Cleaning mortar from brick with muriatic acid


Old 06-10-06, 06:32 AM
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Cleaning mortar from brick with muriatic acid

How is this done? I have not done it before.

What percent solution? How long after the mortar has been allowed to set?

Can the need be minimized by washing brick as the mortar is applied?

I am going to be tuckpointing a brick walk and would like to minimize the work.

Ken K
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Old 06-10-06, 08:28 AM
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The best way to clean mortar off brick is to not get any on there in the first place.

When tuck pointing, do it neatly and let the mortar get damp-crumbly before you touch it. Otherwise you just smear it and WILL have to clean it.

This is the order of work and cleanup:

Tuck the joints.
Tool the joints
Soft brush the brick.
Wire brush the brick (if required).

Done like that, each step in it's proper time frame, and you will not have to use acidic cleaners to clean the brick, and that is a very good thing.

I do not recommend EVER using muriatic on brick, even for professionals, and if you use it on any of my product (brick, stone, CMU), you have no warranty, period.

If you get in a situation where there is recent, but set mortar on the brick, use a commercial cleaner such as Sure-Klean 600 (red/orange brick) or Vanatrol (white/brown brick). Follow the manufacturers directions closely and protect yourself and everything around you. NEVER, EVER use a pressure washer to attempt to clean mortar off brick.
Old 06-10-06, 08:36 AM
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And just because it is so common, let me tell you why you do not want to use muriatic:

First and foremost, muriatic acid is a waste product from the steel industry. They use it to pickle freshly wrought steel, and in the process it becomes contaminated with various ferrous and non-ferrous substances.

Secondly, it is kind of like street drugs, in that you never know exactly what the dilution ratio is in the jug.

Third, it is dangerous to work with.

Fourth, and most importantly as it relates to this discussion, it is very easy to ruin the brick and the mortar in it's application. Not only can you cause the brick to look bad immediately, you can also cause problems in the future, especially if you use a power washer.

In short, why risk it when there is a better way?

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