Masonry Cleaning and Sealing:
It's hard to imagine that anything as small as a drop of water could wreak havoc on something as solid as a brick and mortar, a piece of stone, or a slab of concrete. But constant exposure to water, and especially to winter's freeze and thaw cycles, can damage or destroy masonry surfaces in a surprisingly short amount of time.
The answer is to seal the masonry's porous surfaces against the intrusion of water. For most masonry surfaces - brick, stone, patio paver, concrete or ceramic tile - a masonry sealer is the proper choice. Depending on the type of masonry sealer, some will also work to seal concrete slabs. The sealer also helps to protect against buildups of dirt, oil, grease and markings from automobile tires. Masonry sealers are not intended for use on asphalt, glazed ceramic tile or on wooden surfaces. Sealing of masonry surfaces will also protect and make future graffiti removal much easier as it does not allow for the paint to soak into the pores of the brick or stone.
Sealers also come in different surface "sheens." depending on the look you want. While all of them are clear, some types dry to a completely flat sheen and leave the surface looking unsealed. Other types dry to a glossy "wet" look, and the depth of the gloss increases with each application. There are also semi-gloss sheens that are in between flat and glossy. The choice of how glossy you want the finished surface is typically one of personal preference - however, with some types of sealers the glossier the product is the more abrasion resistant properties it has.
Preparing for a sealant:
In general, the surface to be sealed has to be clean and dry. This will involve low pressure washing with soap and water or with a degreasing chemical. If you clean the surface with water, or if it rains between the times you clean it and the time you are ready to apply the sealer, remember that the surface must be absolutely dry before you start putting on the sealer - sealing over a wet slab is the most common reason for failure of the sealer.
The need to clean brickwork, stone, or concrete may arise from many causes other than those resulting from atmospheric pollution: stains from metals, particularly iron and copper used in conjunction with masonry, and growth of lichens, moss and other vegetation. Cleaning may be necessary to remove efflorescence that forms as a result of excessive dampness resulting from some abnormal local condition, for example, spillage of water from a defective drain or rising dampness from earth in contact with the surface.
Cleaning of brickwork, patio pavers, stone, and other masonry services at regular intervals is desirable as a means of prolonging its life, and it is often wise to establish a definite schedule of cleaning. Washing at intervals of two or three years is frequently all that is necessary to maintain it. Various cleaning materials and methods are available, but in making a selection consideration must be given not only to the effectiveness of the method but also to the hazards involved and to possible adverse effects. Hoosier Power Wash utilizes a low pressure washing system that is the safest form of washing for all masonry products.