Table of Contents
- The Importance of Brick Pressure Washing
- Is Pressure Washing Right For Your Brick House Siding?
- What to Avoid When Pressure Washing Brick House Siding:
- DIY vs. Professional Service
- Power Washing Brick House Siding Preparation
- Steps for Soft Washing Your Brick House Siding:
- Additional Tips and Considerations:
- About the Author
Did you know that pressure washing your brick house can not only increase its curb appeal by 20% but also extend its life? Imagine walking up to your home, the bricks gleaming as if they were laid yesterday – that’s the power of proper pressure washing. And to answer your question, yes, you can pressure wash a brick house siding.
As with any powerful tool, it’s essential to use it correctly because pressure washing different types of siding requires different techniques. Pressure washing brick houses is more than just blasting water; it’s an art and a science. We will discuss in this article on how to do it right, ensuring your home not only looks fantastic but stays structurally sound.
For the sake of the term “pressure washing”(we will use in this article) which most people use when calling in for house washing, but basically, the correct term to use is soft washing which is most the time being used for brick houses and sidings. There is a difference between the two which we will discuss in the following sections.
The Importance of Brick Pressure Washing
- Aesthetic Benefits: Picture your brick house as a canvas, dirt and grime as unintentional smudges. Pressure washing removes these, restoring your home’s original beauty. It’s not just about looks; it’s about pride in your home.
- Preventative Maintenance: Regular cleaning is like a health check for your house. It prevents mold, mildew, and algae, notorious for eating away at bricks and mortar, saving you from future headaches and costly repairs.
- Health Benefits: A clean exterior means fewer allergens and pollutants clinging to your walls, translating to cleaner air around your home. It’s a small step with a big impact on your well-being.
- Preparing for Sale: If you’re considering selling, a clean exterior can be a deciding factor. It’s like dressing up for a job interview; first impressions matter.
Is Pressure Washing Right For Your Brick House Siding?
Brick siding shouldn’t be pressure washed most of the time. With brick, we usually soft wash it to prevent any chipping. One thing with brick siding is that it can be hard to tell if it needs to be washed especially when it has green algae growth.
You can only see the growth in certain lighting, but it does have a fuzzy look to it. Oftentimes, homeowners will neglect it as it doesn’t look too bad. The algae growth can eventually turn into black streaks which by that time becomes more difficult to wash off and can end up costing much more to clean.
Types of Brick In Austin Homes
Most homes in Austin are made of Stones and hardy siding. We usually clean homes with mild growth that can easily be washed off using a soft wash method. If you take a look at the photos before and after there is a clear difference.
For heavier growth, sometimes you will need a bit of pressure, but nothing strong. It is then followed up with a bit more soft washing treatment to kill all the organic growth in the pores of the brick wall.
Key Factors to Consider When Pressure Washing Brick
Deciding whether to pressure wash your brick house siding involves more than just picking up a hose. It’s about understanding the unique characteristics of your home’s exterior. Here are key factors to consider:
- Brick Age and Condition: Older bricks (pre-1950s) and those showing wear (like cracks) are more vulnerable and require gentler cleaning methods.
- Mortar Condition: If the mortar is old or damaged, avoid high-pressure washing to prevent further deterioration.
- Presence of Efflorescence: For bricks with efflorescence (white powdery residue), use specific cleaners and a soft approach to avoid driving salts deeper into the bricks.
- Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing: Opt for soft washing (low pressure of 300-500 PSI with cleaning solution) for most brick types, especially older or delicate ones. Reserve pressure washing for newer, heavily soiled bricks, and use it cautiously.
For soft washing it is always to kill organic. Anything like Efflorescence, oil, or non organic stains like rust is a restorative treatment. Those are specialty cleaning. You need to use a soft wash method, but you use restorative acids to remove those non organic stains. You need to use acid if you want to remove those kinds of stains. It is fine to use them but must be handled by a professional.
Important note: 1000 PSI (Pounds Per Inch) is when you start chipping sidings, meaning the pressure will penetrate and crack little parts of the siding and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. So, take a little caution when setting up the pressure washer’s PSI.
What to Avoid When Pressure Washing Brick House Siding:
- High Pressure: Avoid using high-pressure settings that can damage bricks and mortar. For brick surfaces, it’s generally recommended to use a pressure washer with a PSI setting of 300-500.
- Harsh Chemicals: Steer clear of strong chemicals like muriatic acid, which can etch and weaken bricks.
- Inappropriate Cleaning Solutions: Don’t use bleach-based or highly acidic cleaners on bricks, especially older ones.
- Ignoring Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always follow the guidelines for any commercial cleaning products used.
- Insufficient Rinsing: Ensure thorough rinsing to remove all cleaning solution residues.
- Wrong Nozzle Selection: Use a nozzle that provides a gentle, wide spray to avoid concentrating the pressure.
- Overlooking Existing Damage: Repair any pre-existing damage to bricks or mortar before washing.
- Neglecting Safety Precautions: Wear protective gear and handle the pressure washer with care.
DIY vs. Professional Service
This is where you weigh your comfort with the task against the potential risks. If you’re a DIY enthusiast with time and patience, soft washing your home siding might be your weekend project. But if the thought of scaling ladders with equipment makes you dizzy, don’t have the experience and knowledge on how to do it, call in the pros.
Need help to decide? Here’s an article about DIY power washing vs professional services.
Power Washing Brick House Siding Preparation
- Safety Gear: Equip yourself with goggles, gloves, and protective clothing. Check out our article about essential pressure washer safety tips.
- Protecting Surroundings: Cover plants, windows, and other sensitive areas to prevent damage.
- Cleaning Solutions: Choose a cleaner suitable for your brick type. For common red bricks, a solution of water and mild detergent often works well. For tougher stains like efflorescence, a diluted vinegar solution (DIY) can be effective. If it doesn’t work, you may use restorative acids but with the proper guidance of a professional.
- Testing the Solution: Before applying the cleaner to the entire surface, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage.
Steps for Soft Washing Your Brick House Siding:
- Preparation: Gather your gear – pump sprayer, eco-friendly cleaning solution, and protective equipment. It’s like prepping for a painting job; the setup is key.
- Applying the Cleaning Solution: Whether you mix your potion or buy it, remember, the earth will thank you for choosing biodegradable. Spray evenly, like you’re seasoning a gourmet meal.
- Dwelling Time: Patience is a virtue here. Let the solution sit and break down the grime. It’s like marinating; the longer it sits, the better the results.
- Rinsing: A gentle, low-pressure rinse does the trick. Think of it as rinsing a delicate dish; you wouldn’t blast it with water.
Additional Tips and Considerations:
Stubborn Stains: For the tough spots, think of it as a spot treatment. Use targeted solutions, but always with a gentle hand.
Post-Cleaning Maintenance: Keep up the good work with regular touch-ups and maybe a fresh sealant coat. It’s like applying sunscreen; prevention is better than cure.
Environmental Impact: Remember, what goes down the drain matters. Be mindful of your solutions and water usage.
Pressure washing (soft washing) your brick house is more than a chore; it’s an act of care. It enhances your home’s beauty, extends its life, and protects your health. For those who prefer a professional touch, Full Color Cleaners, expert pressure washers in Austin TX, ensures your bricks are treated with the utmost care.
Remember, while DIY pressure washing is feasible, it’s not for everyone. For complex or challenging projects, professional assistance is recommended to ensure the best results and avoid potential damage.
This guide aims to empower homeowners with the knowledge to either take on cleaning brick exterior themselves or make informed decisions when hiring professionals. With the right approach, your brick siding can look as good as new, contributing to the overall charm and value of your home.
About the Author
Benjamin Nguyen, owner of Full Color Cleaners LLC, has garnered significant recognition for his company’s exemplary services in window cleaning and pressure washing, making them one of the Top Rated Exterior Cleaning companies in Austin, TX. Full Color Cleaners commendations are not only from renowned platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Super Pages but also include prestigious recognitions as one of the “10 Best Austin Window Washers” by FreshChalk.com and “Best Window Washing Services in Austin” by Expertise.com. Beyond this, Benjamin’s expertise extends to specialized areas such as soft washing, roof washing, and Christmas Lights Installation, with the latter backed by his membership in CLIPA. His dedication to continuous learning is evident through his annual certifications and affiliations with Pressure Washing School and Expert Safety Services. Notably, Benjamin’s commitment to excellence in exterior cleaning is further solidified by his status as an F9 Authorize Handler, showcasing his proficiency in handling commercial chemicals.
One of the pivotal moments in Benjamin’s career trajectory was his association with the Home Service Business Coaching (HSBC) Program, steered by David James Moerman. Under David’s mentorship, Benjamin honed his business acumen, propelling Full Color Cleaners to its current stature as one of Austin’s top-rated window cleaning and pressure washing enterprises. David Moerman, a successful entrepreneur himself, has publicly endorsed Benjamin’s dedication and vision for his business. For those seeking to connect with Benjamin or learn more about Full Color Cleaners, he maintains an active presence on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, and Indeed.
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