A porous material used for walls and patios that pressure washing can clean without damaging the surface.

Related terms: brick cleaning, brick patio cleaning

Brick, Pressure Washing & Power Washing

Brick, a building material made from fired clay, is a popular choice for constructing walls, patios, walkways, and other architectural elements. Its durability, weather resistance, and aesthetic appeal contribute to its widespread use. However, like any other material, brick is susceptible to the accumulation of dirt, grime, mold, and mildew over time. This is where pressure washing and power washing come in as effective cleaning solutions.

Properties of Brick Relevant to Pressure Washing:

  • Porosity: Brick is a porous material, meaning it absorbs liquids and can become stained easily. While this property makes it susceptible to dirt and grime accumulation, it also allows for effective cleaning with pressure washing.
  • Durability: Properly fired bricks are incredibly durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy traffic. This makes them suitable for pressure washing without causing significant damage.
  • Strength: Bricks have high compressive strength, meaning they can resist the force of the pressure washer’s water stream without cracking or breaking.
  • Mortar: Mortar, the material used to bind bricks together, is generally softer than brick itself. It requires careful consideration during pressure washing to avoid dislodging or damaging it.
  • Surface texture: Brick surfaces can vary in texture, from smooth and glazed to rough and textured. The texture affects the cleaning effectiveness of pressure washing and the specific techniques employed.

Pressure Washing Techniques for Brick:

  • Pressure range: The ideal pressure range for cleaning brick falls between 800 PSI and 1,500 PSI. This range effectively removes dirt, grime, and stains without damaging the brick or mortar.
  • Nozzle selection: A wide fan tip nozzle is ideal for cleaning large areas of brick, while a turbo nozzle can be used for targeting specific stains or mortar joints.
  • Cleaning solutions: Using biodegradable cleaning solutions formulated for brick can enhance the cleaning process and remove stubborn stains.
  • Pre-wetting: Pre-wetting the brick surface before applying the cleaning solution helps loosen dirt and grime, improving cleaning effectiveness.
  • Post-cleaning rinsing: Thoroughly rinsing the brick after cleaning removes any residual cleaning solution and prevents streaking.

Power Washing Considerations:

While power washing can remove deep grime and stubborn stains from brick, excessive pressure can damage the surface and mortar joints. It’s crucial to exercise caution and use the appropriate pressure settings to avoid:

  • Efflorescence: This condition occurs when water dissolves salts within the brick, causing them to migrate to the surface and leave a white, powdery residue.
  • Spalling: High pressure can cause the surface layer of the brick to flake off, leading to an uneven and pitted appearance.
  • Mortar loss: Excessive pressure can dislodge or damage the mortar joints, compromising the structural integrity of the brickwork.

Alternatives for Power Washing:

  • Soft washing: This method utilizes lower pressure settings and specialized biodegradable cleaning solutions to gently remove dirt and grime from the brick without causing damage.
  • Chemical cleaning: This method involves applying specialized cleaning chemicals to dissolve stains and grime before rinsing them away.
  • Hand cleaning: For delicate areas or intricate brickwork, hand cleaning with a brush and appropriate cleaning solutions is recommended.

Brick is a versatile and durable building material that adds character and elegance to any structure. However, maintaining its beauty and functionality requires proper cleaning. Pressure washing can be an effective cleaning method for brick surfaces when done correctly. Always use appropriate pressure settings, cleaning solutions, and techniques to avoid damaging the brick or mortar. If you are unsure about the best cleaning method for your brick surfaces, consult with a professional cleaning company.