Pressure washing brick structures requires a steady hand and expertise in cleaning weathered surfaces. Just because you have a pressure washer doesn’t necessarily mean that you should try handling the task yourself. Often, hiring a trusted cleaning company with a focus on customer service and quality will save you the hassle of repairing potential damage caused by haphazard pressure washing.
So, yes, it is perfectly safe to pressure wash brick surfaces, but only using the proper amount of pressure. Especially on older structures, washing under a high-pressure setting can severely damage loose material. Aside from this, you also run the risk of causing water seepage into micro-fractures and other tiny fissures that could cause mold and mildew to grow over time. Improper pressure washer use will also strip away any masonry sealants that provide seasonal protection to the brick exterior.
What Are the Correct Steps for Pressure Washing Brick
Again, this will depend on the age and design of the structure. Before pressure washing your house, perform an ocular inspection to spot any worn or damaged mortar joints. To prevent water seepage and mold growth, you’ll need to patch up these fissures and let the cement harden and settle for at least a week. Although this might seem like a pointless hassle, it’s essential to maintain your home’s structural strength and integrity. This prevents the brickwork from undergoing a troublesome process called delamination, wherein the layers of brick gradually start cracking and pitting before eventually falling off in layers.
Without the proper knowledge and equipment, cleaning brick can be a challenging undertaking. Older houses with brick exteriors need a minimum of 500 pounds per square inch (psi) of water pressure to clean safely without damaging the masonry. This is another reason most homeowners rely on professional and commercial cleaning experts instead of performing the tasks themselves. Professional cleaners often use 100 to 1000 PSI after analyzing the house’s current state. Once they’ve determined that the brickwork can withstand mild pressure washing, they’ll then use a specialized detergent to break down tough stains that have built up over time. These eco-friendly cleaning solutions usually won’t be sold in hardware stores and are difficult to obtain.
After letting the detergent sit for 10 to 12 minutes, most cleaners will use a low-pressure nozzle to rinse off the residue. For newly-built houses, this initial step will usually leave the brick surface spotless. Older homes, however, may need a bit more work, especially if tougher stains such as mold, mildew, or moss remain after the preliminary pressure washing phase. Chemicals such as chlorine bleach or Trisodium Phosphate will regularly be used to remove these organic blotches. If you’re inexperienced with handling toxic substances, relying on a trusted cleaning company with excellent customer service and a dedication to quality work will save you the trouble of washing, sterilizing, and maintaining your house’s masonry.