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For Rural and City Living
Cleaning Mortar from Rock or Brick
Nothing can ruin the beautiful appearance of freshly laid rock or brick than smears of mortar. Waiting too long to clean the brick can result in permanently damaging the brick face by clean with a chisel and a mis placed hammer blow. By following a basic process you can clean mortar off of brick.
Masonry blunt chisel
Rub the brick face with the bristle brush a few hours after the last bit of mortar was placed in the joints. Pay attention to the mortar joints so the bristles do not come in contact with the fresh mortar so as not to mar the smooth finish. The goal is to remove only the heaviest of mortar clumps from the brick.
Use the bristle brush with the clean water and thoroughly brush the entire surface the following morning of laying the brick. This method will aid in removing any left over light smears of mortar on the brick face. The mortar joints will be sufficiently set and any light mortar coatings on the brick should be easily removed with plenty of water.
Use the masonry hammer and blunt chisel on mortar that has set too long. Grasp the blunt chisel in one hand and lay the strike face of the chisel parallel to the surface of the brick. You will want as low of an angle as possible to only strike the mortar and not the surface of the brick.
Strike the end of the chisel with the hammer in short light blows. Only take small hits with the hammer against the chisel to remove small portions of the errant mortar. Pay careful attention so as not to strike against the brick surface or else the finish on the brick will be permanently damaged.
Use the steel brush to remove any left over hard clumps of mortar that are left behind from the chisel process. This will take some time to perform and some real elbow grease. Once the brick is relatively clean, with little or no heavy mortar clumps, use the bristle brush and clean water method for removing any left offer surface smears of mortar.
Words to the Wise:
You can place plastic over previously laid brick to minimize the cleaning later.
The use of muriatic acid should be used in extreme cases and strict safety precautions should be followed when using this caustic chemical.
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Kat and Kevin Yares
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