Tackling cleaning challenges
Problems and solutions
By Robert Port
Problem:Self-cleaning aluminum and metal siding installed above brick/block masonry.
Where:This problem is most commonly seen on 1960-1970 red brick ranch houses with gable ends having white aluminum siding above the brick. Older metal warehouse buildings often had brick or block 10 feet high with 20 feet of painted metal sheeting.
Self-cleaning:Paint finish chalks off the metal continuously exposing a fresh surface.
What doesn’t work:Muriatic acid isn’t appropriate. Don’t waste your time trying it.
Blasting with water pressure:Masonry surface texture changes, and it doesn’t work.
It is a paint residue:But paint removers don’t seem to work in this application.
Will any green cleaners work?The time clock is running, and you’re not into research.
What works:Diedrich 101 Heavy Duty Restoration Cleaner and Prosoco Heavy Duty Restoration Cleaner work well. Equivalents for these products are also available.
Caution:These products will etch window glass and harm bare metal. Mask them. These products will harm plants. Cover them with white tarps or keep them wet. Cleaners will make painted spouting spotty clean. Cover or keep surface wet. Windy days are a no-no. Do something else today. Come back tomorrow. Any nearby concrete must be kept wet as it will streak and clean the concrete. When doing wet on wet coats, mist with water if the surface seems to be drying. This stuff will really mess up glass on cars. Cover or move them before starting.
For best results:Dilution: About three parts water to one acid cleaner. Wet the wall and painted surfaces. Apply two coats of your cleaner, allowing five minutes of dwell time between each coat. Scrubbing is optional. (I’ve never scrubbed.) Wash it off using a pressure washer. If it doesn’t wash off easily, a third application of cleaner is OK, but seldom required. Always let your chemicals do the work, and when in doubt call your chemical supplier.
For more information, contact Robert Port, technical support with Restoration Direct Inc., 800-288-7800.
Originally published in Masonry magazine.
About the Author
Robert Port works in technical support for Restoration Direct, Inc.