Removing peeble dashing from brickwork?


Old 02-27-00, 11:27 AM
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I am from the UK and I have a question which you may be able to help me with. In England there was a fashion (in the 60's I think) to protect the external brickwork of old houses with peeble dashing. This term maybe unfamiliar to you, but it is basically a cement covering, with small stones imbedded into it. My question is this:
Is there any way of removing this cement covering from brickwork, to restore the brick to it's original condition?

All responses are gratefully received. Many Thanks, Steve.
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Old 02-27-00, 02:48 PM
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I don't think that the brick can be restored to its original conditon, at least not a 100% restoration. I say that because the mortar used probably contained lime, and the lime stains will be extremely difficult if not impossible to completely remove. The same applies to the portland cement within the mortar. Maybe an acid stain could be used for touch ups in areas where the staining is just too difficult to remove.

The main methods available to remove the mortar include low pressure steam plus abrasion, use of acids (Muriactic and the more dangerous Sulfuric), grinding stones (Silcone Carbide) and wire wheels, and hand tools (hammer and chisels). Without a doubt, more than one method will be needed.
Unless extreme care is used some damage to the brick and mortar will occur. Possibly the least intensive method is low pressure steam (to super-saturate the mortar) and hand abrasion with a "rubbing stone" (silcone carbide on a stick with a handle).
After removing most of it, controled applications of muricatic acid and more stiff brush abrasion will help to remove the remainder. Note: some types of brick are discolored or harmed when acid is used.

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