The Ins and Outs of Pressure Washing Your Brick House

When it comes to maintaining the aesthetic appeal and longevity of a brick house, one of the questions that frequently comes up is whether or not pressure washing is a viable option. Given the enduring charm and robustness of brick as a building material, it’s no wonder homeowners are keen to keep their brick exteriors looking their best. However, the decision to pressure wash a brick house comes with its share of considerations, risks, and benefits. Today, we’ll explore the feasibility of washing a brick house, including essential tips, potential pitfalls, and best practices to ensure your home not only looks splendid but remains structurally sound.

Can You Pressure Wash a Brick House? The Short Answer

Yes, you can pressure wash a brick house, but it’s not as straightforward as pointing a hose and blasting away. Brick, for all its durability, is a porous material that can absorb water, leading to potential issues like mold growth and frost damage. Moreover, improper techniques can damage the mortar between bricks, leading to costly repairs. While pressure washing can be an effective method to clean and restore the appearance of your brick home, it requires a thoughtful approach to avoid causing harm.

The Benefits of Pressure Washing Your Brick House

When done correctly, pressure washing can rejuvenate the exterior of your brick home, restoring it to its former glory. Here are some of the benefits:

Removal of Dirt and Grime: Over time, brick can accumulate a layer of dirt, dust, and pollutants that can dull its appearance. Pressure washing can effectively remove these surface contaminants.

Mold and Mildew Eradication: Bricks can harbor mold and mildew, particularly in damp conditions. A thorough cleaning can address these issues, improving both the appearance and the air quality around your home.

Enhanced Curb Appeal: A clean, well-maintained brick exterior can significantly boost your home’s curb appeal, potentially increasing its market value.

Preventative Maintenance: Regularly removing harmful substances can extend the life of your brickwork, preventing degradation and avoiding more extensive repairs down the line.

Health and Safety: By removing mold and mildew, pressure washing can improve the air quality around your home, reducing health risks associated with these growths.

Preservation: Regular cleaning can prevent the buildup of harmful substances that may accelerate the deterioration of brick and mortar, thus preserving the structural integrity of your home.

Preparation for Restoration: If you’re planning to repaint or apply a sealant, pressure washing provides a clean surface for better adhesion, ensuring the longevity of your restoration work.

Best Practices for Pressure Washing Brick Houses

To ensure the safety and efficacy of pressure washing your brick house, consider the following best practices:

Assess and Prepare

Inspect the Brickwork: Before you begin, closely examine the bricks and mortar for any signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, or missing pieces. Pressure washing damaged areas could exacerbate these issues.

Close Windows and Doors: Ensure all windows and doors are tightly sealed to prevent water from entering your home.

Choose a Mild Day: Opt for a day with mild weather, avoiding extreme temperatures that could affect the cleaning process or cause the water to freeze or evaporate too quickly.

Use the Right Equipment and Techniques

Select a Suitable Pressure Washer: Use a pressure washer with adjustable settings, starting with a lower pressure and only increasing as necessary to clean effectively without damaging the bricks.

Opt for a Gentle Detergent: If you decide to use a cleaning solution, choose one specifically designed for brick to avoid any chemical damage.

Employ a Soft Wash Technique: Instead of relying solely on high pressure, consider a soft wash approach that uses lower pressure combined with detergents to gently cleanse the brick surface.

Maintain a Safe Distance: Keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the bricks to prevent damage, moving closer only if absolutely necessary and after testing on an inconspicuous area.

Aftercare and Maintenance

Allow for Adequate Drying Time: After washing, give your bricks plenty of time to dry thoroughly. This step is crucial to prevent trapped moisture, which can lead to mold growth or frost damage.

Inspect and Repair: Post-cleaning, inspect your brickwork again for any potential damage or areas that might need repair. Address these issues promptly to maintain the integrity of your home.

The Risks of Getting Your Brick House Washed and How to Mitigate Them

Despite the benefits, pressure washing your brick house carries risks, primarily related to water damage and erosion of mortar. To mitigate these risks, consider hiring professionals who specialize in pressure washing historic or brick structures. Their expertise can ensure that the cleaning process is both safe and effective, preserving the beauty and integrity of your brick home for years to come.

Professional Insight and When to Hire Experts

While the DIY approach is appealing for its cost-saving potential, the value of professional expertise cannot be overstated. Professionals bring not only the right equipment but also a depth of experience in dealing with various types of brick and mortar conditions. They can assess the specific needs of your home, customize the cleaning process, and avoid common pitfalls that might lead to damage. Moreover, for historic homes or those with significant deterioration, professional services are essential to preserve the architectural integrity while achieving a thorough clean.


Pressure washing a brick house is a feasible task that, when approached with care and consideration, can yield significant benefits in terms of aesthetics and maintenance. By adhering to best practices and being mindful of the potential risks, homeowners can safely and effectively clean their brick exteriors, enhancing their home’s charm and value. When in doubt, consulting with or hiring a professional can provide peace of mind, ensuring that your brick house remains a testament to both beauty and durability.

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