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Upkeep and Maintenance of Brick Homes

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Within the past 75 years, most brick homes built in the USA are stick built (wood) homes with brick veneer.
They are built for economic reasons because they cost less than solid brick. People like brick homes because
of the sturdy structure, aesthetic appeal, low maintenance, return on investment, and good resale value.
The longevity of a brick veneer home depends upon the quality of construction, weather, and timely
maintenance. If you want your brick veneer home to last a long time, it requires maintenance and upkeep. If
there is severe damage to the brick veneer, hire an experienced masonry professional to perform tuck pointing
repair. Skilled DIY homeowners can tackle some of the minor maintenance and upkeep on a brick home.

Occasional cleaning, tuck pointing, joint repair, and water damage spot checks are part of brick maintenance.
Annual maintenance tasks include removing loose dirt with a brush or vacuum. Or, remove dirt by spraying with
water from a garden hose or a spray bottle. Check for moss and mold or mildew growth in areas that receive
very little to no sunlight. Remove vegetation close to the structure that causes moisture and blocks sunlight.

Several cleaning methods and solutions can be used to remove mold from brick. Some involve chemicals which
are harmful to people and the brick veneer. To remove mold and mildew, first, spray the brick with water. Next,
use a solution of one cup of bleach to a gallon of water and a nylon scrub brush to remove mold from problem
areas. Try using a solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. If you choose to use vinegar, neutralize the
acid with an alkaline solution such as diluted ammonia. Exercise extreme caution because ammonia fumes are
harsh and dangerous. As previously mentioned, using harsh cleaning chemicals like boric acid or muriatic acid
can be dangerous. Using chemicals is best left to trained professionals to perform the cleaning task.

Another less harmful cleaning method includes using baking soda and dish detergent. Mix a thin paste by using
3 tablespoons of dish soap to ½ cup baking soda. For best results, use a sponge. Or, use a nylon or natural
bristle brush. Scrub off the mold and rinse. Use protective eyewear and gloves. Never use a wire brush to clean
brick. Wire brushes will leave traces of metal which cause rust. Eventually, the rust causes discoloration of the
brick veneer. Check for water damage and repair the damaged mortar.

St. Louis Tuck Point Co.

Perform tuck pointing, aka re-pointing, in areas that have severe water damage where the mortar is cracked or
missing. If possible, the mortar used to repair the damage should match the original color of the mortar. If you
choose to use a power washer, proceed with caution. Incorrectly used, power washing can damage brick
mortar. Avoid using harsh chemicals on the brick because it damages the brick as well as surrounding wood
and glass. For chemical cleaning, hire a professional to perform the brick cleaning and repair tasks.