Brick Cleaning using softwashing based solutions - Jim Wise Reclamation

Even the oldest and most fragile brickwork can be cleaned up and restored with softwashing. The effects last longer than conventional pressure washing too.  

Never use a high pressure washing technique on old bricks, as this can lead to substantial damage and expensive repair works, such as replacing the mortar, that are best avoided.  As a rule, never use high pressure washing on any masonry.

Different substances can accumulate on ageing brickwork over time, depending on its location. Moss is far more common outside for example, but there are numerous moulds and infectants which will require specialist treatments to kill off effectively. It is vital to avoid replacing mortar unless absolutely necessary, as the lime levels in newer cements are far higher, and this can erode older brickworks.  A specialist softwash treatment removes the need for this intervention.  

When attempting a DIY job we often find that people can make the same common mistakes and have used aggressive wire brushes to try and remove the surface infectants. We’ve also seen people apply waterproofing and repellents to ageing brickwork, sealing in the damp and infection in the process, when it is nearly always better to let bricks breathe.

External bricks are of course exposed to far more damp and humidity than internal brickworks.  We recommend an annual sprucing and cleanse to keep external brickworks looking great and in prime condition, diminishing the risks of collapse or other structural issues.

Depending on the exact infections in play, we will blend the appropriate softwash solution for treatment. In the unlikely event of never having encountered rare brickwork, we will sample test an inconspicuous area first. We will then use non-metallic brushes and implements, with a pure water rinse, to remove the most obvious dirt, dust, and grime. We will then lightly spray the brickwork with our blended softwash detergents to attack the root and generative systems of the moss and moulds. Results are immediate, but we’ll pop back after a week just to double check, and perform another rinse just in case. External wall and brickwork cleaning can be performed all year round, although moss is best treated before it hunkers down for the cold winter.

Internal brickwork cleaning, such as brickwork floors or fire places, has its own particular challenges. Floors, for example, are best treated using softwash alkali blends in warm water.  When sealing and finishing a brickwork floor a specific brick acid (muriatic acid) is often used to bring out the finish. While this makes the floor look great, at first, it means a lot of dust can accumulate time and time again.  An alkali softwash can counteract the effects of this, and will of course remove any infectants that have built up due to damp.

Moulds are of course much less common in brickwork fireplaces, but removing soot is a job in itself. You can have a good stab at removing soot DIY style with oven cleaner, but for the best results, less blackened faces and sore elbows, it is best to rely on the experts.  We understand the chemistry of soot, depending on the intensity of the residues, we’ll select the most effective softwash formulas to remove them and restore brickwork fireplaces.  Soot can require aggressive chemicals like ammonia or Trisodium phosphate to remove it thoroughly, and we will blend them carefully and softly to remove soot with the least possible fuss and the most impressive results.

Do not risk ageing brickwork deteriorating further by just leaving dirt to accumulate, or getting a high pressure wash that can damage it. A softwash is the perfect solution. 

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Brick cleaning