brick stains

5 Ways To Remove & Avoid Brick Stains

Brick houses are charming and classic in their appearance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for stains on an exterior facade to ruin the entire look of a home. Indeed, even small amounts of water damage can contribute to significant brick stains and turn your lovely exterior into a true eyesore –– practically overnight! With that in mind, today we’ll focus on how you can prevent and remove irksome stains from your home:

Limit Exposure to Water

Bricks, though solid, are porous and therefore susceptible to water damage. As such, a majority of brick stains are caused, at least in part, by water. There isn’t much you can do to prevent certain water exposure –– like rain, for instance –– but you can take a few savvy measures to eliminate other forms of water damage. Always make sure your sprinklers don’t spray onto your home, for one, and inspect the foundation of any brick or concrete steps. If brick or concrete rests flush on top of soil, water will evaporate through your porch and can cause cracks or stains.

Apply a Brick Sealant

The best brick sealants will not only prevent stains, but they’ll also bolster the structural integrity of bricks buildings. As noted above, water can damage bricks in a number of ways, which is why utilizing a brick sealant that allows the bricks to “breathe” is so important. Note, never try and cover stains or “seal” bricks with paint. It won’t work, and the paint will chip after a short period of time.

Identify Your Stains

One of the most common forms of brick staining is caused by efflorescence. Efflorescence is a salt deposit left on brick surfaces as a result of exposure to water. At first, efflorescence may be soft or loose, but it will crystalize over time. Though this is a common brick-stain culprit, it’s not the only element that stains brick. Rust, mold, mildew, and calcium deposits (known as “lime run”) can also tarnish brick facades. Take the time out to identify the type of stain on your brick, since different stains require different cleaning methods.

Power Washes & Acidic Solutions

For those hell-bent on DIY home-improvement, it’s typically a wise idea to start any brick-cleaning with a power-wash free of chemical components. You may be able to remove a stain simply by washing your facade with water. If water alone doesn’t work, make absolutely certain you know what’s causing the stain before using any acidic solutions to clean your facade. Also, take all necessary precautions when handling potentially hazardous cleaning materials and acidic compounds!

Contact a Professional

The simplest way to deal with brick stains is to enlist the help of a professional. At Brickworks, we’re happy to perform regular inspections and maintenance to prevent and remove brick stains. Our team members have years of professional experience, and will restore your brick and stone surfaces to their pristine best. Don’t wait another minute –– call us today here at (586) 330-4920 to protect the beauty and integrity of your brick home!


tuckpointing

Tuckpointing 101: The Basics

Brick homes are beautiful, classic, and structurally stout. Yet, brick structures do require upkeep in order to maintain their integrity and vibrant appearance. Tuckpointing is one of the simplest, but most effective ways to ensure the quality of brick walls and facades. What is tuckpointing? Tuckpointing is the process of removing old, deteriorated mortar from in between bricks, and replacing it with new mortar. Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about this essential maintenance procedure and answer a few FAQs as well:

How Often is Tuckpointing Required?

The great news about tuckpointing is that, when done correctly, you won’t have to worry about replacing mortar again for decades. Typically, experts recommend that homeowners tuckpoint every 20-25 years. It’s worth noting that tuckpointing won’t last quite as long as an original application of mortar. Other factors that could influence how long mortar lasts include the climate (specifically how wet or cold an environment is), the color of the brick, and quality of the mortar application. You can tell if you need tuckpointing done by running a sharp surface along mortar joints. If that produces a fine powder, then your home could need tuckpointing. Loose bricks will also indicate that it’s time to tuckpoint.

Why Should I Tuckpoint?

Tuckpointing serves two critical purposes. First, tuckpointing when necessary will restore the structural integrity of brick facades that would otherwise deteriorate over time. Neglecting to tuckpoint could lead to structural damage and expensive repair costs. Secondly, professional tuckpointing enhances the appearance of brick walls and chimneys.

Tuckpointing DIY Tips

If so inclined, homeowners can choose to tuckpoint their own houses. To do so, you’ll need (at least) the following equipment to get started:

  • An angle or tuckpoint-specific grinder
  • Chisel
  • Tuckpointer blade
  • Hammer
  • Hammer Drill
  • Mortar Gun
  • Trowel
  • Safety Goggles
  • Earplugs
  • Hose
  • Brush
  • Mortar mix

To begin, you’ll want to use the angle grinder to grind away at both the horizontal and vertical joints along the brick surface. Next, use a rotary hammer drill to remove the remaining mortar. You can also use a chisel to chip away at any left over flakes. Brush the joints down and wash them with water. From there, you can apply new mortar to the joints with a trowel and tuckpointer blade. Lastly, after waiting around a half hour, smooth out the mortar and brush away any debris. (Note that this is not a step-by-step breakdown of the tuckpointing process, but rather a quick overview.)

Benefits to Professional Tuckpointing

While it may be tempting to try and tuckpoint parts of your home by yourself, it’s often a better idea to simply contact a professional to perform this task. Tuckpointing requires special equipment and a fine attention to detail. It’s easy for untrained individuals to accidentally chip or damage bricks when removing old mortar. What’s more, an improperly tuckpointed wall will probably require more future work (and time and money) than one tuckpointed by a professional. Lastly, professionals understand how to tuckpoint facades and restore the surface to its original quality and color. Ameatuer tuckpointing jobs may appear inconsistent by comparison.  

Final Thoughts

Need help tuckpointing your home? Then don’t hesitate to contact us here at (586) 330-4843. At Brickworks, we strive to provide excellent service for all of your home-improvement and masonry needs. We’ll work with you to deliver a cost-effective solution that will protect both your exterior walls and the natural beauty of your brick home!