Whether a time tested Colonial style house or a modern take on the gabled Tudor, brick homes are as stylish now as ever before in Lexington. In neighborhoods like Andover, it’s rare you won’t find a brick home. As a building material, bricks are reliable, attractive and relatively inexpensive compared to ornamental woods or stone. Over time, however, the warm, earthy tones of the clay can become dulled and the materials damaged. Excessive water exposure can turn red hues black while lichen and molds can chip away entire chunks from your wall. Luckily, restoring old brick walls is easy for anyone with a little time and know-how.
Removing Foreign Materials from Your Brick Exterior
Like any exterior surface, brick walls will collect a host of foreign materials over the years. Dirt, pollution from industry and vehicles, lichen and moss, and even animal waste all combine to degrade their appearance. If you’re facing minimal debris, you can use a power washer to wash off the brick exterior. Remember to wear gloves and eye protection and clean the wall with the lowest effective pressure setting, as forced water can be surprisingly powerful. Pay special attention to windows, as well. Ideally, you want to board them up, but with care and attention you can avoid any unnecessary pane replacements.
Should your walls be especially grimy there is the option of doing an old fashioned brush cleaning. While this method may not be suitable for all homes, especially ones that are simply too large to clean in a time effective manner, it is a more thorough job that will leave your walls looking considerably more attractive for longer. To begin, you will need to spray your walls to get them thoroughly wet. Using a bucket of household dish detergent and water, or other gentle grease buster, use a stiff bristle brush to scrub the surface of the wall. Work your brush in circular motions to clean the face of the bricks and use a softer brush for cleaning the mortar to preserve its appearance.
Repairs and Replacements
Exposure to sun and creeping plant life does wear out the surface of bricks. Scrubbing or power washing is likely to break off any loose corners and expose deep cracks that will indicate a need for replacement. Regardless of your chosen cleaning method, you will need to wait at least 24 hours for the wall to dry before beginning repairs. Broken bricks can be chiseled from the wall with relative ease. Again, remember to wear eye protection as small flying chips and dust are to be expected. Be sure to keep pieces of the mortar and the brick itself to give you a reference for matching the colors of replacement materials. Each different material is likely to have its own methodology for application so be sure to pay close attention to the instructions on the packaging. Also, don’t be afraid to call on the experience of your local hardware store employees for examples on how to apply a specific type of mortar effectively.
Finishing The Job
Coating your walls will help to ensure that the hard work and effort you’ve put into restoring the bricks will last for years to come. Be sure to avoid glossy finishes, instead opting for matte clear coats that will allow the natural beauty of the material to show through. Because these finishers will usually be applied with a spray-gun it is advisable to invest in a quality respirator. You will need to be close to the wall to get an even coating and will be exposed to atomized mists of the chemical.
Owning a Brick Home in Lexington, KY
Bricks are a long lasting material, the composition of which has changed little through the years. This makes them easy to replace and ensures they will be around to enjoy for the lifetime of your home. Following these simple tips even an armature do-it-yourself home repairman can achieve professional results while saving money on labor. It is well worth the time and you will appreciate the returns on your work that much more.