Cleaning up those victorian bricks

by Chris Newson on May 9, 2010

Well, this wasn’t something we’d planned to do… but having got the scaffolding up, it seems we would be foolish not to clean the bricks on the front of the house.

Restore from Wimbledon is the company of choice, and a soft scrubbing brush, hydrofluoric acid and a jet wash (with a bit of help from a grinder on some of the tricky bits) are the instruments they have selected.

It transpires that our bricks are actually a lovely creamy lemon colour beneath 125 years of grime, and that it takes about 5 coats of acid and a whole bunch of elbow grease to reveal their true splendour.

[Edit] With hindsight I would never let anyone use a grinder on any brick again. It’s too hard a tool. The bricks end up uneven and I am worried at what long term damage we may have done to them.

You should also be aware that keeping the water out whilst jet-washing involves a staple gun attacking your lovely window frames.

I have to say, I wouldn’t use Restore again. No restoration company should be recommending grinding bricks, and I would have appreciated being warned about the staple damage in advance.

I would definitely recommend cleaning the bricks, and the acid and jet wash worked brilliantly, but if I ever did it again, I’d seek out a different supplier, and watch them like a hawk.

If anyone does find a superb brick cleaning company, do let me know so I can spread the word.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

adam June 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

you could’ve included a picture of the ‘lovely creamy lemon colour’ bricks.

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Chris Newson August 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Sorry. Coming soon! The scaffold is now down, so as soon as the sun shines again I’ll get out there with my camera.

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Chiaki Horan January 16, 2011 at 7:38 am

Just bought an old house (1914) in Eastbourne, E.Sussex. Need bricks repointing work etc. I think it would look better if the brick walls are washed?? Redish bricks… Roughly how much did you pay for yours?

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Chris Newson January 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I think it was about £1,500 but we already had the scaffolding up. Money well spent though 🙂

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