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Old 04-30-2008, 09:49 AM
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Default Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

I am currently up to the fourth course of my Pompeii build, and sadly, I have not been very neat with the mortar. I have lots of excess mortar on the faces of the interior bricks. I would like to clean it up a bit before proceeding with the build.

What is the best way to clean up the mess? I think I read somewhere that Muratic or Hydrochloric acid can be used. I have done some research, and found a product called 'Detergent 600" which I may end up using.

My other question is If I use one of these chemical type products, how do I clean it up properly, to insure no chemicals are left on or in the bricks since they are porous. I was thinking of puting a plastic sheet down on top of the hearth bricks, and just spraying the interior dome walls with the water hose, but then I worried that the chemicals would then pour out onto the lawn. Ughh, what to do?
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

Scrape off the buildup, with a putty knife, and scrub what's left using water, first with a wire brush, then with a scrub brush. Call it a day.

Save the toxic chemicals for the decorative stonework on the exterior.

That's my advice.
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

I used a wet towel to clean off mortar while the mortar was still wet.

Try to avoid letting mortar dry on the inside.

I have to agree with dmun on cleaning up what you done so far.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

Thanks for the advice guys. I'll try the wire brush method and skip the chemicals. I think if it does not all come off, I can live with it. I don't think too many people will stick their heads into my oven anyway (You FB guys might,) but not anyone else.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

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Originally Posted by PizzaJNKY View Post
Thanks for the advice guys. I'll try the wire brush method and skip the chemicals. I think if it does not all come off, I can live with it. I don't think too many people will stick their heads into my oven anyway (You FB guys might,) but not anyone else.
I think you are correct.


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Old 04-30-2008, 03:55 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

Fire bricks can vary quite considerably in density and porosity,
If you have refactory cement which dries very hard, or the cheaper fireclay/lime/portland cement, (which also dries hard over a few days), then you may use a softer wire brush on a small angle grinder. Care must be taken to gently ease the deposit off raster that have it gouge out the brick surface.
If you want to return the surface to the best possible under the circumstances, an orbital or random orbital sander can also be used but to lay safe use a fine grit paper (or better cloth abrasive).
These methods will however change the surface appearence but will remove that stubborn cement.

Neill
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

Good advice...

I bought some acid at Lowes - pretty scary stuff. I only need a little bit. Then what do I do with the rest... I'm thinking I just return it and live with a little haze on my bricks...

Dick
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

I guess I am just used to working with acids in the lab. They don't bother me at all. I use many more dangerous chemicals on a daily basis, some of the at home. Many of the common household products you have under your sinks can be classed as dangerous chemicals. The classic one is Liquid plumber. This is a very concentrated base ( the opposite of acid) and can be very dangerous.
As far as disposal of you acid I would recommend two methods.

1. Many cities have a hazardous waste exchange or disposal site by the land fill or dump.

2. Muratic acid or hydrochloric acid is not really a problem if it is dilute. You stomach is full of fairly concentrated hydrochloric acid. Fill a 5 gallon pail with 4 gallons on water. Pour your left over acid into it. Take the bucket out back and dump it on the ground. Let the hose run water over it for 10 minutes. The 2 elements in hydrochloric acid (HCl) are hydrogen and chlorine. Disassociating them in water dilutes them to harmless levels. The chlorine will bond with just about any metal ( like common salt (NaCl)) and is harmless in the soil.

BAC
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

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Originally Posted by thebadger View Post
I bought some acid at Lowes - pretty scary stuff. I only need a little bit. Then what do I do with the rest...
My leftover muriatic acid can be used to lower the pH level of our pool
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning Mortar from Dome Question

Ken,
Post a pic of that pool! I love swimming pools! Someday I'm going to rework ours. I just turn on the heat today.
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