In an article, “New Rules for Cleaning Contemporary Masonry Buildings,” by Gary Henry (Prosoco), MasonryMagazine.com outlines the proper steps to be taken to clean masonry products.
In the article Gary writes about “The New Rules”
1. Know Your Surface
“Concrete brick and simulated stone often look like clay brick and natural stone – that’s the idea. While these various masonry materials often are created to look similar, each has widely different tolerances for cleaner strength and pressure washer psi.”
2. Always Test Before Overall Cleaning
“Always test, and always clean under the same conditions in which you tested.”
3. Use the Mildest Cleaner and Dilution That Still Gives Effective Results
“Because concrete masonry has some of the same components as the mortar films and smears that have to be removed, cleaners for concrete masonry are gentler than those for clay. The best concrete and manufactured stone cleaners are precisely balanced — just strong enough to dissolve films and mortar smears that aren’t fully hardened, yet safe enough to do so without harming the masonry.”
4. Clean Early and Quickly
This is a problem we have seen time and again. After the job is completed the person doing the installation doesn’t get around to cleaning off the smears for too long. Then when he goes to clean up the job it is too late and he can’t get the stone clean.
Don’t give mortar smears and films time to become as hard as the stone itself — remove it while you can still work with it. With our manufactured stone you can clean it within three to seven days. If you are working with small, individual areas that you need to remove small amounts of smears, you may be able to work with it sooner than that.
5. Use the Right Cleaner for the Right Job
Our suggestion is to use a mixture of water in vinegar to clean our manufactured stone. Some testing may be required but our guideline as rules 3 and 4 state above is (3) Use the mildest cleaner and dilution that still gives effective results, and (4) clean early and quickly. You can also talk to one of our experts Contact Us Here for suggestions on mixing ratios.
6. Never Clean with Raw Acid
We advise not to use any acids on our manufactured stone products. Many people ask us about using muriatic acid to clean the stone after installation and our answer is, “no.”
Mr Henry also continues by outlining the basic rules that apply to cleaning masonry:
Don’t Spare the Water
He says, “lots of water is one of the secrets of to a great masonry clean down.” By pre-wetting the masonry the pores of the stone are filled with water and the cleaner will only work on the surface of the stone. Additional water should be used to rinse and dissolve the excess mortar and dirt.
Clean Bottom to Top, Keeping Lower Areas Wet
“Unlike many other types of cleaning, masonry clean down begins at the bottom and works up, making it easier to keep lower parts of the walls wet. Keeping the walls wet stops rundown from penetrating into them.”
Follow All Safety Precautions in the Product Literature
This should be common sense and isn’t as applicable with a diluted water and vinegar solution, but it is obviously something that can’t be ignored.
For more information and to read Mr. Henry’s article, “New Rules for Cleaning Contemporary Masonry Buildings,” visit http://www.masonrymagazine.com/6-07/cleaning.html
He also goes on to discuss cleaning in colder weather conditions and offers great knowledge.