How to Restore Old Brick Surfaces Around Your Home

If you happen to live in an older home, chances are you have at least a few brick surfaces around your property. This hardened, red clay material provides a classic look for residences. Because of their overall charm and classic aesthetic, homeowners often seek to preserve the beauty of their brick surfaces—whether it’s the entire home exterior or just the fireplace. Unfortunately, brick’s rough, porous nature often makes this process difficult. Here is how to restore old brick surfaces the right way and refresh the home’s appearance.

Cleaning and General Maintenance

The crucial first step to restoring any type of surface is to thoroughly wash it and check for stains and damage. This part of the process is meant to remove any loose materials and to prepare the brick for the next phases of restoration. To get the deepest possible clean, use a power washer with soap and scrub any areas with particularly bad buildup. When done properly, this process will remove years’ worth of dirt, mold, and grime that has dulled the brick’s color and appearance.

Stain Removal

If you notice your brick has a few stains that aren’t coming out from just washing, you might need to use harsher cleaners to get the job done. Acid cleaners are particularly effective at penetrating deep into brick walls and dissolving materials that have discolored them. After scrubbing the cleaning agent onto the brick, wait a few minutes before washing it off with clean water. However, it’s vital that you take extra precautions to protect yourself when you’re using these products. Since these types of cleaners work with the aid of strong acids, they can inflict chemical burns on bare skin. As such, you should wear rubber gloves and safety goggles when handling these materials.

Brick Repair and Replacement

Another part of restoring old brick surfaces is knowing when you need to conduct repairs. As durable and sturdy as brick typically is, it still isn’t immune to the occasional nick, chip, or gouge. Some people find these blemishes provide brick homes with character, but larger damage can be unsightly and ultimately lower the overall home value. Because of this, you may want to repair or replace bricks that no longer fit with the rest of the wall. To do this, use a hammer and chisel to chip away the mortar around the brick. From here, you can either pull out the problem brick or mix a new batch of mortar to correct the previous imperfections.

Brick Painting or Staining

Even after you’ve completed every other step of the process, you may still want to give your brick a makeover. As beautiful as it is, the traditional look of red brick isn’t for everyone. This is why modern homeowners have taken to treating their brick with paint or stain. Both of these methods provide the brick with additional texture and color to better complement a home’s style. Since each of these processes works with different needs, it’s up to you do decide whether brick painting or staining is better for your home.

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