For centuries, beautiful brick façades have remained some of the most sought after features of many homeowners. Exterior bricks provide charm, character, and an undeniably classic aesthetic. While brick is a very durable building material, it must still be maintained nonetheless. A well-maintained brick exterior will leave the home looking brand new even if it was built many years ago. Here are just a few suggestions on how to preserve the longevity of a brick exterior. For additional questions contact an exterior painter near you who can provide even more insight into how to take care of a brick home.
As with any exterior feature, bricks should be properly cared for to maintain their charm. Luckily brick is fairly easy to take care of. One of the easiest ways to clean brick is to regularly spray it down with a garden hose to release any loose debris, dirt, or grime that begins to accumulate. This can be done as a part of the homeowner’s normal yard work schedule. On the other hand, a more in-depth approach to caring for brick exteriors includes a yearly walk around the home, where the homeowner checks for the following:
- Window Encasement. Pay close attention to the openings around windows. Make sure the caulking between the brick and the window is securely in place. Over time, re-caulking may be necessary, at least once per year for the most effective and structurally sound window encasement.
- Over-hangings. Another area where bricks may deteriorate is near over-hangings. Pay close attention to any gaps between the over-hanging and the brick exterior. Such gaps should be addressed as soon as possible to maintain the integrity of the brick adjacent the over-hanging.
- Check the masonry joints between each brick. Sometimes masonry will weaken over time. It may become soft; it may crack or otherwise become damaged with years of exposure to the outside elements. “Repointing” is the process of filling in the masonry joints and it requires mortar to be applied carefully between the damaged joints. Standard repointing should be done every 5-10 years for the best results. The old mortar must be carefully removed and new mortar added in. Layering new mortar over older, damaged mortar will only result in more damage. Consult with an exterior painter near you for additional information on repointing techniques.
- Water Damage. Also, be mindful of water damage. This is because rain water tends to effect mortar over time. Rain can cause the mortar to become loose and cracked from continual beatings from storms. For instance, once the water dries and evaporates, or if it continually freezes and re-freezes during colder months, the mortar will eventually deteriorate. For homeowners who notice any damage to the mortar contact a professional immediately to assess the need for repointing.
Painted Brick Exteriors
The same level of attention and care is required for bricks that have been painted. Although exterior paint adds an extra layer of protection to the brick, shielding it from direct exposure to the elements, painted brick must still be monitored for normal wear and tear. Painted brick may still have a build-up of mildew, moss and grime that accumulates over time so it is important to give painted brick a quick wash with the garden hose while completing regular chores in the yard. It is important to note that painted brick should never be cleaned with a power washer! A power washer, although excellent for other exteriors, will destroy the mortar between the brick and even damage the brick itself, chipping it away much faster than a standard hose rinse.
It is also important to mention that paint removal from a brick exterior can be a tedious process. Most professional painters will use chemical treatments to strip the paint. This is often the best way to preserve the brick without causing damage. A professional painter will spot test a small area of the brick prior to treating the entire home. This will prevent extensive damage, especially when it comes to bricks on much older homes.
From colonial homes to more traditional ones, brick is a popular and timeless finish to any home’s exterior. For homeowners who have committed to a home with a brick exterior, the beauty and charm of the home will last a lifetime. As with any home, the exterior must be maintained. However, even though brick is virtually maintenance free, it should still be checked and cleaned on a regular basis to preserve it. This also applies to painted brick.
To learn more about caring for a brick exterior as well as ways to keep the brick looking new and young, contact a house painter in NJ for additional information.