Post construction question

Anyone on here do a lot of post construction work? Got a call from a local company asking to clean up the excess mortar from a newly constructed brick plaza. Just wanting to know if there is anything specific I need to be extra cautious of. Will pressure alone remove it? I feel like no chemical would be needed but would love to get some tips of what to do and what not to do while cleaning it. All input is appreciated as always.

You may want to check with a local Mason’s supply house. I think there are cleaners specifically designed for it. I have no personal experience with it.

Yea I’ve heard of a couple mortar removal products but wasn’t sure if it was the best idea to use. Hoping someone who does this type of work can share some knowledge and steer me in the right direction.

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After further research it looks like I will be needing to apply a masonry cleaner. Again, all input in appreciated.

Pretty sure the masonry cleaner is just muriatic acid so take a look at the label. I laid some brick on the front of our house about 10 years ago and brushed it on at 10:1 to clean the mortar off. That was before my pressure washing days so I just used a bucket and a brush. You might be able to just down stream it. Bricks react differently so be sure to test first. I don’t claim to know anything about it though!

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Watched a guy x-jet nm80 and high pressure rinse. Seemed to work well. Hoping someone on here does it often and steer me in the right direction.

  1. This is the mason’s job. They should be cleaning up their work.
  2. Muriatic acid is what is used. Start with a 1:10 mix. You may be scrubbing with a stiff bristle non-metal brush. You just have to be careful - you are wanting to remove the mortar on the brick but not damage the joint between the bricks. You can increase your mix strength as needed.
    Note - pour acid into water, never water into acid. Never use metal around acid. Be sure to have PPE.

I am actually helping a lady who had a bluestone deck put in. The mason was a total hack job. Used portland with coarse sand for the joints and did not sponge clean the stones after filling the joints. Every stone had about 2-3 inches on mortar on each edge. Used an acid wash and stiff nylon brush to get the bulk of it off. Now I am getting the fine details along each stone edge with a small brush and GENTLY tapping mortar with a finishing hammer - gotta be careful - you do not want to scratch up the stone, just break up the itty bitty mortar right along the edge without damaging the joint. Tedious for sure…

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Thanks Micheal. It was the masonry company that called me actually. I’m aware that Muriatic is some nasty stuff so I will definitely be using my PPE. Why pour acid first before water?

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Prosoco custom masonry cleaner would be my recommendation. Maybe a little muriatic mixed in if the brick can handle it

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You want NMD80. What it’s made for. Most brick wholesalers carry it. I never leave home w/o it. Here are 2 videos on using. Easier for you to watch them than for me to tell you.

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Use the nmd 80 mentioned below. It will dissolve the mortar tags.

This is really great information and extremely helpful. And it’s a product I can get in Canada… locally! I almost couldn’t believe it when I looked up distributors on their website lol. Thanks a lot Rick. It’s not the first time you’ve helped me out… intentionally or not. If there’s anything I can do for you like send you something Canadian that you enjoy please let me know.

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Kinda random…but is it true ya’ll don’t have ketchup chips down there?

Who in their right mind would want to eat a ketchup chip???

Answer: The same people that put their milk in bags…

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I agree with @Racer about NMD80 from Eacochem. The majority of the houses here are brick so I’ve had to become familiar with their products. I think the first time I used it was on brick veneer where the tile guy washed his equipment next to the house and splashed thinset or grout residue all over the place and left it to dry. I also use One Restore from them occasionally, similar to F9 Barc but I’ve had success with it removing weird mineral stains like manganese or vanadium or something. And yes NMD80 is hydrochloric acid but its got buffers and surfactants and such to help reduce the etching of the brick. I’ve also had success with Prosoco 600. I buy both locally from 2 different brick suppliers. @Historic has posted about these products and seems very knowledgeable about this area. @SurfaceTherapy posted a vid a while back and I spotted some Prosoco jugs in his trailer so I’m sure his advice is sound also.

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I think @squidskc has done a bunch!

@PristineGC good eye. I am a big Prosoco fan. Their custom masonry cleaner really works good for me. Have done very little new construction, which is what their cleaner I mentioned is mainly meant for I believe, but it works extremely well on hard water stains also. Here is a large church I just booked with these two test spots using it


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I’m not familiar with nmd 80 so I can’t offer any constructive advice on that product. Prosoco 600 is my goto for new mortar stains. With new mortar stains, it can be very tricky. Depending on how long the mortar has cured, you might have to use a brush and scraper to fully clean the smears and “dog ears”.

I would strongly suggest doing a T&M project with them first before offering a flat sq/ft rate or bid. Some buildings will clean with just spraying the cleaner on and washing off. More often then not in my experience, there is brushing and scraping involved, which would be much more labor intensive.

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I’ve been enjoying the ketchup doritos lately… I was that kid who put ketchup on everything :joy:

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Thanks I will definitely consider it.