Cleaning Brick and Stone

 Before you decorate the outside of your house, check the condition of the brick an stonework, and carry out any necessary repairs. There’s no reason why you can’t paint brick or stone walls – indeed, in some areas it is traditional to do so – but if you consider masonry most attractive in its natural state, you could be faced with a problem: once masonry is painted, it is not possible to restore it to its original condition. There will always be particles of paint left in the texture of brickwork, and even smooth stone, which can be stripped successfully may be stained by the point.

 Treating new masonry

New brickwork or stonework should be left for about three months until it is completely dry before any further treatment is considered. White powdery deposits called efflorescence may come to the surface over this period, but you can simply brush it off with a stiff-bristled brush or a piece of dry sacking . After that, bricks and mortar should be weatherproof and therefore require no further protection or treatment.

Cleaning Organic Growth from Masonry

There are innumerable species of mould growth or lichens which appear as tiny coloured specks or patches on masonry. They gradually merge until the surface is covered with colours ranging from bright orange to yellow or green, grey and black.

Moulds and lichen will only flourish in damp conditions, so try to cure the source of the problem before treating the growth. If one side of the house always faces away from the sun, it will have little chance to dry out. Relieve the situation by cutting back overhanging trees or shrubs to increase ventilation to the wall.

Make sure the damp-proof course (DPC) is working adequately and is not being bridged by piled earth or debris. Cracked or corroded rainwater pipes leaking onto the wall are another common cause of organic growth. Feel behind the pipe with your fingers or use a hand mirror to locate the leak.

 Removing the growth

Brush the wall vigorously with a stiff-bristled brush. This can be an unpleasant, dusty job, so wear a gauze face mask. Brush away from you to avoid debris being flicked into your eyes.

Next week we will discuss removal of efflorescence, bleach solution and fungicidal solution.

 If you have any further questions please call our office.

We want you the reader to write to us on, any Building matters and questions or if you seek advice, we will gladly answer any topic that you wish us to discuss, so please send your letters to “BHIS” C/O. 17 Battye Road, Kardinya, W.A. 6163. Or fax/ph. (09) 331-3031