The Best Stone and Brick Cleaning Methods

Power Washing

Power washing can be used to clean brick exterior and interior walls. The power washing machine can be used upto 100 feet away from the structures being cleaned. If not used carefully and within reasonable boundary, pressure water cleaning may damage the masonry. For example, if the Nozzle pressure in an excess of 700 psi it can damage the bricks and erode mortar joints.

Grit Blasting Services

Grit blasting is an industrial process where surfaces are treated to make them smooth or rough by spraying a pressured stream of grit to the surface. This treatment has a wide range of industrial applications including; removing contaminants from the surface, polishing and removing rust.

The abrasive substance that is used varies depending on what is being cleaned. and what is happening to it after it has been cleaned. This method of cleaning can be used to remove organic matter (mosses / lichens / algae) from most surfaces, especially brickwork and stonework. The waters heat also helps completely kill the spores of organic matter thus increasing the length of time needed between cleaning. This system is also used to remove paints from stonework and brickwork (in some cases a paint softener will also need to be applied to the surface to assist in removal).

TORC & DOFF Cleaning

The DOFF system (which uses superheated water) is different in action to other systems. It uses ‘superheated’ water which exits the nozzle, in a fan pattern. This method or system uses a water supply method, which then gets to a high pressure unit pump. Here the pressure is increased to the required level before entering the ‘hotbox’. The pressure can be adjusted by the operator and is independent of the temperature setting. Within the heater part, the temperature may increase to 150C just before it passes on through a heat resistant nozzle. This nozzle directs the heated water onto the surface to be cleaned in fan like motion.

TORC systems on the other hand can be applied to remove carbon sulphation stains, lime and cement based paints, bitumen, paint residues, and old oil based paints and lime scales. The TORC system works by creating a gentle swirling vortex whereby a mixture of low air pressure, a little water and safe inert fine granules is used.

When selecting professional cleaning technicians it is important to ensure that not only are they are highly trained, but insured and qualified.

6 Ways to Improve Your Home With Natural Stone Cladding

Stone cladding is an eye-catching exterior for a home, making it look classic and ageless no matter what the architectural style. But that is not the only way this kind of stonework can transform a home. From major projects such as a complete home exterior make over to smaller jobs such as cladding a boring fireplace or floor to create a depth of character in an individual room, stone work can make your house feel like a whole new home.

The variety of options available is dazzling. From rustic brick looks to sophisticated cream stone styles, today’s stone cladding is revolutionary in both appearance and ease of installation. So what you can do with it? How can you use it to create a completely new and gorgeous look for your home?

Stone Cladding for Outside the Home

    • The Exterior of the Home – The most obvious use of stone cladding is to cover the exterior of the home or to create one or two accent walls on the exterior. A home with the appearance of grey cut stone exterior walls stands out with a certain sophistication, and a porch with sandstone walls is a bright and welcoming entrance. A stone clad home has a timeless look because it recreates an ancient material for a new, fresh look that makes it stand apart.
    • Garden Walls – The garden is an oasis in the fine weather and even in the winter it can be a joy to look at from the comfort of a chair by the window. Garden walls can be simple boundary markers, or with the right stone cladding they can be a landscape feature that serves as a stunning backdrop to the plants and other features in a garden. Stone cladding can also be used on lower walls such as the retaining walls around a landscaped slope.
  • Paths and Patios – A simple way to add style to the outside space of your home is to redo patios and garden paths in stone cladding. Patios are an outdoor living space and coordinating the stone veneer for your patio with one used inside provides continuity between the indoors and the outdoors. Gravel might give a path a certain charm, but it scatters and gets messy quickly, which makes for a lot of extra work. Stone work offers the visual appeal with much less hassle and maintenance. The path to the front door are the introduction to a home, so this smaller scale project has a big visual impact and can add substantially to a property’s kerb appeal.

Stone Cladding for Inside the Home

    • Interior Walls – A very large space can show amazing character when an entire room or more features stone cladding walls, but even smaller spaces can be enhanced with an accent wall in stone. An entryway or hallway sets the mood for a home, and cladding those walls with stone tells guests that their host has distinctive good taste. A rustic brick clad wall can create a warm and homey feeling in a kitchen, and stone cladding in a conservatory with a solid wall can really give it the feeling of an exterior space but without the exposure to the elements.
    • Fireplaces – The fireplace is usually the focal point of a room, and a ho-hum fireplace can undermine otherwise lovely decorating. People are drawn to fireplaces, even if there isn’t a fire, so re-doing a fireplace is a high impact change in a room. In the kitchen or the sitting room, a stone veneer finish adds to the primal appeal of fire. Stone veneer also always homeowners to change the overall shape of the fireplace. An arch, for example, can be created in a square opening, making for a dramatically different look and feel for the whole room.
  • Floors – Using stone cladding for flooring is a great way to add the beauty and charm of stone to a smaller space or one with a lot of cabinets or other features on the walls. Stone veneer creates the sense of an older space without limiting how wall space can be used. It’s a wonderful option for kitchens or narrower hallways that would feel crowded with stone clad walls. Floors and fireplaces can be done in coordinating stone veneer to develop a strong decorating theme for a single room or throughout an entire home.

Stone cladding can a reasonably priced investment to give a home a complete make-over whether the home owners are looking to upgrade their living space or increase its value because they are planning to sell. This is a lasting change for a home, but one that means enduring beauty and less maintenance than painting or pebble dash for the exterior and a dazzling transformation for the interior.

5 Types of Walls for a Residential Masonry Project

The strength and durability of walls in a home are perhaps the most important aspect of its structural integrity. Residential masonry construction projects must take this into account to ensure a structure’s stability for years to come. Using materials like granite, bricks, stones, and concrete blocks adds to the durability of a wall. Here are five types of walls that are frequently used in homes.

1. Load Bearing

For this type of wall, stones, concrete, or cement blocks are usually the preferred options. Load bearing walls carry the weight that is transferred from the rooftop to the foundation. They are also ideal for both exterior and interior use. Many people prefer these walls to those which feature framed structures because they are often more economical. The necessary thickness of the wall depends on the amount of rooftop load. For example, buildings with two or more floors will typically have thicker load-bearing walls.

2. Reinforced

For those living in areas that are prone to harsh weather, reinforced walls are an ideal option. They are not vulnerable to cracking, which can be caused by external pressure. Reinforcement is usually placed within the walls in vertical and horizontal positions at specific intervals to ensure added strength. The amount of reinforcement may also depend on the amount of support the wall must give.

3. Composite

These walls usually use two or more materials. For example, they can contain hollow bricks along with standard bricks or stones. These walls are economical and lend a unique appearance to the building. The materials are bonded together, and sections are interconnected using steel ties. Horizontal joints may also be used to ensure optimal reinforcement.

4. Hollow

In residential masonry, hollow walls may be used to prevent moisture from reaching the interior of the house. This works by creating a space between the interior and exterior wall. The space prevents heat from penetrating to the interior, making these options ideal for homeowners who want to control inside temperature. The exterior face may have features called “weep holes” to drain water that may cause a buildup of moisture within the space. A water-repellant coating or damp proofing may be applied to the structure to prevent possible water damage.

5. Post-Tension

Post-tension walls are designed to withstand extreme weather events, such as earthquakes and tornadoes. These options usually have post-tension rods that run through the core of the walls. They can be tensioned and anchored to a steel support structure at the top after they have cured to ensure maximum strength.

It is advisable for homeowners to work with a professional residential masonry contractor to ensure a successful project. Like many construction projects, the strength and durability of the finished product depend on the type of materials used and the purpose of the structure.