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Old 08-11-2012, 06:44 PM   #1
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cleaning old brick

i am restoring a couple of old brick walls for exposure. 100 y.o. i have removed the old mortar joints with a grinder and a special blade and will tuckpoint new mortar. i have also cleaned the residue sand/mortar with a cup brush attachment for a grinder and they look beautiful.

since i know i will need cleaning them again after tuckpointing, i was wondering if i do it with muriatic acid to remove the residue from brick, can it damage the new mortar joints? or should i use TSP.

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Old 08-12-2012, 09:52 AM   #2
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cleaning old brick

Muriatic (Hydrochloric) acid is an efficient cleaner of mortar stains off brickwork. Safest compromise solution is about 10% with water.
Once the new mortar has set thoroughly, clean any residue by scrubbing on the solution with a bristle brush. You will see the stains froth up and gradually disappear. Persistent/heavy stains may need further applications.

Be careful because even a 10% solution will sting if it gets on your hands (use rubber gloves) and make sure it is washed off with plenty of water.
After drying out, the bricks may show some white salt deposit but this can be brushed off dry. Don't let it run on to other surfaces such as paintwork, glass or concrete.

Some older, soft bricks can be damaged by this stuff so best do a small test in an inconspicuous area first.
(not had any experience of TSP).

Last edited by tony.g; 08-12-2012 at 09:54 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #3
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cleaning old brick

i think white vinegar works for those white stains (the cheapest kind in the supermarket)
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Old 08-12-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
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cleaning old brick

just caught a diy/hgtv rehab show and they were redoing a red brick interior. they did the acid water spray then used another brick have the acid work the bricks against each other...

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Old 08-12-2012, 03:17 PM   #5
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cleaning old brick

If you are carefull you won't need to clean them after repointing.
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
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cleaning old brick

Originally Posted by stuart45 View Post
If you are carefull you won't need to clean them after repointing.
i am not careful. and if everything were perfect, i wouldn't need to ask questions in this forum.
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:02 PM   #7
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cleaning old brick

I live in a brick house that was built in 1924 (Arizona). Pressure cleaning cannot be too harsh. After repairing missing grout, I found that Aldon products helped me tremendously and worked better than the muriatic acid that can be too harsh. In fact, if I had the workmen use proper Aldon product to begin with, the cleanup would have been a breeze and the ugly, dirty smudges would have come off easily. The bricks are soft fire kiln bricks made in 1923, so gentle is the word!
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