Easy strategies for cleaning the brick exteriors of your home
Preparing to clean your home’s exteriorBefore you start cleaning your home’s exterior, make sure you protect the surrounding surfaces from flying debris and cleaning solutions. Protecting surrounding areas is important because brick-cleaning solutions, solvents, and acids can harm plants and react with non-brick surfaces on windows and doors. Cover any trees, flowers, and other nearby landscaping with a plastic tarp. Apply painter’s tape to your windows and door trim to prevent contact with harsh solutions.
You might want to take the opportunity to check for water damage to see if you need to do some repointing, which involves replacing damaged mortar at the joints. Additionally, if you’re removing stubborn stains like paint, oil, chalk, cement, calcium carbonate, and rust, you might want to leave it to a professional who has experience working with the right chemical solutions for these types of stains.
What you’ll needFor an effective clean you’ll need a garden hose with a spray nozzle or a pressure washer. Ensure the pressure washer has a pressure level suitable for washing bricks without causing damage. If you’re using a cleaning solution, make sure you find a product that’s appropriate for your brick type. You might also need a soft synthetic-bristle brush and a bucket for mixing your solution. Avoid using wire-bristled brushes as these tend to leave rust stains.
Understanding different brick surfacesCheck what type or style so you can choose the right cleaning solution. Different brick types require different cleaning methods. Ask your local hardware store for advice on the different types of available cleaning solutions.
Dealing with mould, mildew, and mossMould, mildew, and moss can accumulate on walls receiving little sunlight, and these look like little green or black patches on your walls. You can use a plastic (never metallic) spatula to scrape off the mould, mildew, or moss before rinsing thoroughly. For stubborn spots, first test before applying a mixture of one cup of chlorine bleach with four litres of water, using a soft synthetic-bristle brush to remove the patches.
Make sure you saturate the area with water before applying the solution as this will help prevent the brick from absorbing the solution. Remember to protect yourself with safety goggles and gloves, and always rinse walls thoroughly after applying the solution.
Steps to take
Follow these five key steps for a proper, thorough clean, and consider cleaning at least once a year.
1. Hose with water
Always start with the gentlest approach by using a garden hose with a spray nozzle to remove loose dirt. Avoid using a high-pressure nozzle or pressure washer if you have damaged or crumbling bricks. If hosing with water doesn’t achieve the level of cleaning your bricks need, proceed to work through the following steps.
2. Test cleaning agent
Bricks are porous and has the potential to react differently to cleaning agents. To avoid cleaning agents damaging your bricks, test your chosen product on a small area before proceeding with cleaning.
3. Saturate with water and prevent streaking
The next step is to saturate the area to be cleaned with water as this helps you achieve the best outcome when applying the cleaning solution. Make sure the areas directly below where you are cleaning are also saturated. This will help you avoid unsightly streaks.
4. Apply solution
Apply your preferred brick cleaning solution to the saturated area. You can scrub, power wash, or hose down the area according to the solution manufacturer’s instructions.
Give the area a thorough rinse after you apply the solution, using plenty of water to remove all residue from your walls. Always work from the top to the bottom to avoid streaks and an uneven look after drying.
Getting a great result with your clean
Bricks are highly durable and low maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to give them a clean now and then. While you can have a professional clean your bricks, it’s a simple enough DIY job you can easily do yourself. By making a small effort to maintain your brick exterior, you’ll keep your outside walls looking clean and well maintained, boosting the appeal and ambience of your property.