Using reclaimed brick will add a touch of nostalgia to any project. Even so, most reclaimed bricks are in less-than-perfect condition, and will therefore require a bit of preparation beforehand, as well as some reclaimed brick maintenance afterward. Learning how to clean old brick pavers to get them ready for use is easy when you follow these steps.
#1. Sort Bricks by Size and Shape
A load of reclaimed bricks will probably contain pavers of various shapes and sizes. You may have flat, round or angled bricks, in addition to regular and half-sized ones. Separating the various sizes and shapes will help you better plan your project and ensure you have enough material on hand to complete it. While you are separating bricks, place any that have mortar stuck to them in a separate pile so that it can be removed first.
#2. Remove Stuck-On Mortar
Using a mason’s hammer, gently tap the mortar deposit to remove it. You may need to do this several times in order to remove very large or stubborn large deposits. Follow this by scrubbing your brick vigorously with a wire brush or a rubbing rock. Rinse thoroughly to ensure all mortar is removed.
#3. Clean Bricks with Muriatic Acid
Perform this step outdoors in a well ventilated area, preferably in partial shade. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves to prevent the solution from coming into contact with your skin and eyes. Prepare a muriatic acid solution in a ratio of 3:1 and place in a garden sprayer. Using a sweeping side-to-side motion, spray the top and sides of your bricks until they are thoroughly doused. Allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes so the solution will have plenty of time to work.
#4. Rinse and Repeat
Once the allotted time has expired, rinse your bricks thoroughly using only clear water. Be careful to do this in an area where the runoff will not affect storm drains. Next, turn your bricks over and spray the other side with the same muriatic acid solution you used on the front. Allow another 15 to 20 minutes for the solution to penetrate, then rinse the back side as well.
#5. Check your Results
Once the bricks have completely dried, you can then inspect them to see if any will require a second cleaning. If there are small spots remaining, you can remove them by hand scrubbing. However, you could need to spray larger stains with muriatic acid again. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to completely remove all stains. Some will have set over time, and are simply part of the brick’s charm and character. However, your bricks should be completely free of mold, moss, and mildew.
#6. Add Sealant to the Pavers
Protect your pavers by adding sealant, which will help prevent future stains. Brick sealant can simply be painted on using a regular paintbrush or a paint roller. Depending upon the size of your project, you may want to complete this step once it is finished. It is often easier to roll or paint a larger surface than it is to apply sealant to only one brick at a time.
#7. Maintaining Your Brick Pavers
Regular cleaning is needed in order to keep your pavers looking their best. Pressure washing them once or twice each year using mild detergent is normally enough to eliminate grime and restore shine.
Reclaimed brick pavers are useful for a number of projects big and small. So long as you prepare them properly, you will find there is virtually no end to the possibilities you will find for used pavers. To see a huge selection of brick pavers that are perfect for nearly any use, please feel free to contact us.