How to Brighten Brick

I just went over my old brick fireplace with a wire brush and find that the brick has now become a dull orangy red. What's the best way to bring back the color? One website says 50% linseed oil and 50% mineral spirits. Help much appreciated! Frank
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You have probably scratched the surface of the brick bringing out the terra cotta colour of the base clay. Don't start applying linseed oil without testing a small area, like the wire brushing, it is a one way trip. If you don't like it there is no going back. Also you should have tried the wire brushing on a hidden area before you did the whole fireplace. If you were trying to get rid of dirt on the surface a nylon brush probably would have been better. Always test before you barge ahead.

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I think the brick was in much worse shape than you imagined! Lots of black smoke stain, etc. Nylon wouldn't have touched it. As bad as it is now, it is much better than before and could be lived with. I will test a small area with the linseed, but I understand there are stains available as well. Are you familiar with any of them? BTW I assume the linseed could be applied without mineral spirits dilution, correct? Thanks very much for your help Frank
On Tue, 15 Aug 2006 11:29:49 -0400, "EXT"

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frank1492 wrote:

I've always heard that you should clean brick by rubbing it with a brick of approximately the same color. It has worked pretty well for me.
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I have a brick like that, but the surface of this brick is quite irregular, sounds like you'd have trouble making contact between the two bricks over the complete surface of each. I tried wetting the surface of a brick or two with just plain water. I figured that might simulate what they would look like if oiled. They looked pretty good so I will probably go the linseed oil route. Thanks. Frank
On 15 Aug 2006 10:19:32 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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As another mentioned you probably removed the "face" of the brick and are into the body of it. Bricks have a face material that is applied over the main body before firing this is what allows for different looking brick colors and texutres. NEVER use a wire brush on brick always use a natural bristel or man made material (plastic,nylon,ect.)
As I have mentioned before in this group I really do not like masonry sealants but I believe this would be a perfect application for such. Im assuming why you went over your brick was because it had soot on it? If this fireplace is in use the sealant is perfect for this and the oil would be a huge mistake....oil and dust (or soot) are atracted to each other like bees and flowers. Yes it would bring out the color but so would a sealant and it would (seal it) so clean up would be much eaiser and since it is inside and nobody is walking on it (hopefully) this probably would never have to be reapplied or atleast not for a long time.
frank1492 wrote:

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Thanks Italian- The brush that I used was a grille (barbecue) brush with very soft copper bristles from the look. I don't think I got very far into the outer coating at all, despite the concerns of you and others. The fireplace will NOT be used. Still I will consider the sealant you have recommended. One reason is that I don't like the smell of linseed oil, which I suspect would not go away for a long time. I am sure it is very important to make sure the brick looks the way you want it before applying the sealant. I am still going to try to clean the brick with TSP unless you recommend otherwise, before the final step. One other question: I have very dirty looking mortar at this point. What would be the best way to brighten that, or will the TSP work? The brick had mostly soot and some other discolorations. Frank
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