.
Our expert brick cleaning contractors will safely and competently give your brick home a professional soft washing to restore it to the charming home you love. Don’t make the mistake of using chemicals that are bad for the environment, harsh tools like wire brushes, or high-pressure washers to clean your brick exterior.