Thursday, January 31, 2013

Repairing Brick Steps

Repairing brick steps can seem intimidating , but with a little know how and some patients you can do it.  When properly maintained a masonry porch/steps can last for several decades and beyond.  One of the main reasons for major damage,  is cracks that appear on the surface. Not attended to immediately  this will lead to structural damage of the block. Once the block have been compromised  it usely leads to a total rebuild, costing thousands of dollars.  If you have loose brick or stone on the treads or cracks now is the time to take action.  You can go to your local hardware store or one of the home improvement chains to get supplies. Remember the tools that you need are probably only going to be used a few times, so don't spend a lot money on them.   After using  them keep them clean and dry and you'll have them for next time.
Tools & Material needed
Small tarp
Mason trowel
Brick jointer
Tape Measure
Small level
Mason line
Sponge & 5 gallon bucket
Bag of ready mix mortar type S
Click on slideshow for larger view or to view pictures individually

Caulk any remaining cracks and voids on porch with a clear sealant.
Now that you have repaired it, keep it from further damage and apply a waterproof sealant.This can be sprayed on or applied with paint roller.

Quick Tip: Never use rock salt on masonry use calcium chloride

Monday, January 21, 2013

Removing Black Soot On Fireplace Front Organically

This is a great way to remove soot build up on fireplace front. It also works great on stone and brick that have stains. Most commercial cleaners have harsh chemicals that may be harmful to you and your family. Distilled white vinegar is a natural mild acid that has been used for years by many different industries.It's main ingredient is acetic acid, giving it's natural power to clean. I have included a step by step instructions on how to remove stains. I have customers ask me all the time how to keep the hearth on the fireplace looking new and free from stains. Sealing any masonry surface with a good brick or stone sealer will prevent  stains from penetrating the surface. This makes for an easy clean up when something does get on it,usually a wet rag is all thats needed.
Tools needed
1 cup Distilled White Vinegar in spray bottle
1 cup Water in spray bottle
Hand held brush
Some elbow grease

Quick Tips: Many older homes have plaster walls,driving nails into them can cause cracks. To Eliminate this put a strip of masking tape on wall. Drive nail into tape, once set remove tape

If you need to fix small cracks on plaster walls ,Instead of mixing plaster with water,use vinegar to mix for a stronger fill

No Plaster? Try some white carpenters glue mixed with baking soda. This also works good for nail holes on drywall

Have any good tips ? Please share