Cleaning Brickwork

Cleaning Brickwork

Keeping your brick clean is key to making sure it looks as good 10 years from now as it did the first day you had it installed. However, different types of brick each require different cleaning methods. So, to help you know which is right for you, we’ve put together a quick brickwork cleaning guide to ensure your brick stays beautiful for years to come.

Red & Red Flashed Brick

This type of brick is one of the strongest types of brick, and therefore can be cleaned with pressurized water, abrasive blasting, and traditional hand cleaning with a brush and bucket without any problems. Unlike other types of brick, water, detergents, emulsifying agents, and other proprietary cleaners can all be used to clean red and red flashed brick.

White, Tan, Buff, Gray, Pink, Brown, Black, Specks and Spots

Lighter colored bricks tend to be more susceptible to stains and “acid burns” thanks to their higher concentrations of vanadium and manganese, so unbuffered muriatic acid solutions are not typically the best cleaning products for this style of brick. However, you can still use abrasive blasting, pressurized water, or clean with a brush and bucket by hand with water, gentle detergents, and other emulsifying agents and proprietary cleaners.

Sand Finish/Surface Coating

For this style of brick you should never use any type of abrasive cleaning method, such as abrasive blasting, otherwise it may change the overall appearance of the brick. Instead, stick with a hand cleaning method using gentle pressure scrub the areas that need cleaned. For truly stubborn mortar stains, you may use a mild cleaning solution or detergent.

Glazed Brick

Like sand finished brick and surface coatings, glazed brick is more sensitive than standard brick and therefore requires a gentler cleaning method. Though you can still use pressurized water and the standard hand cleaning methods, you should never use any abrasive powders, metal brushes or cleaning tools, or harsh chemical cleaners. Instead, try to only use regular detergent. If you must, you may be able to use a proprietary cleaner, but only when necessary for serious mortar stains, and if your brick are salt glazed or metallic glazed you should always consult your brick and cleaner manufacturers before use.  

Colored Mortars

The actual cleaning method you use on brick with colored mortars will depend on the type of brick you have. However, most manufacturers recommend gentle detergents and water only when cleaning colored mortars since most chemical cleaning solutions, unbuffered acids, and proprietary cleaners can end up bleaching your mortar and leave you with an uneven appearance.

Just remember, before you start cleaning your new brick, you’ll want to make sure everything is completely dry and set first, which means waiting at least a week beforehand. For more information on how to best clean your brick, reach out to our brick experts at Ambrico today by calling 866.663.6898 for a free consultation, or simply fill out the form in the sidebar.