Cleaning brickwork – How to start and how it’s done professionally. Getting your bricks clean and shinny again can be a tough and time consuming, or a costly investment. Before you start make sure to dig into this article for some helpful tips and advice. The first thing that comes up in mind is probably to grab the highest pressure water canon you can find to start fighting the dirt, algae and moss. But be carefully! Depending on your type of bricks, you might end up washing away your home… Cleaning brickwork the right way all depends on the type of brickwork and the type of pollution it’s affected by.
Hiring a professional brick cleaner
The cost of cleaning brickwork depends on the area, material used, machine rental and scaffolding costs. The price per square meter is calculated by the brick-cleaning company. High pressure cleaners cost an average of $ 3.50 per m2, impregnation costs an average of $5 per m2 and rays cost an average of $10 per m2. It pays to request multiple offers. Most facade specialists will visit a house to inspect the facade and make a customized quote. To ensure that the company is working well, you can ask for examples of previous work. Possibly you can share the costs with the neighbors to save on the cost of machine rental and scaffolding. You may convince more neighbors to clean the facade and make a nice discount. Investing in facade cleaning can affect the value of the property and a thorough cleansing will make the house look like new.
Types of pollution
Besides moss and algae there could also be contamination known as white, gray or black ‘dirt’. The different types of pollution ask for brick cleaning with different types of techniques.
Algae is recognized by a green haze over the facade. Mostly wet countries have to deal with this kind of brick pollution. You can remove them by steam cleaners. However, because they return stubbornly, it is recommended to treat the facade after the steam cleaner with an algae diode.
Like algae, the moss could be a real plague when it comes to cleaning brickwork. You recognize the moss on the green vegetation that occurs mainly in the joints, but also in the stones. Steam cleaners help remove the moss. Just like algae, moss is growing soon again. This is counteracted by the use of a moss powder.
White attack may indicate calcium attack, salt outflow and salpeter. Salt outflow occurs as a result of salts crystallizing on the surface of a facade. Salt problems are caused by moisture problems. They are detrimental to the masonry of the facade, as they put pressure on the pore structure of the masonry. The masonry can dump or peel off. Salpeter is an acid that is caused by ascending moisture. All three possible causes of the white attack are the result of a chemical process in the brickwork (bricks, joints and masonry mortar). Of course, the cause of the problem must be looked into. The facade can be cleaned by chemical cleaning or by rays.
Smog is in most cases the cause of black attack on the facade. You see a lot of appearances at the chimney and windy areas. Because black impact is very difficult to remove, steam cleaning will not be sufficient. You must choose chemical cleaning here.
The gray result is the result of a chemical process, namely metal oxidation, which plays in the stones. It occurs in places that often get wet and humid, such as windy areas and chimneys and the places where a lot of wind blows around. You can only clean the façade by means of rays.
Type of brickwork
There are several techniques for cleaning the facade. Which method gives the best result depends often on the type of facade and of course the type of pollution.
Concrete stones are very hard and durable. They do not absorb much water and can therefore be cleaned clean with steam cleaners. Unless the facade is highly contaminated, in that case, the method of chemical cleaning can be better chosen.
Lime sandstone was widely used in the years 1985 to 1995. Due to the hard but very porous structure of limestone, the stone can quickly attract dirt. It is recommended to impregnate lime sandstone facades every ten years. The best way to clean this stone is the steam cleaning.
Red bricks, like lime sandstone, is quickly polluted by exhaust gases and other atmospheric pollution. Because steam cleaning is insufficient to remove stubborn dirt, chemical cleaning is the most widely used method.
Light yellow stone
In the 90’s many facades were built with a light yellow brick. The light color will, after a couple of years, be fading into a darker color. The result of a chemical process that takes place in the bricks. This gray haze mainly occurs in places that are the most humid, and corners where a lot of wind is collected. You can tackle this contamination with a spray jet technique.
Nowadays, you can see a lot of facade finishing in the form of stucco. The stucco requires maintenance. Algae, moss and black attack are the most common contaminants. The best way for cleaning stucco is with hot water under a customized pressure, preferably with detergent.
Painted facades need a painting job every 5 to 10 years. In the years in between you can clear of mosses and algae with steam cleaning technology, possibly in combination with a mild detergent.