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As a homeowner, a beautiful brick house can be a source of pride. However, dirt, grime, and even mold can accumulate over time on your brick home’s exterior. This accumulation can diminish its curb appeal and potentially cause damage.
That’s where pressure washing brick houses comes in. It is an effective and efficient way to clean your house, restoring its original beauty and protecting it for years to come.
Preparation For Pressure Washing Your Brick House
A successful pressure washing brick house project starts with thorough preparation.
Assessing the Condition
- Before you start pressure washing, inspect your home’s exterior for damaged or loose bricks and cracked or crumbling mortar. Pressure washing can exacerbate existing damage, so addressing these issues is crucial before proceeding.
- Take note of any areas with visible mold or mildew growth, as these spots may require extra attention during the cleaning process.
Necessary Tools and Equipment
- A pressure washer
- Safety apparel (gloves and boots)
- A sweeping brush
- Pressure washing detergent
- A brick sealer for added protection
Preparing the Area Around Your House
- Remove any obstacles around your house, including outdoor furniture, toys, and decorations. This will make it easier to maneuver the pressure washer and prevent potential damage to your belongings.
- Cover plants, outdoor lighting, and other delicate fixtures near the brick surface to protect them from the high-pressure water spray. You can shield these items with tarps, plastic sheeting, or drop cloths.
Pressure Washing Techniques for Brick Houses
Mastering the appropriate pressure washing techniques is crucial to achieving a clean, undamaged brick exterior.
Determining the Correct Pressure Settings
PSI refers to the water pressure delivered by the pressure washer, while GPM indicates the water flow rate. Higher PSI and GPM values result in more powerful and faster cleaning, but excessive pressure on brick surfaces can cause damage.
A medium-duty gas pressure washer with a PSI rating between 2,000 and 3,000 is recommended for most brick houses.
Additionally, a pressure washer with a GPM of 2.5 to 3.5 will ensure efficient water usage.
|Condition of Bricks||Recommended PSI for Pressure Washing|
|New and Well-Maintained||1,500 – 2,000 PSI|
|Slightly Weathered||2,000 – 2,500 PSI|
|Moderately Weathered||2,500 – 3,000 PSI|
|Heavily Weathered or Stained||3,000 – 3,500 PSI|
Proper Pressure Washing Technique
- Hold the pressure washer nozzle at a 45-degree angle to the brick surface, maintaining a distance of 12-18 inches. This angle and distance will help to dislodge dirt and grime without causing damage to the bricks or mortar.
- Use smooth, consistent strokes as you move the pressure washer nozzle across the brick surface to ensure even cleaning.
- Overlap each stroke slightly to avoid streaks or missed areas. Work from top to bottom to prevent dirty water from streaking already-cleaned sections.
Tips for Washing Different Brick Surfaces
Painted vs. Unpainted Brick:
If your brick house is painted, use a lower PSI setting and a wider spray pattern to avoid stripping the paint. For unpainted brick, a standard 25-degree spray nozzle should suffice.
Older Brick vs. Newer Brick:
Older brick may be more susceptible to damage from pressure washing due to weathering and weaker mortar. Be extra cautious with your pressure settings and technique when cleaning older brick homes.
Newer brick can typically withstand higher pressure settings but always start low and gradually increase if necessary.
Enhancing Cleaning and Protection with Solutions and Additives
- Brick-specific cleaning solutions can break down stubborn dirt, grime, and mold, making removing them easier for the pressure washer. This can result in a cleaner surface and reduced pressure washing time.
- Cleaning solutions designed for brick surfaces often contain ingredients that kill mold and mildew, protecting your home from potential health hazards and structural damage.
Applying Cleaning Solutions
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for diluting the cleaning solution with water. Most solutions require a mix of one part cleaner and four parts water, which may vary.
- Attach a low-pressure spray nozzle (usually a black tip) to your pressure washer and adjust the settings to accommodate the cleaning solution. Apply the solution to the brick surface, starting at the bottom and working your way up to avoid streaking.
- Allow the cleaning solution to soak into the brick surface for 5-10 minutes. Do not let the solution dry on the surface, which may cause staining.
- After the soaking period, switch back to a regular pressure washer nozzle and rinse the brick surface thoroughly, working from top to bottom.
Protective Additives for Brick Houses
Mold and Mildew Inhibitors:
After pressure washing, consider applying a mold and mildew inhibitor to your brick house. These additives create a barrier that prevents mold spores from taking hold on the brick surface, keeping your home cleaner and safer.
Applying a brick sealant can protect your home from water damage and stains. These sealants create a water-repellent layer that allows the brick to breathe while preventing water infiltration.
Our Recommended Brick Sealer
MasonryDefender brick sealer is an outstanding choice for anyone looking for a high-quality sealer for both interior and exterior brick surfaces.
- Can be used for both interior and exterior brick surfaces.
- Creates an attractive clear satin sheen that enhances the natural beauty of brick surfaces.
- Dries quickly within 1 to 2 hours.
- Easy application process.
- Provides excellent water-repellent protection, making it perfect for areas exposed to moisture.
Pressure washing your brick house is an effective and efficient way to rejuvenate its appearance. By selecting the right equipment for pressure washing brick houses, mastering the proper techniques, utilizing cleaning solutions and additives, and prioritizing safety, you can transform the exterior of your home with stunning results.