If you have bricks around your home or business, you know how much they add to the appearance of the property. But part of keeping up the area is making sure the bricks look nice and are in the best shape possible. While bricks are durable and long lasting, there may come at time when you have to replace some of them, clean them, or re-point them. Here are some tips if you run into any of those needs.
1. Brick replacement
Bricks are highly durable and sturdy, but since they are often outside, they are exposed to the elements constantly. It is always possible that one or more of them will break or crack. And you need to replace that brick to prevent moisture from getting into the wall. Brick replacement is relatively simple and can be done with a few specialty tools by any semi-handy homeowner. The cost of these tools is less than hiring someone to do it for you. You may be able to remove the brick and turn it so that the other side is facing out. If that side is damaged as well, you will have to look for a replacement that is comparable in size and style. If you buy a new brick, be sure to soak it in water for an hour before you install it. You will remove the old brick by drilling holes in the mortar and jiggling the brick out.
2. Brick cleaning
Since bricks are often outside and exposed, they sometimes have a build up of mold, mildew or other items on them. How you clean the bricks depends on what is on them so you will first want to identify what needs to be cleaned off the bricks. For mildew and mold, you will mix chlorine bleach with water and put the solution into a garden sprayer. You may have to scrub some areas with the solution and a brush if the section is especially bad. For mortar stains or rust areas, use an acid based detergent and mix it with water. You will want to rinse the surfaces before and after the solutions are applied and scrub as necessary. Pressure washing is another method if the bricks are simply muddy or water stained. Brick cleaning can be a tedious job and it is not necessarily fun, but average homeowners can carry out the process.
3. Brick re-pointing
If your bricks have been around long enough, re-pointing may need to be done. You will want to mix mortar and let it sit until it is stiff enough. Only mix enough mortar to get you through about 30 minutes of work or the mortar will be too hard and you will waste what you have mixed. You will have to chisel out the old mortar and brush loose the remaining particles. You then load a trowel with mortar and place it between the bricks. This job is not something just anyone would want to or even be able to do. Handy homeowners can get by with their own labor, but to do the job right, you might want to consider a professional.
Whether your brick project is too big, too time consuming, or something you just don’t feel like you can do, Grand River Natural Stone can help you with any brick work you need done. Call us today to request a professional referral for the brick project you have in mind around your home or business.