Mortar Washing Brick Walls


Old 02-16-00, 08:07 AM
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I am building home and plan to "mortar wash" the brick. I am looking for information on this process. It seems like something I can do myself. Any info is helpful. Thanks, Mike
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Old 02-16-00, 08:16 PM
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Which affect are you trying to achieve:
Mortar droplets, swirl with a brush, a powder coating? The frist is a "dash coat" achieved by flicking thinned mortar from a masonry brush. The second is almost like painting with the same brush. The third is dry mortar applied to a wet wall. The latter may be rubbed with burlap afterward. There are other affects also. The limit = your imagination.
Old 02-17-00, 08:05 AM
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Thanks for the info- I didn'y known there were choices. The only method I have heard of was mixing mortar to the consistency of butter milk and brushing it on the wall with a soft brush. I was wondering about things like fading, mortar coming off wall, ect. Thanks for the reply. Mike
Old 02-17-00, 08:59 PM
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It's been said: "From Earth to Earth, and Dust to Dust". Everything in between is an expression of self-creation and maintenance.
A cute way of saying: "nothing lasts forever".

Fading, mortar coming off wall, ect., will occur at sometime. Life can be extended with sealers. Fading can be "handled" by using White Portland Cement and White Masonry Sand plus Dry Earth Colors for the mortar or by using an Acid stain that reacts chemically with the mortar ingredients. Higher adhesion can be gained by adding glue to the water "CPA" or using Epoxy Admixture within the mortar.

So, go ahead, create it, enjoy it while it lasts, and do the maintenance. When the maintenance becomes too great, or you grow tired of the "look", do something else.
Old 02-21-00, 07:19 AM
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thanks again for the info- you sound like an expert on this. Can I take the info you provided to the brick store or Lowe's and pickup what I need? What maintenance????
Thanks, Mike
Old 02-21-00, 10:24 PM
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A masonry supply (possibly Lowe's) will carry what you need. Other than "normal repairs" to the brick and mortar, (when the time comes), the main maintenance factors are cleaning and sealing.

Any other maintenance factors will depend on your choice of color(s)(how you achieve them, and what you do toward maintaining them), additional touches that you incorporate (marble chips, applicas' of tile, stone, or cast masonry, ect,), plus the service conditions.

Inside or outside dirt and grime will accumulate. Staining is a possiblity also.

Outside: things like acid bearing leaves and minerals in the soil or water. Hydrogen Sulfide (a by product of combustion and a componet of "Acid Rain") degrades mortar.
Water spotting from sprinkelers (hard water) and leaching of mineral salts within the
mortar from rain, snow, due, or aborbed water wicking from ground contact will affect things also. Copper and iron stains from ornaments and other objects, or metalic stains from fertilizers can be objectionable and are difficult to remove.

Inside: fill in the blanks _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

For exposed work a sealer helps to prevent damage from mositure; it makes the surface a little more resistant staining, and it's easier to clean. Well designed masonry sealers repel surface moisture, but allow sub-surface moisture to escape. Many brands are available.

Maybe I haven't been clear about your options, but, the choice is yours to make.

Whitewash (colored or not with dry earth colors or liquid colorants, and with or without the addition of Casein, TSP, and Fomladehyde, for weatherablility). Whitewash is an old story with a poor service life. Bagged whitewash is sold as Kaolin, however, whitewash is easy to make. Whitewash might be suitable for a dry climate or where the masonry is subject to movement from expansive soils or an already failing footing. It chalks off with moisture and can be reapplied quickly with a garden sprayer.

Cement paint. An extension of the whitewash idea, but with a longer service life, due to the inclusion of small amount of Portland Cement. Cement paint is harder than whitewash and it's usually applied in a thicker coat. Thus movement and moisture will cause cracking and flaking. It fades also.

Acid stains are perminate. Their disadvantage(?), is varying color due to the difference in chemical reaction between the stain and substrate and normal fading over time.

Casting "dry shake" onto the surface. "Dry shake" is a topical coating used for colored concrete (typically fine sand, dry earth colors, plus a small amount of white portland). This is similar to cement paint only its dry, applied thinner, and can be buffed with burlap to create different hues or effects. It fades also.

Colored Mortar. Possibly a mortar wash high in lime content might be the best all purpose option. The lime provides high suction and bonding plus it softens the mortar at the same time. The portland reduces chalking adding strength. This fades also.

Some of the methods could be combine. Pre-coloring the sand with acid stain, then using white portland plus another color or shade of the same color is one possibility. And, what's stopping you from using two or more colors at the same time, or creating your own unique methods? Nothing!

The point is to create something you'll enjoy using methods suited to the conditions. But, when you create something, maintenance is automatic. Five years from now you won't ask: "What maintenance".

Old 02-23-00, 08:02 AM
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Thanks again for the advise. Mike

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