Having your brick or stone masonry professionally cleaned not only looks great, it allows for an accurate evaluation of the masonry's condition.
While there are several pitfalls to cleaning older masonry walls, having a masonry restoration contractor perform the work will allow a good evaluation of masonry and mortar condition to determine a good maintenance and preservation plan. All masonry which is exposed to outdoor conditions will require some maintenance as it ages.
A good goal to have in place when considering cleaning and refreshing older masonry is to clean the masonry as thoroughly as possible by using the gentlest means possible and finding the balance between squeaky clean and avoiding damage to the masonry. This is where you will find the experience of a masonry restoration contractor very useful.
They should be able to identify the hardness/softness of the masonry and be able to prescribe the balanced solution which will not damage the wall.
The second item on the list will be evaluating the brick or stone work to determine if there are soft or deteriorated portions of the mortar or masonry units and make recommendations for preservation. Some of the considerations will be:
Professional masonry cleaning, especially to fragile walls should be completed with care and by someone who is able to determine the most suitable and non-damaging way to complete the work. That being said, the difference in a properly cleaned and maintained masonry wall is akin to a fresh coat of paint on a run down wall.
Joshua Dunn is the owner of Alliance Restoration LLC, a Kansas City based masonry restoration contractor and consulting service that focuses on traditional methods in masonry construction and up-to-date preservation techniques to maintain our built heritage.