Bricks have been used on the exterior of houses for many years because of their durability and long-lasting nature. They also give your home a beautiful and eye-catching look. But since they are a porous material, they need to be cleaned properly to avoid any water damage. With time, a brick surface catches a lot of pollution and dirt and needs to be cleaned to maintain its durability. A pressure washer is an excellent machine to clean a brick surface and get rid of dust and debris.
How many PSI to clean bricks:
In general, a brick surface is not as tough as concrete. I recommend cleaning them with 500 to 1500 psi and a GPM of 3. Cleaning bricks with a higher PSI setting can negatively affect the bricks and cause cracks in the surface. Bricks are more absorbent than concrete, so cleaning them with higher water pressure can increase moisture.
This article will show how many PSI is required to clean a brick surface without causing any damage. We also look at the preventive measures you must take when cleaning the surface with a pressure washer to make them last longer. And we will show the step-by-step procedure to wash the bricks efficiently.
- 1 How many PSI do I need to clean bricks, some helpful tips:
- 1.1 ● Effective PSI for washing bricks
- 1.2 ● Type of pressure washer: Hot or Cold
- 1.3 ● Changing the nozzle to make a pressure washer less or more powerful
- 2 Does pressure washing damage bricks?
- 3 How do you pressure wash bricks?
- 4 How often should I clean bricks?
How many PSI do I need to clean bricks, some helpful tips:
When cleaning bricks, it is crucial to keep your pressure washer at a low PSI setting. High water pressure can damage bricks and can even result in cracks. The recommended PSI rating for effective cleaning of bricks is between 500 to 1500 PSI with a GPM value of 3.
Bricks are usually installed outside your house and give it an aesthetic look. Bricks are durable and last long and do not require a lot of maintenance and attention. However, less attention does not mean any attention. Bricks catch a lot of dust and dirt. And cleaning them with your pressure washer keeps them clean and in good shape.
When pressure washing the brick surface, make sure to use a nozzle with a wide opening at the tip. A white 40-degree nozzle is a good option. The reason is to spread water evenly on the brick surface to cover the whole area. If the water coming out of the pressure washer’s nozzle is too focused, then it can increase the chance of damage to the surface. There are certain things that you must keep in mind to clean the bricks effectively.
● Effective PSI for washing bricks
PSI stands for “pounds per square inch”. This relates to the amount of water pressure coming out of the pressure washer’s nozzle. According to most builders, the pressure washer’s PSI should be in the range of 500 to 1000 PSI. It should never exceed 1500 PSI, or you can damage your bricks over time.
At 500 to 100 PSI, you will be able to remove the dust and stains from the surface. For tougher stains, you can use a power washer. That uses warm water at the same PSI and makes it easier to remove algae and color shadowing from the bricks. I recommend not to increase the PSI from your pressure washer.
The GPM (gallons per minute) rate also plays a role in cleaning the bricks effectively. GPM is defined as how much water is flowing through the pressure washer at any time. More water helps to clean faster. According to the experts, the recommended rate of GPM to clean bricks is 3 GPM.
● Type of pressure washer: Hot or Cold
Two types of pressure washers can be used to clean bricks: cold water pressure washers and hot water power washers. If you are on a limited budget, you should purchase a cold water pressure washer. Hot water power washers are much more expensive. But have the advantage of much better cleaning of bricks with tough oil and grease stains.
● Changing the nozzle to make a pressure washer less or more powerful
A pressure washer can be made more or less powerful by using the correct nozzle. Nozzles determine the angle of the water stream. A wide-angle means that the water is spread over a wider area but has lower pressure. A low angle gives a small spread with a higher pressure. If you want the highest output pressure, use the red 0-degree nozzle. For the lowest output pressure, it the black 65-degree nozzle.
These are the 5 main pressure washer nozzles, each with there own color:
– Red 0-degree nozzle:
A nozzle with a red tip represents the narrowest angle which is 0 degrees. This nozzle creates a water stream with the highest pressure. A red-tip nozzle can do a lot of damage and must be used with care. Do not use the red-tip nozzle close on any surface.
– Yellow 15-degree nozzle:
The yellow tip nozzle creates a water stream at an angle of 15 degrees. Use this nozzle for cleaning concrete surfaces.
– Green 25-degree nozzle:
Green tip nozzles spray water at the surface at an angle of 25 degrees. Use this nozzle to pressure wash your car, clean mildew accumulated on patios or decks, or other household pressure washing jobs.
– White 40-degree nozzle:
A Whitetip nozzle is used to clean windows or sidings with minimal dirt. It produces a water spray of 40 degrees. It is the most user-friendly nozzle and causes less damage.
– Black 65-degree nozzle:
Blacktip nozzles produce a water stream with a 65-degree angle. It is the nozzle with the lowest pressure and does not remove tough stains. It is more used to wet a surface.
Does pressure washing damage bricks?
Generally, you do not damage bricks with a pressure washer if you limit the pressure. Ensure that the output pressure is not larger than 1500 psi. Also, check the mortar between the bricks for any damage. Look for old mortar that is falling apart and needs repairing
A brick surface absorbs water because of its porous nature. When cleaning, you should avoid high-pressure water forcing its way into the bricks. This means limiting the psi. To still remove tougher stains, scrub the surface with a brush and some detergent. Do not try to remove those stains by constantly going over that area with high water pressure.
To protect the bricks, it is a good idea to seal them. Sealing helps to prevent water and dirt from seeping in. I recommended sealing them every three to four years. If you live in an area where there is a lot of pollution, pressure wash your bricks once a year and seal them every other year.
How do you pressure wash bricks?
Before washing the bricks’ surface, the first step is to check for any loose mortar. If you see some, repair it. If not, it will be washed away. If needed, cover any delicate surroundings with some tarp. Apply some detergent, and scrub the surface using a brush. This helps to remove tougher stains that else would require a high PSI setting. Use your pressure washer to clean the surface. Try to maintain a constant 12-inch distance between the washer’s nozzle and the bricks. The last step is to seal the surface using a suitable sealant. This helps to keep water and dirt from getting into the bricks.
Below the steps to clean your bricks with your pressure washer in more detail:
● Step 1: Repair the mortar
Before cleaning the bricks with the pressure washer, you need to examine the brick joints. It would be best to do this at least a week before cleaning. That gives enough time to repair and dry damaged areas. When you find weak spots, repair them with some fresh mortar. Wait for at least 7 days so that the mortar hardens completely. Fixing damaged areas is vital to prevent water from seeping into the brick joints and damaging them further.
● Step 2: Prepare the surface
Before pressure washing, you should sweep loose dirt from the surface. If you have any delicate areas near the brick wall, cover them with some tarp.
● Step 3: Apply detergent
After checking the mortar, it is time to start with cleaning. Check the wall for areas that are dirtier than other parts. Or have tough spots that need more attention. Because we do not use a high psi setting on your pressure washer, we will use detergent to help clean those areas. First, wet the whole area. You can use your pressure washer on its lowest setting with a Black 65-degree nozzle.
Spray the detergent onto the identified areas. Wait at least 5 minutes so that the detergent settles on the surface. Bricks are made from more porous material so that the detergent will soak in within 5 to 10 minutes. The combination of water and detergent will help loosen the dirt from the bricks and make them cleaner.
● Step 4: Scrub the tough stains
For really tough stains, you can use a brush to scrub them. Scrubbing helps the detergent make its way into the bricks to remove these tougher stains.
● Step 5: Pressure wash the surface
Now your surface is ready to be cleaned with your pressure washer. Change the soap tip with a green 25-degree nozzle. Pressure wash the surface by maintaining a constant 12-inch distance between the nozzle and surface. Move back and forth slowly on the surface to cover the whole area. Make sure you don’t spray one area for too long. Keep the stream of water moving so there won’t be too much pressure in one place.
● Step 6: Seal the surface
After cleaning the surface with your pressure washer, wait until the surface is fully dry. Than use a suitable waterproof sealer to seal your bricks. Use a roller for this. Wait at least 24 hours for the sealer to dry as well.
How often should I clean bricks?
It is recommended that you wash your brick surface once every year and seal the wall every other year. Sealing helps to prevent water and dirt from seeping in.