Struggling with a Dirty Brick Wall? Here’s How to Clean Brick Surfaces
A dirty brick wall or walkway is an eyesore. Clean and brighten any brick surface. Here is how to safely renew brick walls and walkways.
Bricks date back to 7000 BC and has been used ever since as a building material.
From ancient Egypt to the Aztec of the 15th century, bricks have been a popular choice for building. The process of brickmaking has evolved over the centuries, but our preference for this sturdy, easy-to-make material has never waned.
Now, in America, many homes are made of brick. A brick walkway is considered to have a quaint but upscale appeal. Combine the two and you have a bit of classic Americana.
The downside is the upkeep. No one wants to look at a dirty brick wall or walkway. An accumulation of dirt and grime can turn a majestic home into a dingy one.
Cleaning dirt out from the grooves of a brick wall or walkway isn’t the easiest process either. Depending upon the amount of buildup that has collected over the years, it can be a difficult job.
If your brick wall or walkway is an eyesore and you want to find out ways to clean it, keep reading. In this article, we’ll go over the various ways you can accomplish a clean surface and make your brick wall or walkway look years newer.
How to Clean a Dirty Brick Wall or Walkway
If you have a brick wall or walkway, odds are it has accumulated a bit of discoloration or staining over the years. The grooves between each brick have a penchant for attracting dirt buildup and other debris.
There are two ways to clean brick: by hand or by using a power washer. Both ways have pros and cons. Let’s dive into each method and what the advantages and drawbacks are to each.
First, throw buckets of hot water onto the brick. This will clean away loose dirt on the surface.
Next, mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of water in a bucket. After putting on gloves, use a stiff brush to scrub the brick with the solution you made. Don’t use a wire brush, though, as this can leave behind rust stains.
While scrubbing, make sure to start at the top and work your way down. Otherwise, you’ll have dirt and grime dripping onto an area you’ve already cleaned.
Be sure to scrub in circular motions. This helps to work the solution deep into the bricks.
Fill a bucket with hot water once more and splash it onto the brick to rinse away the bleach solution. You’ll want to rinse away the solution in sections after cleaning to avoid the brick absorbing the bleach. If bleach is left on brick for too long it can lighten the color.
Once you’re time with the first clean-through, identify any problem spots and re-scrub that area. Then rinse once more.
Avoid cleaning the brick on a hot summer day. Evaporation will be your enemy and allow the bleach to absorb and dry on the brick much faster. If this happens, there’ll be no reversing the bleaching effect on the brick.
Strengths: This method is more meticulous and will allow you to tackle problem spots easier. There will also be less chance of damaging the brick or mortar.
Drawbacks: Cleaning by hand takes a lot more time and effort. Depending on the size of your home and personal factors like your health, expect this project to take between several hours to several days.
A power washer uses a high-velocity spray of water to remove grime. It effectively blasts away stains.
First, about a week before you plan to power wash, patch any holes or cracks in the mortar of your bricks. This is to keep water from trickling behind the brick and causing a disaster, like mold growing in your walls. You’ll need to give the mortar seven days to harden before you power wash it.
The next step is to soak the bricks. To make sure all the bricks are thoroughly soaked, spray water starting at the bottom and working your way up. This method will ensure the entire surface is wet down without uneven streams forming.
Once you’ve soaked your brick wall or walkway with water, use the power washer to start spraying a detergent solution. Once again, spray from the bottom and work your way up. Make sure to use a detergent meant for use on bricks.
Give the solution between 5 and 10 minutes to eat away at the grime and stains. The detergent solution does as much heavy-lifting as the high-pressure spray of the power washer.
If you have identified any areas that look like problem spots with tough stains, feel free to use a rotary scrub brush. This will help work the detergent deep into the pores of the brick and remove tough stains.
Once you’re done using detergent and scrubbing, rinse it all away with clean water. You’ll want to use a delicate spray pattern to avoid using too much pressure that might damage the brick or mortar. This time, while rinsing, start from the top and work your way down to the bottom to remove all the detergent residue.
After the brick wall or walkway is dry, consider using a sealant. This will extend how long your bricks stay clean. Once dried, you’ll never even know the sealant is on there.
Strengths: A power washer can clean large surfaces fast and efficiently.
Drawbacks: The forceful blast of water risks the chance of damaging old mortar, can break windows, or destroy gardens. Make sure to hire a professional to avoid any of these disasters.
A Clean Brick Wall Is Timeless
Brick walls and walkways are a timeless and classic fixture in American architecture.
After a few years, the beauty of a brick wall tends to get tarnished by a buildup of dirt, grime, moss, and more. If your brick wall or walkway is looking less than perfect, consider hiring a professional service that uses pressure washing.
Transform your dirty brick wall through the services of Pei Contracting.
We use a wide variety of pressure equipment to make your brick wall or walkway look like brand new.
If you live in the southern Oregon area, contact us today at Pei Contracting to revitalize your dirty brick wall or walkway.