Brick is a notoriously reliable material. It’s been used to build both residential and commercial buildings for centuries, and while the methods of installation have improved with time, the bricks themselves have hardly changed. As a result, bricks are one of the most popular and sturdy materials with which to build your home. So, let’s look at some of the best ways to maintain and clean your brick house on a budget!
Inexpensive Ways to Sustain your Brick Home
That said, no material is perfect. Like most building materials, bricks degrade with time. Moreover, bricks can be damaged by falling tree branches or even heavy foot traffic. Rather than spending a fortune to completely rebrick your home, there are various ways to maintain and clean your brick house in peak condition.
1. Inspect Your Bricks for Water Damage
Water damage can be a brick homeowner’s worst enemy. When water infiltrates the cracks in brick, it expands the material and causes it to crack. If left for an extended period of time, water damage can even harm the integrity of the structure. Therefore, inspecting your bricks regularly for signs of water damage (namely cracks, expansion, and surface peeling) is one of the best ways to save on the cost of completely replacing large portions of your brick home. It’s much less expensive to simply apply a filler to any water-damaged bricks.
2. Pressure Wash Your Bricks
Keeping bricks clean isn’t just about aesthetics. Dirt, mold, moss, mildew, and other built-up debris can damage your bricks over the long term. So, remember to pressure wash your bricks from time to time. If necessary, you can scrub your bricks with a hard brush. This can also help get rid of water stains. However, always remember not to crank up the pressure too much. While high pressure can get rid of dried mud, too much pressure can end up causing your bricks to flake or even break.
3. Get a Chimney Inspection
In many homes, the chimney may be the only brick structure. Since chimneys are often not very accessible, it’s easy to let them fall into disrepair. Not only can this become a risk to your roof, but cracking or falling bricks could even be hazardous to the interior of your home. As a result, it’s a good idea to get your chimney inspected by professionals like Brickworks Property Restoration once every few years. If you’re able to catch potential issues early on, it could save you from having to replace your entire chimney or roof.
4. Repoint Your Bricks
Repointing bricks or replacing the mortar is vital for brick homes that are at least 10 years old. With time, the mortar between bricks can soften. When this happens, cracks will appear, risking further damage to walls, porches, or other brick structures. While bricks are made to last for decades, the mortar that connects them simply cannot last as long. Consequently, repointing your bricks is a relatively inexpensive way to keep your brick home in great condition for the long term.
5. Keep The Weep Hole Clean
A weep, weep-brick, or weep hole is a small hole that lets water drain out of a wall and into the outside air. Most of the time, these holes are at the bottom of the assembly. If we do not clean these holes then it will result to clog and water damage can happen. Check the weep holes often and make sure they are clean.
6. Look for Signs of Hard Work
Most of the time, this is a slow buildup of salt crystals that come from the brick and move towards the surface when water gets inside the brick. It looks like a chalky buildup on the brick’s surface. You must remove these. Most of the time, you can clean them with a stiff brush, but sometimes you need to use a chemical agent.
7. Look Out for Your Plants
Even though it is not a good idea, many people place plants near the walls of their homes. The roots of these plants can damage your home’s foundation, and climbing plants will grow up the walls. In the process, the bricks will fall apart. You need to get rid of them, but cutting them off at the root and letting the plant die is the best way to do this without hurting the plant. If they are still alive, pulling them off the wall could damage your walls.
8. Replace Broken Bricks
Bricks rarely break if you keep an eye on your house, but it does happen. If there is a broken brick, it needs to be fixed. That means taking out the mortar around the brick and sliding it out so you can put a new one in place with the mortar. Make sure your brick house stays in good shape.
9. Use Coatings and Water Repellents
If people design brickwork properly, it should be able to keep water out without the use of water repellents or other coatings. Water can enter through the brickwork on the outside of walls with drainage systems, such as brick veneer walls or cavity walls, without damaging the inside parts of the wall system.
In some situations, we can use water repellents. On the other hand, exterior coatings shouldn’t be used on brick masonry until the bricks, mortar joints, and other parts of the building have been fixed or replaced and the effects have been carefully thought through. Coatings aren’t necessary for well-planned, specified, and built brick masonry, but they can be used to change the look of a wall or hide flaws.
10. Installation of Flashing
Building codes says flashing to be made and assembled in such a way that water does not enter the building. Moisture can enter the building’s interior if the flashing is missing, broken, or improperly installed. If the flashing system is faulty, it can be repaired or replaced to prevent uncontrollable water entry. The procedure is invasive because it involves removing bricks, bracing the bricks above them, installing new flashing, and replacing the removed bricks.
Looking for more useful tips for maintaining your house? Check out some of our other posts for homeowners!