Masonry Cleaning & Sealing

What's that white junk? The white film that forms on masonry and pvers is efflorescence, natural salts in the bricks and / or mortar that have dried on the surface. It will come off with wear, or with a special mild cleaner.

The four steps to get your project started:

TRY simple things first. Rinse and gently scrub with plain water first. Then try non-abrasive household cleaners. If you’re pretty sure the dirt is mold or moss, kill it with bleach, then clean it.

IDENTIFY the dirt. Is It…

  • Mortar from installation (and, if so, how old is it)? Get a sample (or a picture) of the material and the stuff you want to remove. If it is very dry (a few weeks old, or more) and fairly thick, you may be able to knock it off with a stiff brush. Try vinegar and water, and note what happens. Be careful not to smear the stain around. Acid might be the answer, but NOT for some bricks, and NOT for many kinds of stone.
  • A white film that appears in the first few months after installation, seems to disappear in the wet, and shows again as soon as it dries? That’s efflorescence, salts from the masonry itself which are carried to the surface by moisture and deposited during evaporation. Special cleaners can help.
  • Rust, rubber, grease or oil. Try a little dish detergent, and note what happens. Special cleaners can help.

VISIT us to talk about possible solutions.
TEST a small area that is relatively hidden from view.

The right sealer will help beautify and protect any masonry job, primarily by increasing resistance to water and the dirt and stains water brings in during natural absorption. Keeping water out is good, but be careful not to trap it: in most cases you should use a breathable sealer that allows vapor transmission. Even humidity from the indoors can damage masonry if it gets trapped on the outside surface.

Acid is not the answer! Muriatic acid removes mortar, but it will also dissolve the fancy face on new bricks, the surface of any concrete - including pavers - and many kinds of stone, because it reacts with anything alkaline. Using acid is like cleaning your coffee table with sandpaper. Look for a cleaner that dissolves the dirt, and that is recommended for your masonry material.