how to remove old roofing tar from brick wall


Hi! I have a brick wall that has old roofing tar on it. What is the best way to remove it? I thought of heating it and scraping off and then treating the remainder with some sort of chemicals. Will a roofing torch and/or chemicals do the work? If so, what kind of chemicals do I need? Any advice is appreciated!
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On 30 Mar 2007 14:18:38 -0700, dingodog snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The short answer is, once you stain a brick, you'll never get it back the way it was. You can probably get whatever's stuck to it off, at least mostly, but it's still not going to look like the rest of the wall. That said:
Remove as much as you can mechanically, without damaging the surface of the brick. Before you start to use chemical solvents, saturate the brick with as much water as it will take, to limit how much solvent/stain wicks deeper into the brick. I don't think fire is a good technique for cosmetic cleaning of brick, but maybe.... Before you start using fire on the surface, dry the brick completely, else it's likely to explode. (although, replacing the brick will likely solve the stain problem....)
http://www.bia.org/html/faqs.html#General --Goedjn
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replying to Goedjn, JG wrote:

I have found that the best way is to wait until winter then use a hammer. This causes the tar to shatter and break away from the brick. I have not tried to clean the stains yet.
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On Mar 30, 4:18 pm, dingodog snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I have used acetone in this situation but I don't reccommend it to anyone else since it is quite dangerous. All skin must be covered. Goggles for the eyes are a must. A respirator is also recommended.
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Acetone is relatively harmless. (It's used in nail polish remover, for example.) Unfortunately, it's not that useful. The human body produced tiny amounts of acetone and the body can "handle" small amounts.
Benzene is THE solvent for "tar." But Benzene causes cancer. Benzene seems harmless but isn't. An organic vapor mask is ESSENTIAL.
MEK might work. Skin protection is a good idea when using MEK. Ditto for the organic vapor mask.
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Although not the most effective solvent, mineral spirits will dissolve tar, and it is probably about the safest you could use. It's still flammable, but has a relatively high flash point. Let it soak for awhile and use a brass brush. You could enhance the solvancy by adding a little toluene (aka toluol), but toluene is less benign. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation and keep flames away.
Paint stripper will work too.
I once stripped a brick fireplace that had been painted. It's a matter of lots and lots of applications and dilutions, and it never got completely clean, but it turned out okay.

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wrote:

Not the OP. I used a steel brush to get something off of brick, and though I got it off I guesss, the brick looks bad. Would the brass brush have avoided this result.
It looks bad now but i'm hoping in 10 or 20 years it will look more like it originally did. Any chance of that?

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tar,
If you are talking about real "tar" then mineral spirits will not do much. For real "tar" you need Benzene. Benzene causes CANCER!
If you are talking about asphalt then mineral spirits MIGHT work. What does work is gasoline. Gasoline is a fire hazard, of course but it evaporates quickly and the hazard goes away.
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On Mar 30, 1:18 pm, dingodog snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Unfortunately all of the other suggestions will work for the surface tar. Dissolving the tar will only make it seep deeper into the pores of the brick. What you can do is if there is a small area (not a whole house) use a spot sand blaster, its just a hand held unit that the average home compressor will run and you can control how much tar and brick you take off. The other solution if it is a large area is a larger sand blaster. Sand blasting works well because usually the old tar is somewhat hard and this is what you want NOT to SOFTEN IT the brick will soak it up like a sponge and it will never come out. If you have already softened the tar you might want to consider altering the rest of the brick in a manor that it looks "used" for example painting some of the other bricks and then wiping it off, rubbing some dissolved tar on some of the bricks, adding some mortar mix to some of them. Spreading these suggestions throughout the wall will look the best. Good luck http://www.palmisanoconcrete.com
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dingodog snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It would help to know how much tar we are talking about .. a few drips or smeared all over the wall. Mineral spirits works well for cleaning light amounts from floors and skin, but don't know about brick. I would start by trying to pick off as much as possible when it is cold and likely to stay pretty solid. After that, a stiff brush and ms if you can avoid it running down and staining other parts of the house.
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