Brick-Cleaning (commonly known as Acid-Washing) is the process of removing excess mortar from recently constructed or repointed face-brickwork to achieve the ‘finished look’. A layperson does not typically know this process even exists, yet alone is an industry standard expectation and process.
Pressure-washing vs Hand-washing:
In nearly every case, pressure-washing brickwork weakens the surface of the mortar which is the cause of “blow-outs” and blur of mortar-joint definition. Resulting in a rough ‘bubbling’ effect and quick deterioration in appearance. Pressure-washed mortar joints do not hold out the test of time compared to hand-washed. Not a desirable result given the price of brickwork.
Yet sadly, if you examine almost every new build is pressure-washed.
The reason Builders (big & small) preference pressure-washing is purely for a lower upfront cost to their bottom line ($ from their profit) and time efficiency (quicker turnaround of each build also equals more $ profit for them) as it will generally be 3-15 times faster (depends on factors such as how long the mortar has cured, the type of brick, site-access, etc…).
However, this undisputedly comes at an immediate cost to quality and longevity of the mortar’s aesthetic appearance.
Hydrochloric-acid vs Eco-friendly alternatives:
Pressure-cleaners use hydrochloric-acid as a brick-cleaning agent. Hydrochloric-acid is highly corrosive, toxic-fuming, plant-killing, harmful to wildlife and environmentally harmful product (both is use and manufacturing). Whilst it may be usable at low-risk on an un-landscaped new building site with temporary down-pipes and brand new aluminium-frame windows and little chance of nearby wildlife, it is absolutely not suitable for established properties with garden landscapes under brickwork, aged building components (windows, doors, plumbing, non-galvanised steel, outdoor blinds, etc), pets, children, neighbours, etc…
As a smarter solution, Brick Repairs utilise an environmentally-friendly, garden-friendly, non-fuming (safer for internal brickwork), non-corrosive & touch-safe alternative to hydrochloric-acid called G.A.R (Green Acid Replacement) created by a Melbourne based manufacturer named GuardIT®. Full disclosure, they do not pay us to tell you we use their product.
Therefore Brick Repairs can confidently say we do everything we can to avoid any property damage, physical harm, environmental harm and guarantee the best brick-cleaning results for our clients.