Keeping up with the exterior masonry of your office or building may not be the most thrilling task, but it is vital. Regular upkeep makes your house look great and allows you to identify and fix potential problems before they become expensive repairs.
Many offices choose brick and stone siding for their homes because of its beauty and low maintenance. However, just because the upkeep isn’t tricky doesn’t mean you won’t encounter challenges. Brick, natural stone, and similar surfaces are susceptible to damage from the elements, and improper care can lead to later costly repairs or replacements.
Here are care tips to help you maintain your building’s exterior masonry.
Care Tip #1: Patch Mortar
Before you think about cleaning and sealing your bricks, you want to check for any damage and repair it. Inspect the mortar joints between bricks for any cracks or holes, and chisel out and brush away any loose mortar—mix new mortar and patch up the damaged areas.
Do these repairs at least a week before you plan to clean and seal so that the repairs have plenty of time to dry.
Care Tip #2: Consistent Cleaning
The good news is that you can easily clean brick and exterior stone. Most of the time, you only need a pressure-sprayer and the right cleaner. Sometimes, though, you might need to put in a little elbow grease and use a brush.
When cleaning natural stone and brick, use less pressure and rely more on the detergent. First, wet the masonry, and then apply the cleaning agent. You must find a cleaner safe for your particular stone, staining, and sealant.
Let the cleaner stay for ten minutes before using a pressure washer to rinse it. Use a lower to medium setting to avoid damaging the mortar or stone’s face. If there are any stains left, brush them away.
To clean mildew stains, use a bleach solution. A one-cup mixture of bleach per one gallon of water will usually work.
Care Tip #3: Sealant Solution
Despite its durability, water damage is still a primary concern for exterior masonry, but probably not in the way you think. While standing water or continual rain can erode natural stone and brick and cause the mortar joints to crack over time, the real danger to masonry lies in the freeze and thaw cycles during the colder winter months. This is why it’s crucial to seal masonry.
Use the correct sealant. Look for siloxane-based or silane-based adhesives, and permanently remove old sealants before applying a new bond. Make sure that the masonry is clean before you seal it. In most cases, you’ll want to have an expert do the sealing because it can be disastrous if done incorrectly.
Care Tip #4: Regular Inspection
It’s essential to regularly inspect your building’s exterior masonry for cracks, holes, powdery deposits, mildew, rust stains, bulges, or flaking. Ignoring these issues can lead to much more severe problems later on. If you see any of these issues, fix them immediately. Otherwise, the situation could get worse.
If you need help with these tasks, it’s best to contact a professional with exterior masonry like Forza Construction Services! We’re a group of expert contractors who can create envelope and exterior finishes. Find out more on our website!