The ABS guide for builders.

Simple tips to help you get the most out of your brick cleaners.

Builders' guide

Download a PDF here.

The cleaner the bricklayer leaves the wall the easier it will be to clean.
Why should you care?
Because your brick cleaner may have to use excessive amounts of acid and/or water pressure just to remove hardened mortar from the brick surface. This can lead to damage of your brickwork. Damage such as pitting of the brick surface, and blowing out of mortar joints as seen in the picture below.

damaged brickwork

Brushing

On completion of laying and joint tooling, mortar smears on the work face should be removed by dry brushing. Failure to brush joints can create very hard ridges of mortar which are difficult to remove. The bricks below needed multiple coats of acid coupled with hand scraping to clean.

joints

Sponging

Wet sponging of the mortar joints is a common practice with smooth face bricks. Although this creates a smoother joint finish, it smears a cement-rich mortar film over the brick face that often develops into calcium staining. Calcium stains appear as a white film on the brickwork (see below). These hard white deposits are invisible when wet but insoluble in water, unlike efflorescence which is water soluble. An additional wash with more harsh chemicals is required to remove this. Avoid this by rinsing the sponge out with clean water so mortar isn't smeared all over the brick face.

calcium stains

Sponging textured bricks simply pushes mortar deep into the brick face and should be avoided, as seen below.

calcium staining

Rain & water

When rain interrupts bricklaying, protect the top of the newly laid wall with plastic sheeting. When newly laid masonry is unprotected and saturated by rain, water will sit in extrusion holes and cause bricks to become waterlogged, resulting in calcium and other elements within the bricks to dissolve. As the bricks dry out, these dissolved elements are deposited on the surface of the bricks.

water logging

Access

For walls over approximately 4m in height, it is advisable to provide scaffold. It is possible to clean walls up to 7m in height with the use of extension lances but these are very difficult to control and lead to an inferior quality of finish compared to working close to the wall face.

Timing

We can clean bricks 3 days after they are laid. Leaving brickwork for too long can make it harder to clean. We recommend cleaning bricks within the first couple of weeks after they are laid if possible.

Acid attack!

Many materials dont like contact with acid - particularly metals such as galvanised steel. Contact with acid can cause staining and rusting. Any sensitive materials should be suitably protected prior to our arrival. You should also consider programming work so that brick cleaning is done prior to other work which may be affected. Clean your bricks before zincalume roof sheeting is installed, for example.

Your cleaner

It is important to use a suitably qualified cleaner. Select a cleaner who is licensed and accredited to take care of your bricks.

Did you know that using an unaccredited brick cleaner may void your warranty? We are accredited through Think Brick Australia, the peak industry body representing the clay brick and paver manufacturers of Australia. Our certification is recognised by brick manufacturers like PGH, Boral, Austral and Daniel Robertson.
Think Brick

Next

Contact us

Call Chris to discuss your next job on 0432 691 755

info@cleanyourbricks.com.au

ABS Brick Cleaning Pty Ltd
ABN 66 166 467 287
License no. 258333C
9/5-9 Marlene Crescent Chullora NSW 2190