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jarrodbowles 04-26-2009 12:18 PM

Muratic acid on aluminum clad windows
I am gettting ready to clean 29,000 brick with muratic acid. I am getting mixed responses about wrapping my windows. It will be very difficult to put plastic around all of the windows. If the windows are wet and I use a 50/50 of Muratic acid and water will it damage Pella aluminum clad windows? Any response would be greatly appreciated.

nap 04-26-2009 01:57 PM

if you are a pro, you might want to head over to

I believe there is a forum for power washing. I know there are several very informed guys over there regardless.

Ron6519 04-26-2009 02:06 PM

Why are you cleaning brick with muriatic acid? What's on the brick that you need this chemical?
The windows would be the least of the issues. Vegetation, cars, people, etc...

nap 04-26-2009 02:10 PM

muriatic acid is commonly used on brick, at least on fresh brick to clean it after a build.

jarrodbowles 04-26-2009 02:36 PM

Brick cleaning
This is a new home, and the brick was laid in cold temperatures. We used torpedo heaters and tarps to keep the mortar from freezing. It took 6 weeks to complete this project, and the mortar joints are a little inconsistent in color and I need to clean some excess mortar off of a few of the bricks. This brick is called Old Charlotte a maroon color brick. Is there any potential for ruining the the aluminum clad on the window? Should it be covered with plastic? I think it will still get on the window seal even if it covered.

Ron6519 04-26-2009 02:45 PM

Acids etch things. I'd test it on both glass and painted aluminum before starting this endeavor.

jomama45 04-26-2009 03:05 PM

As a mason, I would never let muriatic get any where near today's windows. Too much chance of ruining the glass/cladding. Plus, you'd be alot safer using a Prosoco product like Detergent 600 or one of the many other products they have. Go to their site, they have alot of helpful info there.

nap 04-26-2009 05:52 PM

I'm an old guy

not a mason

I'd listen to the mason whose post is just above mine.

Muriatic acid at least used to be commonly used to power wash brick.

Tscarborough 04-26-2009 07:29 PM

Do not use muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is a waste product from the pickling of steel. It contains contaminants that can ruin your brick. Using it will void your warranty from the brick manufacturer, ruin your aluminum windows, and very possibly cause harm to you and your employees.

There are products on the market for cleaning freshly laid brick, and they will work on older mortar as well, but will require a lot more effort. My suggestion to you as a homeowner is to pay someone to do it correctly, or suffer the consequences.

I will not tell you how to do it, but I can assure you that if you do it your self, the results will probably turn out worse than what you have now. Some things are not DIY, and this is one of them.

NJ Brickie 04-26-2009 08:04 PM

Absolutely no muriatic acid. Like Tscar said the wrong product will void any warranty from the brick manufacturer. Different brick require different cleaning products. Why is the masonry company that laid the brick not cleaning them? I work for a large company (someone in the company washes our brick work) but when I do side work I would never let someone like a home owner wash down my brick work.

nap 04-26-2009 08:09 PM


Originally Posted by Tscarborough (Post 265943)
Do not use muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is a waste product from the pickling of steel. It contains contaminants that can ruin your brick. .

Huh? It may be used in pickling steel but what I buy is not leftover from that. I have virgin hydrochloric acid. Companies make it every day.

Not really trying to argue with you TS but I have seen it used on brick buildings for years.

there may be better products now for doing what the OP is doing but muriatic acid still has it's used in brick and concrete work from what I have seen.

Tscarborough 04-26-2009 09:07 PM

Muriatic acid is a 30% concentration of hydrochloric acid. You may well have "virgin" hydrocloric acid, but I seriously doubt it. Read the label and see what it contains beside hydrochloric acid and water. If it has anything else, it is not virgin, and I know of no such thing available in the consumer market.

FYI, the fact that something has been done incorrectly for 30 years does not make it right.

A couple of times a year I have the dubious pleasure of telling a brand new homeowner that the apple of their eye, the project they have poured their money and soul into is pretty much ruined (visually, and sometimes structurally) as far as the brick is concerned.

So you go ahead and continue to play russian roulette using a product that is not recommended by any reputable brick manufacturer, and I will continue to stick with the best practices.

nap 04-26-2009 10:38 PM

well, I can't prove you wrong tonight. I went out to look and the label has come off the ol' jug 'o acid.

Now, I don't know who is and who isn't a reputable brick manufacturer but this here company called Hanson Brick claims to be the largest brick manufacturer in North America. I would guess they might be considered to be reputable.

Now, here in their "technical faq's" , they do not seem to have a problem recommending muriatic acid to clean bricks. In their faq for new bricks, they do recommend Prosoco products but they seem to warn against using acid not because it is wrong but due to improper use, it can stain. That would mean it is a user problem and not a product problem and they are simply trying to avoid problems before they happen.

Now, while acid may not be the best method or currently recommended over some other products, they definately do not prohibit their use.

but, like I said, I'm not a mason and will defer to experience. Hanson Brick seems to have a lot of experience as they make about 1.7 BILLION bricks a year.

Tscarborough 04-27-2009 07:51 AM

The staining they discuss is from the contaminants in muriatic acid. It is operator error that causes most problems, so why recommend a product that is risky over one that is produced for the EXACT purpose for which you will use it? Wouldn't that tend to provide better results?

nap 04-27-2009 06:02 PM

fine, you win T. Although they specifically point to another reason for the staining, you win. It's not worth arguing to me.

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