Beautiful brick exteriors can deteriorate over time. If you own an old brick building you need to take care of it.

Putting repair and care to one side can lead to bricks getting damaged or crumbling. Your old brick building could be at risk if you don’t take care of it.

There are some easy things you can do to restore the brick exterior. For some restoration, though, you’ll need to call in the pros.

7 tips will help you preserve and restore your brick building

1. Keep an Eye on Things

It’s important to check your brickwork at least once a year. If you keep an eye on the condition of the brick you’ll be able to see when work needs to be done. Preventative work, like regular cleaning, is better than massive restoration.

You can use a garden hose once a year to wash off the brick. This will keep avoid dirt building up over time. Excess dirt on brick can lead to issues such as mold starting to cover the brick.

2. Repointing an Old Brick Building

If during your yearly checks, you see that the mortar is crumbling in between bricks, you should repoint the mortar.

Carefully remove the damaged mortar. You don’t want to damage the surrounding bricks or the good mortar around the mortar you need to repoint.

Scrape the mortar away. Remove mortar twice as deep as it is wide. If you only apply mortar to the surface of the joint or brick, it will fall away.

Gradually apply the mortar in layers. This will ensure the mortar holds and is strong.

Matching mortar on older brick homes is the trickiest part. You might want to have a contractor assess the mortar for you so that you can match it. A contractor will take a small sample of the mortar and crush and dissolve it to find what it is made of.

3. Dealing with Water Damage

There isn’t much you can do to stop water damage. Rain and groundwater will eventually damage brickwork.

Pay close attention to water damage when you inspect your brickwork each year. From time to time, you will need to repoint mortar where water has caused it to erode. Or you’ll have to clean things off if you start to see brick staining.

If you don’t fix the mortar on a regular basis, water will get in between the bricks, freeze, and expand. If it does that, you could end up with cracked and broken bricks. You’ll then have to replace the bricks, which is harder and costlier than mortar reporting.

4. Getting Rid of Moss, Mold, and Mildew

If you find mold, mildew, or moss on your bricks, you should clean it off as soon as possible. If you leave these things on the brick, they will eventually damage the brickwork. You’ll then have to replace the bricks.

The easiest way to get rid of moss, mold, or mildew is to clean it off with a bleach-water solution. Mix one cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Soak the brick with plain water, then carefully brush the brick with the bleach solution using a soft, non-wire brush.

5. Removing Paint from an Old Brick Building

If your old brick building was painted at some point in the past and you want to remove the paint, you’re going to need to call a professional. There’s no easy way to get the paint off the brick. A professional will use a chemical solution to wash it off.

Do not try to sandblast the brick yourself. Don’t use a power washer either. These techniques will damage the brick underneath the paint.

6. Remove and Replace Damaged Bricks

If you discover that the bricks themselves are damaged it’s time to replace the bricks. Look for cracks in bricks or bricks that have crumbled around the edges.

There are a number of ways you can fix bricks. One option is to cut the brick out, turn it around, and repoint the mortar to seal it back in. This works if the brick is crumbling but not cracked.

If the brick is cracked or broken, you’ll need to cut it out and replace it. Matching the brick to those in your old brick building can be tricky. Avoid replacing bricks with salvaged bricks as they may be damaged themselves.

Replacing bricks is hard and skilled work. If you don’t feel confident about your ability to do this, call in a professional contractor. Look for one who has experience working with old brick buildings.

7. Get a Pro to Install Masonry Anchors

The way old brick buildings were constructed can sometimes leave them susceptible to bulging and warping. If you discover that your home has bulging or warped walls it’s time to get a professional in.

One of the most common ways to fix bulging brick walls is to install steel masonry anchors. This is a complicated process and if you don’t know how to do this, you should use a professional. You can do more damage to the structural integrity of the wall than it already has with the bulge.

Keep Your Old Brick Building Looking Beautiful

The key thing to remember if you want your old brick building to stay strong and beautiful is that you need to check it at least once a year. Keeping an eye on it will allow you to fix minor issues before they become expensive, major problems.

Repointing and cleaning are things most people who are a little handy can take on themselves. But more skilled work such as replacing bricks or removing paint is something for a pro.

With a little care and love, you’ll keep your brickwork healthy and attractive for years.

For more tips and ideas about how to care for your home, visit our blog regularly. We’ve got you covered on everything from interiors to exteriors and from design ideas to DIY projects.

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