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Brickwork

Blast cleaning is an excellent way of removing dirt and some types of paint from brickwork, whilst reducing ongoing maintenance costs because painted external walls need to be repainted at regular intervals.  Sometimes we reveal some lovely feature brickwork that has been covered by paint for many years.    In the past, painting brickwork was useful for providing waterproofing on porous bricks, however, unless it is well maintained little cracks often appear and let tiny amounts of wind driven rain in behind the paint.  It gradually builds up but the wall can’t breath so the trapped water has nowhere to go. Dampness is the result with frost damage likely too; the faces of the bricks spall and fall away exposing more of the wall to absorb water.  And so it goes on.  Nowadays it is possible to reveal the natural colour of brickwork and then apply a clear, vapour permeable water resistant barrier product that will give the same protection whist leaving the bricks visible.  Don’t be tempted to use silicone, it will stop the water penetration but it will also trap the damp in the wall and cause all kinds of problems.  We can advise on suitable products to be applied after we have cleaned the bricks, stone or render.

Modern plasticised paints are much more difficult to remove because they don’t chip, they tend to smear and usually it is the surface below the paint that give up and crumbles before the paint does. This leads to damage to the substrate and often patchy unevenness. Chemical applications will often break down the paint and the residues are then much thinner and can be blasted with much less vigour, thus preserving the brick or stonework.

It is often the case that the mortar joints have more paint on them than the brick / stonework and it is better adhered to the rough texture of the mortar. Blasting it out of the joints may not be the best way because it risks damage to the bricks.  We have other ways of approaching these sort of problems.

Whitewash inside a building generally can be removed fairly easily and if modern paint is on top of the limewash it acts like a release agent and makes the removal easier. Lime wash on the outside of a building is a big problem.  On damp surfaces it becomes like a layer of calcium on the surface, it is hard and very well adhered to the brick / stone.  It wont come off with even neat acid, it wont blast off in most cases without damage, so is the most difficult to deal with of all. We can usually remove it by another treatment.