Monday, November 11, 2013

Before & After Brick Maintenance - a Transformation!

I cannot believe I was so hesitant to let my husband clean my brick porch and walks have my brick cleaned! Look at these amazing BEFORE and AFTER photos (not retouched!), with just the use of water:
BEFORE & AFTER:  Front Porch & Walkway
BEFORE & AFTER:  Front Low Wall and Concrete Capstones
BEFORE & AFTER:  Garden Landscape Walls (Top 1-2' Sections)
Pretty amazing, huh?  The brick shown in the above photos was just ten years old, and had accumulated the moss and mold from repeated weather and exposure.  We hired the masons who originally installed our porch and landscape walls to restore the brick, and they used ONLY water with the high pressure hose on a low setting, using continuous, methodical sweeps on the brick pictured above.

For our courtyard and areas between the house and garage (original installation over 25 years ago), it was necessary to use a restorative cleaner in the water to eliminate the buildup of the mold.  We also had some bricks that we knew needed some mortar work before we even started with the cleaning - yet another reason to have the masons do the work.  Look at these results (below) -no more slip and slide! 
BEFORE, DURING & AFTER:  Courtyard Walkway
BEFORE & AFTER:  Brick Walkway Between Structures
And I snapped a photo of the additive they used, just in case some of you DIYers want to tackle the tough stuff yourselves.  It says POISON right on the label - that's enough for me.  The foreman told me it neutralizes once water hits it, but I was happy they didn't use this stuff anywhere too near my landscape (which had been put to bed the week prior to their work beginning as part of my plan).
Additive to pressure cleaning (sitting on nasty-looking BEFORE brick pavers)
Photo Illusion:  Worker on wall appears to be miniature in stature.  He is actually on a wall 50' in the distance!
Originally, I wanted to leave the brick as it was, thinking it was full of character, like something from Savannah or New Orleans.  Plus, I had visions of my husband blasting mortar out of the brick and seeing it ricocheting into windows, with a smearing of sand and mold sprayed onto doors and under thresholds if he tackled the job.  Being able to get the brick contractors back felt like I had hit the jackpot - it's so hard just getting ANY contractor to show up, let alone the same ones you had ten years ago!  And seeing the results has convinced me that, in the long run, it's best to keep the brick maintained by cleaning, so that we won't be prematurely replacing large sections of the original work. Guess we're good for another ten years, and we'll leave the moss-covered brick walls for the deep South.

We've nearly finished our Fall checklist:  landscape tree branch trimming, plumbing upgrades, landscape maintenance, and the brick cleaning / maintenance.  Not to mention my daughter's wedding!  To be honest, I may or may not have pulled the wedding card a time or two to get my contractors' schedulers promise to get various work completed in a timely way.  ;D

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