Complete Guide To Refurbishing Brick

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Because masonry is durable and can last over 100 years, sometimes the brick in your home or building may fade or lose its aesthetic appeal. Though masonry is strong and durable, nothing is completely maintenance free! Proper maintenance can help ensure that your bricks look great for decades to come. This guide will help you learn how to refurbish bricks, how much time and what equipment is necessary, and more! For more information about masonry projects, contact the experts at Royal Masonry today! 

Refurbishing Brick - How Long Will It Take?

It can be difficult to estimate the exact time it will take to refurbish your brick.

The amount of time needed depends on a number of factors including who is refurbishing (DIY vs contractor), the amount of brick, and how extensive the damage is

In general, you can estimate that the entire process will take at least 3-4 days, as the sealer used to add colour to old brick can take up to 72 hours to dry. For the inexperienced handyman or those with a lot of brickwork to cover, refurbishing can take a few weeks to complete. 

When working with a masonry expert, refurbishing projects can take significantly less time - potentially only a day or two. Experts know exactly how to fix and refurbish, and may even use a faster-dry dealer or product that requires less time to set in.

Materials Needed For Your Project

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If you're considering refurbishing your brick wall, it's important to have all the materials needed ready to go before you begin the project. It can be discouraging to start your project, only to realize an essential tool is nowhere to be found! Here are the materials you will need (or should at least have on hand) for a refurbishing project: 

  • Hammer
  • Flat Utility Chisel
  • Whisk Broom
  • Wheel Rake
  • Work Gloves & Goggles 
  • Brick Trowel
  • Pointing Trowel
  • Mortar Mix
  • Contouring Tools
  • Masonry Cleaner

Source - baldeagalconstruction.com

Refurbishing Brick - A Step-By-Step Process

These two simple step-by-step guides will show you all of the important steps you should take when refurbishing brick - either a simple colour restoration or a more extensive repair & refurbish. Check out the video below to learn more about masonry cleaning products and methods for cleaning your indoor and outdoor brick.

 
 

Note: Not all materials are the same. Some kinds of mortar may negatively interact with existing mortar - so it's important you find out what kind of mortar you have before you begin the process. 

Simple Refurbishing Process

This guide will teach you how to simply refurbish bricks that may be old, have lost their colour, and look dull or aged. 

Step 1 - Gather Your Materials

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Get out a pencil and some paper and write down all of the materials listed above.

Depending on how much work you are planning to do and the extent of damage to your bricks, you may not need every item listed.

However, it is a good idea to be prepared and have all potentially necessary materials on hand before you begin. 

Step 2 - Clean Your Bricks

Before you begin any more invasive refurbishing, you'll want to make sure you spend time cleaning your bricks. This helps ensure that debris or other tiny particles don't become a bigger problem during this process. Cleaning with soap and water won't get the job done. You'll need to get out your masonry cleaning product and begin cleaning with that specialized product.

For these specialized cleaning products, It's always best to rely on the knowledge from a masonry expert rather than a salesperson at a hardware store. An experienced stonemason will ensure the product you purchase works well with your existing brick and mortar. 

Step 3 - Apply Your Sealer 

Apply a clear-coat sealer to your masonry wherever it needs refurbishing. This sealer will bring out the colour in your bricks once again, making it look newer and brighter.

For small areas, you can use a paintbrush. For larger areas, you can consider a pneumatic sprayer. Remember that every type and brand of sealer works differently. Follow the instructions and leave it to dry for the amount of time suggested on the product. 

Step 4 - Let It Dry!

As mentioned above, the next step simply involves letting your sealer dry. Moving on to the next step too quickly can cause more harm than good. Keep your bricks safe from damage and leave them alone. It may take 24-72 hours to dry, depending on your particular sealer. 

Step 5 - Paint Your Bricks

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Some bricks on homes or buildings may be so old that sealer alone doesn't help. In that case, you'll want to take the time to paint your bricks.

You can also use a concrete stain instead of paint. Whatever you choose, make sure you consult a professional before painting.

A professional will help you determine whether the product is safe for bricks and won't cause damage to your existing structure. 

Summary Infographic:

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Extensive Refurbishing Process

This refurbishing process requires more of the materials listed above and provides more extensive repair and refurbishing steps for brick that has become damaged and dull over time. 

Step 1 - Gather Your Materials

Follow the same process as the step 1 above.

Step 2 - Clean Your Bricks

Follow the same process as the step 2 above.

Step 3 - Remove Old Mortar

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Using your hammer or chisel, remove the old and damaged mortar by slowly chipping it out. Some damage is only surface level, which will be easier for the average DIY-er to work with.

Other damage goes quite deep and may require more extensive chipping and removal. Brush out any loose particles to ensure the area remains debris-free. 

Step 4 - Mix Mortar & Fill In Joints

Follow the instructions on your mortar mix and continue stirring until it is ready. The mix should be relatively thick. Mortar can dry out quickly, so only mix a small amount at a time to avoid waste. 

Use your brick trowel to push the new mortar into the bricks - but don't use too much! You don't want excess mortar showing. Don't rush as you fill it in, it's better to stay slow and steady. 

Step 5 - Push The Mortar In

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Using your pointed trowel or another pointing tool you have on hand, push the mortar in between your bricks. 

A trowel is the ideal tool for the job as it has both a pointed tip and a large, flat surface. 

Once you've done this, be sure to remove the excess mortar with your mortar brush.

(Optional) Step 6 - Complete The Simple Refurbishing Process

Once your mortar has set and everything looks good, you can also refurbish your bricks by adding sealer and paint if your bricks look dull and discoloured. Completing both of these steps will ensure that your mortar looks great (which in turn helps your brick look great) and that the actual brick themselves look newer and beautiful!

Are your bricks worn down and peeling? Worried about them getting worse? Check out our guide on repairing brick face peeling here!

DIY Or Hire A Masonry Expert?

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For the average DIY-er or handyman, it is possible to complete brick refurbishing projects on your own. You will have to ensure you already own or are willing to purchase the right materials. If you don't use the right kind of mortar, sealer, paint, or tools, you risk causing significant damage to your bricks.

If you are willing to invest all the research, time, effort, and money into finding the right tools and following the right process, and you like DIY projects, then you may enjoy a DIY refurbishing process. This is especially true for a more simple restoration.

However, working with mortar or refurbishing large portions of your home or building can be a challenge for even experienced DIY-ers. A masonry expert will know all of the do's and don'ts of brick refurbishing and restoration.

An experienced stonemason will have all the right tools and products on hand to get the job done - likely much quicker than the average homeowner! They will also know how to deal with issues such as efflorescence and problems with missing bricks.

Royal Masonry - Choose The Trusted Professionals

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The team at Royal Masonry has built a solid reputation for superior customer service and the highest quality stone masonry craftsmanship in Southern Ontario. Our mission is to provide you with the best quality workmanship at the right price. You can be certain that we will get the job done right the first time.

Our professional approach and superior customer service mean that you can relax in the knowledge that your project is in safe hands. Trust the experts at Royal Masonry with any masonry service you require. Contact us today and find out for yourself why our customers highly recommend us to their friends and family.

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