How to Clean and Protect Your Brick, Natural Stone and Pavers
There is all sorts of conversation about sealing asphalt driveways and parking lots and concrete surfaces like driveways, parking lots, floors. Poor brick seems to get left out of the conversation. Brick needs love, attention, cleaning and sealing just like other hardscape surfaces.
Many homeowners wonder how they can take care of their brick walls, fire places, chimneys, or other brick areas.. The most common problems are keeping the brick clean and protecting the brick from deterioration.
Let's address brick cleaning issues first and the most often asked question which is how to remove efflorescence from brick surfaces. Brick is less porous than concrete but it still absorbs water. Water can migrate through the bricks bringing soluble salts to the surface. This crystaline, salty, white deposit on the surface of the bricks is called efflorescence. Efflorescence is not usually harmful although it is unsightly. Efflorescence does indicate that water is moving through your brick wall or surface in a way that was not intended and this water can cause damage over time. It can lead to structural damage as well as encourage the growth of mold. Efflorescence cannot occur without the presence of water which brings the salts to the surface. Efflorescence is encouraged by low temperatures, high humidity, condensation, rain, dew, or other moist conditions. The most important thing to remember is that efflorescence is not just an aesthetic problem. If the water problems that cause the efflorescence are left untreated during freeze-thaw conditions, it can cause the brick to spall, weaken, and even crumble. This damage opens the brick, causing more water migration and more efflorescence. Efflorescence also occurs on concrete surfaces - walls, driveways, etc. An environmentally safe way to remove efflorescence is to use SealGreen Efflorescence Remover.
One of the many benefits of SealGreen Efflorescence Remover is that it is an all-natural protein that is not toxic like most of the removers on the market.
Another common problem between both concrete and brick is the freeze-thaw cycle, a pattern of weather in which water soaks into the concrete, brick, and mortar, and then freezes, expanding and damaging concrete. In concrete, this damages the top layer but in brick structures this can be a source of micro cracks between bricks and the mortar. Over years this can lead to bricks becoming loose and allows more water between the bricks and the mortar causing even more damage. A key to preventing both freeze-thaw damage and efflorescence is sealing the open pores in the brick and mortar so that water cannot migrate through these areas. SealGreen’s Brick and Stone Sealer helps to prevent this by filling and sealing the microscopic pores which allow the water to soak into the mortar and the bricks. Unlike many other brick sealers, SealGreen’s Brick and Stone sealer does not change the appearance or aesthetic of the brick or the mortar as it works inside the brick to fill the pores. SealGreen Brick and Stone Sealer is also an excellent sealer for natural stone and pavers. It does not change the look or the texture.
The process of sealing your brick is to first clean it with either SealGreen’s Oil Cleaner/Degreaser, SealGreen’s Mold and Mildew Cleaner, or the SealGreen Efflorescence Remover. Once the brick is clean you can apply the Brick and Stone Sealer. This is an environmentally safe product which means it is easy to apply and requires no special protections for either people, pets or plants. We recommend using a low-pressure sprayer with a fan tip which are readily available at your local hardware store. You can find how-to apply videos on the YouTube Channel SealGreenTV. Links to the videos are also available on the web pages.
You can find all of these products at www.sealgreen.com. Or the following links.