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Maintaining Brick and Stone Exteriors

Brick and stone are incredibly durable building materials. Part of the reason homeowners love installing masonry as siding is because it is relatively low-maintenance and long-lasting. Durable does not equal indestructible, however, and if you want to keep your home’s exterior for good, it’s important to follow these tips to protect your investment for years to come.

Keeping It Clean

It may seem odd that you would need to clean a brick or stone building; surely these materials are dirt-resistant and grime-free, right? For the most part that is true, but it does not mean that bricks and stone are perfectly immune to stains and muck. Dirt buildup – particularly something like mud – can cake on and be hard to clean if left unchecked, so it is better to conduct regular maintenance and cleaning than to clean an uncontrolled mess.

The best way to clean stone or brick is pressure washing the exterior. Pressure washing brick and stone siding is labor-intensive and requires a bit of specialized equipment. First and foremost, before you start cleaning a brick exterior, you will need to patch up any gaps and holes in the mortar. This way water won’t find its way through the brick and leak into the structure. Skipping this step is ill-advised, as water damage can cause even larger holes and damages to your building’s structure.

Once you’ve patched up the mortar, wet the brick and stone and start scrubbing in an appropriate type of detergent for home exteriors. Using the wrong detergent might cause dirt to stick onto the exterior even harder, causing permanent value loss for your home. Go lighter on the pressure washer, as the brick is a porous material and high-pressure can push the dirt further into the material. Scrub tough stains vigorously, and once everything is clean, you can go ahead and rinse the surface again.

Seal It Away

After cleaning your brick or stone and leaving it to dry, it is advisable to seal it with a silane- or siloxane-based sealant. This is a great way to protect your home for the future, as it prevents moisture from seeping into the brick, and can easily extend your exterior’s lifespan. In the event of a chemical or grease spill, having a quality sealant will also prevent these liquids from penetrating the surface of your masonry – meaning you won’t have to worry about nasty oil stains blacking out your walls.

As an added bonus, using the right sealant might actually help protect your home from the freeze-thaw cycle in winter. As the right sealant is more of a repellant than a sealant-proper, it allows masonry to breathe and regulate temperatures – thus preventing damage from water freezing between bricks and stone, and keeping heat from damaging materials.

Keep a Watchful Eye

One of the most important parts of protecting your home is to always watch out for damages to the exterior. While you’re outside, look around your home every so often and examine the structure of your siding. Catching a problem early will save you money in the long run. Here at Mr. Roof, our masonry contractors specialize in all types of exterior repairs, including masonry.