As promised in our first edition of Helpful Hints for New Homeowners, we’re back here at Disney & Associates with some more pro tips for new home owners! The topics this time? Maintaining your brick, tile, and asphalt.
We hope the maintenance tips for your concrete, fireplace, and hardwood floors from the past edition of this blog series have proven to be successful!
Maintenance is one of the things that, if ignored, can bring detrimental effects on your home, decreasing value, visual appeal, and likely even functionality of your home.
Here at Disney Homes, we don’t just hand you the keys to your home and leave it at that. We created this blog series with helpful new homeowner tips so that you can enjoy your dream home for years to come.
Granted, maintaining your home may take a little extra elbow grease and time out of your busy schedule, but the work is worth it. Ultimately, the result is very satisfying once you see the work of your own hands in the beauty of your residence.
This month, we are rolling out 3 more features that may be part of your new, semi-custom Disney Home here in the PNW, along with our expert tips and advice for the proper upkeep.
1. Maintaining Brick
A brick feature in a home is especially tasteful and sensible. There are many ways to finish the mortar of your brick, depending on the circumstance. For example, methods used for exterior brick and stone work (such as one of our gorgeous Disney outdoor fireplaces), may vary from interior brick and mortar methods.
The expert brick layers at Disney & Associates have mastered these techniques and take exterior and interior conditions into consideration in the construction process so that factors such as exposure to elements can be minimized.
White Residue on Brick
No matter how well your brick is installed and what style the mortar is, it will need maintenance over time. Perhaps you have seen brick walls with white stains on them before. This is a common byproduct of brick called ‘efflorescence’ and can usually be removed with a scrub brush.
Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts. This salt may originate from the brick itself, or the Portland cement used in the mortar. When water meets the salt, it is dissolved, transported to the surface, where it then evaporates, leaving behind this white residue, or ‘efflorescence’.
The landscaping design (amount of rainwater in contact with the wall), and amount of water used in the mortar mixture can contribute to the amount of efflorescence that comes to the surface.
How to Clean Efflorescence from Brick
The simplest solution to cleaning white residue from brick is using a dry, stiff brush to regularly clean your brick. The process is simple but must be done somewhat regularly, as there is no absolute ‘permanent’ solution to this natural occurrence.
Under some circumstances where heavy efflorescence buildup has occurred, using a weak solution of muriatic acid can be used, which dissolves the stains, leaving your brick and mortar clean.
Pro tip: If you use muriatic acid to clean your brick and mortar, make sure to use rubber gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection as the acid has potential to burn and is easily splashed when using a hard brush.
For some, efflorescence on brick is not a problem at all. In actuality, some homeowners even prefer the look of efflorescence on their brick, so it is completely up to you whether you wash it away or not!
Fixing Cracks in Brick Mortar
Because Disney Homes are built at a high standard and with great attention to detail, it is rare for mortar to experience serious cracking or damage, especially in the first few years after installation. When installed correctly, mortar can last for a long time.
Still, with time, all things wear out, including mortar. Maintenance is typically limited to repairing mortar between the existing brick. Big cracks are rare, but with factors to consider such as unpredictable PNW weather, mortar cracking may occur.
Here’s the good news:
In the rare case that a large crack (bigger than 3/8 inch) occurs in the brick mortar of your Disney Home within the first year, we will repair the crack on our own time and dime, as it will be fixed under warranty. Our Disney Homes mortar crack warranty is just one more reason to opt for Disney & Associates as your trusted, best-in-the-business contractor to build your dream home.
2. Taking Care of Tile
Maintenance strategies can vary depending on the type of tile work installed. From a stunning stone entry way or fireplace, to a glistening glass shower, minor maintenance can keep your tile looking fresh and good-as-new for years to come. For the most part, tile maintenance is fairly easy and straightforward, but here are just a few tips to point you in the right direction.
Potential Tile Issues & Solutions
With our expert tile installation team on the job, you shouldn’t have to worry about serious cracking or chipping in your tile grout. When it comes to the tile in your Disney Home, we will walk you through the finished product so you can review and approve our tile and grout work. That is the confidence we have in the quality of our work. We are not happy with it until you are.
In the rare case that major cracking happens, the best and easiest way to handle it is with a pre-mixed caulk you can find at your local hardware store.
A more common occurrence in your tile grout that can easily be maintained is yellowing of your grout. This happens with age and can simply be washed with a brush and water. For deeper staining or easier stain removal, try using a tile/grout cleaner that can be purchased at your local hardware store as well.
Keeping Tile Clean
Fortunately, nearly all kinds of tile are easy to clean. In fact, tile is one of the easiest surfaces to maintain.
Some types of tile, however, may require more frequent attention than others. For example, the reflective surface of glass tile easily highlights blemishes, including fingerprints, meaning the cleaning and upkeep has potential to be slightly more frequent than other tiles.
3. Asphalt Maintenance
Our previous edition of the Maintenance Tips for New Homeowners series discussed maintenance techniques for caring for concrete. Concrete is often used for paving driveways and patios on Disney Homes. Asphalt is generally used for the part of the driveway that leads into the main road. Ever wondered what the difference is and how to make sure both stay in tip-top shape?
According to the American Concrete Pavement Association, concrete and asphalt pavements are simplified into two general categories of rigid (concrete) and flexible (asphalt) pavement, descriptive of “how the pavements react to loads and the environment”.
Asphalt - Cracks and Cleaning
Weather and settling will cause minor cracks in your asphalt. This is inevitable should not cause alarm. Asphalt cracking is an expected result, and is not a defect in construction.
As a petroleum product, asphalt can be dissolved with petroleum or other solvents. Take care not to spill such products on your asphalt. If this should inadvertently occur, washing the asphalt immediately with water and mild soap is a simple cautionary measure that can prevent further breakdown of the asphalt.
If you’ve seen heat waves covering asphalt on hot summer days, you know just how hot it can get. During extremely hot days, it is recommended that you do not leave a vehicle parked for extensive periods of time, as this can cause lumps in the surface of your asphalt.
The asphalt installed in Disney Homes neighborhoods is designed for regular use of single family vehicles. It is not designed for traffic of heavy equipment, busses, semi-trucks, or other hefty vehicles. Traffic from oversized vehicles and equipment such as this can break down the asphalt and crack the edges.
Disney Homes recommends that at least twice a year, a full clean of your asphalt driveway be done. Usually the best way to go about this is with a stiff broom and power washer.
Every few years, a new seal coat will be required to extend the longevity of your pavement. The timing of this may vary depending on the wear of the asphalt. This seal-coating process has multiple benefits. It waterproofs your asphalt, fills surface voids, and reduces the chances of harmful petroleum substances and solvents from penetrating the pavement.
Home Maintenance – Easier than Ever
We hope these tips will prepare you as a new homeowner to get the most out of your beautiful, new Disney dream home. Regular and proper maintenance saves time and money in the end and will help you love your home even more as the years pass.
Stay tuned for next month’s pro maintenance tips from the experts here at Disney Associates! Have your own tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below.