Used brick should not be looked upon as a second-hand or a defective building material. Used brick doesn’t present any degree of risk. Bricks are a very durable entity and are meant to last for decades. Used bricks are being increasingly used due to their contribution to the environment and the aesthetics of a brick-based project. Bricks form a large part of materials dumped in landfill sites. Thus, employing used bricks contributes towards conserving our natural resources.
Secondly, many landscapers often insist upon sourcing used bricks only. This is because the slightly-older/used bricks have a different color hue. This is often used to create contrasting brick borders in the outdoors. Some homeowners insist upon used bricks for establishing a unique, weathered look in their outdoors. And yes, employing used bricks for small, home-improvement projects is the easiest way to save some money.
Step 1—Understanding Cleaning Demands
It is important that you differentiate the kind of cleaning challenge that a used brick presents. This is because stains and mortar deposits are cleaned in different ways. While stains are removed with specific solutions, debris and mortar deposits can be cleaned with basic tools. After segregating the bricks according to such parameters, proceed with the appropriate form of cleaning.
Step 2—Cleaning Mortar Deposits/Debris
Use a mason’s hammer to knock-off the thick, mortar deposits. Hammer lightly to avoid damage to the brick. To remove the finer deposits, use an industrial abrasive agent. You can use rubbing rock that is sold at hardware stores. Rinse the brick repeatedly to remove the loosened debris. For further cleaning the brick, use a metal-wire brush. This is an ideal way to brush-off the stubborn mortar/cement deposits.
Step 3—Cleaning Mildew/Mold from Used Bricks
The best way to get rid of mold or mildew deposits is to clean the bricks with a bleach solution. Chlorine bleach is recommended for this purpose.
Spraying Used Bricks with Bleach Solution
Prepare a solution by mixing three to four teaspoons of chlorine bleach in a bucket filled with water. For thoroughly cleaning the bricks, you should spray the bricks with the solution. For this, pour the bleach solution into a garden sprayer. Spray this solution onto the used bricks.
Rinsing Bleached Bricks
When the bricks seem drenched with the solution, stop and wait for about an hour. Spray tap-water over the bricks, using the garden hose. The rinsing should be thorough since bleach tends to form deposits within the crevices of the bricks.
Step 4—Cleaning Mortar/Rust Stains from Used Bricks
Wearing gloves for this cleaning regimen is seriously recommended since the acidic solution can harm the skin.
Preparing Cleaning Solution
Use muriatic acid instead of regular bleaching solutions. This is a strong cleaning acid, used among certain industrial detergents. Prepare the solution by mixing tap-water and the acid in a ratio of 3:1. Fill the solution into a garden sprayer.
Cleaning Used Bricks
Wet the used bricks with a garden hose. Using the garden sprayer, spray the prepared solution onto the moist bricks. Leave the bricks for about 10 to 15 minutes. During this interval, the acid acts upon the mortar and rust stains.
Rinsing Bleached Bricks
Thoroughly rinse the bricks. Using the garden hose, rinse the bricks until the water dripping from the bricks shows no sign of foaming.