Over time, the appearance or brickwork can deteriorate - and to this end, cleaning may be required. When you are cleaning brickwork, it's important to use the correct equipment and products. Failure to do so can result in permanent damage to brickwork and possible brick replacements. Here are a few tips for cleaning brickwork correctly:
- Before you commence with the cleaning of brickwork, ensure that all areas that are likely to come into contact with cleaning agents are protected - refer to the manufacturer guidelines for more information.
- It is recommended that any areas of brickwork to be cleaned are saturated in water prior to the commencement of cleaning.
- If you are using Hydrochloric acid - also ensure that you are using the correct ratio to water. The recommended ratios are: for lighter coloured bricks - 1 part hydrochloric acid to 20 parts water and for darker coloured bricks - 1 part hydrochloric acid to 10 parts water. Note: Do not use concentrations of more than 1 part hydrochloric acid to 10 parts of water - more intensive scrubbing is preferential to the damage that higher concentrations can have on brickwork.
- When cleaning brickwork, it's recommended that you work in direct sunlight - this enables you to see the area more clearly.
- Always start at the highest point of the wall, and work downwards. It's a good idea to test a small section of the wall, before commencing with the cleaning of the rest.
- Try to concentrate on cleaning small areas of brickwork at a time - i.e. a square metre. This will ensure that you have ample time to rinse the cleaning agent as you go along.
- It's advisable to let the solution sit on the wall for around 5 minutes before you start scrubbing - also, take care not to scrub the joints surrounding the bricks.
- Always rinse away any products from the brickwork thoroughly - if you are unsure, rinse for a second time. It is recommended that lighter bricks are rinsed using bicarbonate soda, washing soda or another neutralising solution, rather than water.
- If you are using pressure washing equipment, ensure that the pressure is kept relatively low i.e. around 1000-1200psi. A wide fan spray nozzle (15?) is recommended for brickwork cleaning and the nozzle should be kept approximately 500mm away from the wall, to avoid damage.
Important note: when you are cleaning brickwork all of the recommended safety procedures should be followed. Gloves and safety glasses are essential precautions and you should avoid product contact with the skin. Always refer to the products guidelines if you are unsure.