Brick Flooring Care, Maintenance & Installation

April 28, 2010

Brick can be a beautiful but tricky flooring choice. I've received so many questions concerning the maintenance, sealing and cleaning of brick floors so I thought it would be helpful to share those Q&A's with you!  I am confident that this article will be beneficial both for you and your lovely brick floor.

Cleaning

Q

Our house is 20 years plus old. The brick floor that is in the kitchen area is a bear!!! The             builder used true brick not brick tile. And they spaced the brick out a bit more than I would     have.

I cannot seem to keep it clean. I have done just about everything. I am now looking at                 sanding the brick just to try to get it clean. Any suggestions?

- Jo​

A

I don't have personal experience with brick flooring; brick pavers yes. Sealing brick pacers       helps keep them soil resistant. I don't know if you can effectively sand your bricks to clean        them or not, because I don't know what they are dirty with. If you have oily stains, they may     be permanent.

If you can live with the level of "dirty" you presently have, clean them as best you can and         them seal them with several coats of brick sealant.​

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We’ve lived in our home for 11 years. The brick floors are in all the living areas of our home. The bricks — by appearance and discussion with previous owner — are full-size bricks installed when the house was built. Do they need to be treated differently than brick tile?

About 6 weeks ago, a number of white splotches appeared suddenly on the brick in the kitchen after mopping. What might cause this? How can I restore their appearance. Your help is appreciated!

- Debbie

A

I don’t have experience with regular bricks used as flooring so can’t really address how it should be treated in comparison to brick tile/brick pavers. I’m going to guess though that the finish of a regular brick isn’t as smooth as a paver and probably not as impervious to water and spills.

I’m wondering if the white splotches are efflorescence, or mineral deposits from leaching out of the brick; usually that’s associate with water issues. You can try to clean it with phosphoric acid, but be sure to clean it with a mild detergent after and then rinse with water.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I live in an adobe home that was built in the 1980’s, it has brick floors. I believe they are pavers, about 2″ thick. I have no idea what they were sealed with, or if they were ever sealed. I’ve noticed they’re looking dingy, and no matter how much I vacuum and mop I still come away with dirt and grime. I’m interested in really deep cleaning them…and getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing sounds really unappealing. Is there a way to steam clean them? Or would a Rug Doctor work, if I left out the chemicals? Any ideas? Thanks!

Thanks!

- Kay

A

Well, if the pavers were indeed sealed at one time, they aren’t any more. You could try StainSolver, which is a product like OxyClean, but better.

AquaMix has a good line of products as well, the clickable link will take you to their page of products that are formulated for bricks. There are other brands too, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something once you read the product information and figure out just what you need. ;~)

By the way, I’m going on the assumption that you have pavers made of brick, not clay.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My husband and I are in the process of installing a brick floor in our kitchen. I would not recommend it to anyone! The process is tedious and labor-intensive. After grouting, we clean every brick by hand with a wet sponge. It takes several swipes to get the grout off the brick. Is there an easier way???

- Jennifer

A

Sorry, there isn’t an easier way. It’s work – plain and simple. Not difficult, just tedious. Did you seal the brick before you laid it? It makes it easier to clean up the grout that gets on the brick.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have been using Quick Shine on brick floors for a long time to give them a beautiful shine. My problem is that the last time I used the Quick Shine, I got distracted after squirking a long stream on the brick floor. When I mopped the floor, I was left with discoloration on the brick where the Quick Shine was squirked. I tried using hot water, didn’t work. I tried using more Quick Shine, didn’t work. When the floor dried, I am left with lines of spots that look like the brick was bleached. Help!!!

Is there anything I can do to get these wax spots up? If these are spots!!! If the Quick Shine did “bleach” the bricks, what can I do?

- Marilyn

A

I’ve never used their products, so I can’t tell you what to do, they don’t even post MSDS sheets on their website to see what their products are made of and if there’s anything to be cautious of (as far as chemicals are concerned). Their website is hollowayhouse.net.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My brick floors previously had a water base polyurethane finish but were flooded during Katrina. Since then I have stripped them and sealed them with a high gloss sealer. I then put a product on top which was supposed to give a higher glaze but it has problems. It lets the dirt get into it so that it can only be cleaned by stripping again. I want to use polyurethane again but was told not to use it on brick floors

Can you advise me? I was happy with my previous polyurethane but it gave off an extreme but that was while the house was under construction and I don’t think we could live in it while it cured. It was used for industrial purposes. Can you suggest something by brand name?

- Nick

A

Hi Nick,

Sure can…….. check out AquaMix products – the link takes you to their page of products that are formulated just for brick.

Good Luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have brick floors in my kitchen and I can’t get them cleaned. I have dogs, kids, they are so dirty looking. We have them professionally cleaned and sealed in June of 07, but they are so hard to clean. They are very rough and tear up any mop I try to use! Any advice??

- Kim

A

What do you use to clean your floors and maintain them? Do you think that it needs to be re- sealed? Does water still bead in the high-traffic areas? If it’s still sealed properly it should. A microfiber mop might work better for cleaning than a sponge mop. I only use a weak vinegar & water solution for cleaning floors (1 part vinegar to 15 parts water or more). The biggest thing is to keep the rinse water as clean as possible so that you’re not just depositing dirt back onto your floor.

I’m hoping that the person you hired to clean and seal your floor did a really good job so that this wouldn’t have to be done again for a few years. I’m guessing that this isn’t the case though and he wants yearly repeat business. Next time you might want to consider doing it yourself, even though it’s a big job. At least you’ll be able to control how much product is used (in other words, more coats of sealer so it lasts longer!). You might want to look at AquaMix to familiarize yourself with the different types of products available on the market for taking care of brick floors.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

READ TIL THE END! I’ve notice a lot of people saying that brick floors are hard to keep clean. I have a brick floored sun room, & two dogs who love being in there because they can see everything going on outside. I use a bleach water mixture when it starts to look dirty, & a vinegar water mixture to minimize odor. i use a bushbroom to scrub the bricks & a wet/dry shop vac to suck up the dirty water. It seems like a lot of trouble, but it’s the most effective way I’ve found to clean it.

- Ashley

A

Good for you Ashley! Is your brick flooring sealed? If not, does the bleach seem to fade the brick over time? Just curious.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Looking for dog friendly options…. does urine permeate through brick?

- Mary

A

If the brick is untreated, dog urine will soak into the brick. Even if it’s treated, the acidity of the urine may ruin the finish. No matter what kind of flooring you have it’s a good idea to have a few coats of sealer and clean up doggie messes as soon as possible.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Just moved into an older home where brick flooring was installed in kitchen and den. To achieve the look they wanted, they painted over the brick and the mortar. I don’t think the mortar was sealed because there are places on the mortar where is is chipped, exposing the bare mortar underneath which is now black with dirt. The floor desparately needs to be cleaned, but don’t know how – should it be steamed cleaned, or would that cause problem with the painted mortar?

- Susan

A

Wow. It’s hard to say – you’d almost have to test a little of the area. Really, what I would recommend is a product such as StainSolver or Enviro-One. I’ve used both of them for dirty concrete and they both work great. You might have to literally get down on your hands and knees with a scrub brush to clean it, but at least I know you won’t damage it. Good luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are just laying our brick tiles and during construction they are now dingy, dusty, and blah looking. We haven’t sealed them yet and the grout isn’t down. How in the world do we get them clean? Do we just need to wait until the grout is down to do anything?

- Kristi

A

Why are they dirty if you’re just now laying them? What kind of dirt do you think is in them? Are they being laid inside the house or outside? You should get them clean first (see the link in the post above yours) or you might even want to consider something from the AquaMix product line if you need something stronger. Be sure to seal your brick before grouting or you’re really going to have a tough time getting any excess grout and haze off of your brick before the final step of sealing after you grout.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have just laid the brick and have started to grout. We did preseal with a penetrating sealer to help with final cleanup. But I am using a grout bag to help get in the cracks without smearing the grout all over every inch of the bricks. I started to use my finger to smooth the the grout in, and it looks really good. But my finger is taking a beating! Is there a tool made for this job? Any suggestions?

- Kathleen

A

Hi Kathleen

I know this is going to sound weird, but I’ve done this before using one of those little souvenir spoons. If you have a truck stop near you, they should have them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a tool made for this job, but I’ve never found the need to search and buy one.

- The Flooring Lady


Maintenance

Q

I am thinking about purchasing a house that has brick flooring. But the brick floor has two       problems. One is that it seems to be sunken inward in a few areas. Generally the surface is       not very even, but in two different rooms there are areas where it curves inward, these               areas are perhaps 4’x2.5′ or so. The agent says it is because the brick was built on a sand           foundation and it does not represent structural issues for the house. Of course we would           have it inspected, but even if it is not a structural issue we wonder what could be done               about this and how expensive it would be to fix. Or would we just obscure it with furniture       somehow. Is this a dealbreaker?

Secondly, in some places the brick has a nice glossy sheen, but in other places it looks as if       covered by a dull grey dust. I read online that this could be cleaned and it may be                         “efflorescence,” but we wonder how much of an issue this would be.

Thanks so much in advance. Otherwise we really like the home, but the sunken floor seems     like a big issue. Your help is appreciated!

- Doug

A

I’d be surprised if the bricks were directly on the sand if this is in the house. My guess is the     floor joists and subfloor aren’t beefy enough for the brick flooring. Do get an inspection             (they are a good idea for all sorts of reasons).

If my guess is correct you can fix it by adding braces and another layer of subfloor, or                 replacing the one that’s there. That takes time and money to do that, but an inspection will       tell you if you need to do it for structural reasons.

If you don’t have to do it for structural reasons then it’s your decision as to whether to               disguise it, repair it or move on.

I’d like to hear what you learn from your inspection and what you decide to do.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Thank you for the input!

We’ll look at the house once more this week and if we still like it we’ll go ahead with the             inspection. I’ll report back.

Would one solution be to cover the brick with a wood floor? Is there a way to make the               wood flooring level atop the brick without damaging the original brick (in case someone           wanted to revert to it later)? Would it be a travesty to cover a unique brick floor with wood       (I know this is subjective)? It’s a little dark in the area with the brick so it might really                 brighten up the place to use a light colored wood and that might be less expensive than             redoing the brick.

Thanks again!

- Doug

A

You could cover the brick, but that will only add to the weight that may already be too much     for the subfloor, and it will add height to the floor which could cause problems with doors,       cabinets and stubbed toes

The wood will also eventually bow until it’s touching the bricks, so you have that sagging           problem again. And if the added weight is a problem, it could get worse faster. Yes a lighter       wood will brighten the area, but at what expense?

If that area happens to be a single-story the addition of sun tubes in the room will brighten       it nicely. But first, find out why the floor is sagging

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Good morning ! I have a brick floor, and it really needs to be stripped and released. I an having a VERY hard time finding someone who can do this for me. Can you point me in the right direction? We live in Michigan...near Lansing. Thank You!

- Jennifer

A

I wish I knew someone in that area who could help you. But I don't. Maybe your plea for help will be seen by someone in the area, or someone moving to the area.

I'm going to run down the list of places you can look, just to make sure you've turned over every brick (play on words intended). Flooring stores that sell brick, floor installers who install bricks, floor refinishers builders who say they install brick flooring. Commercial buildings that have stone/brick floors might have a maintenance crew or contractor who can moonlight on your floor project.

I wouldn't do it either, but as a last effort you could do it yourself with time and elbow grease. I'll hope you can find someone to help

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a brick floor that in places the grout has a chalky appearance. The floor had a clear coat put down when it was new, is there a product to strip the brick then a product to apply that will stain the brick and grout to match?

- Merle

A

Hi Merle,

Go to aquamix.com and look over the products they have. The site does a really good job on letting the consumer know what to use when/where/why.

I doubt you’ll find one product to stain the brick and grout the same color. Stain is transparent and since the beginning color of your brick and grout are different, so will the results be different too. What color is the grout now? Many people opt for a charcoal grey or black finish on the grout. Hopefully the chalky appearance on the grout isn’t efflorescence – if it is you’ll need to address that issue as well. There’s not any chance of moisture coming thru from beneath the grout/brick is there?

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi, my name is amanda and we had someone come in and install brick flooring in how kitchen. however, they never finished. they came in and layed the brick then covered the brick with sand so as to keep the brick in place. after which, they never came back to finish. Now we are stuck with brick flooring that is incomplete and we don’t know what to do from here. what do I need to do to complete this brick flooring?

- Amanda

A

Just out of curiosity, why didn’t the installers finish the job? I hope they weren’t paid in full. Anyhoo, you’re going to need to seal the brick, then grout the brick, clean off the excess grout, then seal the whole floor. Pay a visit to aquamix.com to look over their products for brick flooring. The site does an excellent job of describing what each product does, why that product is used, etc. The biggest thing will be to make sure you get all of the grout residue off before you seal the whole floor or else you’ll have a horrible smudgy looking result and have to strip and reseal. Make sure that between each step you allow enough time to dry completely. Whatever products you use, just make sure that it is formulated for use on brick flooring.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a brick floor in my kitchen and the shine has been lost. What is the best process/product to use to wax/polish the brick?

- Richard

A

Bringing back the shine to your brick could be dependent on different things. Is it still sealed at all – especially in the dullest places? Easiest way to tell is if water will still bead on it. If not, you need to re-seal. You can seal on top of what’s already been used – IF you know what kind of product has been used (water base sealer or not). If you’re not sure, you can try a small amount of the sealer of your choice (see www.aquamix.com for good products). You might also want to just go ahead and strip your floor and start from scratch with sealing/finishing. Again, the website I mentioned has very good quality products and the website does a great job of listing their different products for brick, why/when they should be used, etc.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have brick pavers that had a rug on top on them. Under the rug was a non slip rug pad that is now stuck to the brick floors. Any suggestions on how to get this pad off of the floor?

- Colleen

A

I’d suggest hot water and a scraper and/or scrub brush first. This may not get it all. I know I’ve heard of people using such things as nail polish remover (ugh!) to remove it – it can work, but will also strip any finish. I’m guessing you’ll at least need to strip the area and refinish that area – hopefully you won’t need to do this to the whole floor. Oh – and don’t use area rugs that have a rubber backing.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I bought a house years ago and now in the process of pulling up the carpet in it. I have beautiful hardwoods in most rooms. In the kitchen and den I have “broken brick looking” floors. I like it but I’m wondering what to call this type of flooring and how to maintain it. Any help would be good. Thank you.

- Velma

A

Can you give me a little bit of a description as to what your “broken brick looking” flooring looks like? Do you mean that it looks like old bricks that have experienced a lot of life with chips and such ‘missing’ from them? Any idea if it’s actually made of brick? If so, it’s still considered brick flooring. Is the flooring sealed? If not, it should be. As far as cleaning goes, once it’s sealed you should only need to use a vinegar/water solution(1 part vinegar to 15 parts water or more) and use a microfiber mop. I always have a second one on hand that is clean & dry to kind of buff the floor with to get it really dry and avoid any streaking or smudging that can happen. A clean, dry microfiber cloth will do just as well too.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Thanks for your response. The best description that I can give is that the floor has a mosaic type pattern. The surface is almost flat and appears like one placed pieces down to create a pattern of various shapes and sizes but the material is from brick material. There is between the pieces. This house was built in 1963 and the den and kitchen has this flooring. Carpet was placed on top of this in the den and vinyl tile was placed on top of it in the kitchen. I don’t know how to tell if the floor is sealed but once I removed the carpet and swept away the dust and debrie, I damp mopped the floor just to pick up any remaining dust. In some spots, there appears to be a slight shine.

- Velma

A

Ok, that helps some. What you really want to know (I think!) is for starters, is it sealed? It sounds like much of the sealer is going to be gone, since there are only ‘some’ areas that have a slight shine. What I would do is strip the floor so you can re-seal it and start out fresh. Since the floor is composed of brick, I would still refer to it as a brick floor. It sounds really interesting and unique – lucky you!

Be sure to use products that are made specifically for brick flooring. You can find a good range of quality products at aquamix.com – they’re site does a very good job of giving the consumer which products to use as well as when and why. They also have a very helpful staff to answer questions. I’m not saying that you have to use their products, or even that you should – there are others out there. Aquamix does the best job (in my opinion) of educating a consumer and also has MSDS sheets so you can see what is in the products. They also re- brand their products for some of the big-box retailers, but I don’t remember what the re- brand is called. They can help you with that too.

I know for sure you’ll need a stripper and a sealer. There are also deep cleaning products if you need them. You’ll have to figure out if you want a glossy, satin or flat finish. ;o)

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Thank you. I wanted to let you know that today I went to Home Depot and described my flooring to a gentleman there. He told me that what the builder did was pour mortar on top of my concrete slab and place those brick pieces throughout to make it smooth. He believes that the flooring is actually tiles that some flooring places sell in broken pieces for people who want this effect. He too also said that I should strip the floor and seal it. He suggested a matte type finish if I didn’t want a hi-gloss (which I don’t). At the end, he told me that this type of flooring was called cracked mosaic terrazzo. Anyway, I like it and will take some pictures today. Thank you for everything!

- Velma

A

Cool – and thanks for the info! ;~)

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We’re purchasing a 1986-built reproduction Williamsburg colonial home with brick floors in the kitchen, breakfast area, laundry room and mud room. The floor is beautiful, clean, etc. but very uneven. Is there any way to smooth it down so it looks and, most importantly, feels like it’s been walked on for two hundred years.

- Kathy

A

Most regular bricks (at least now) have a “face” on them. Just trying to sand them down or something similar to make them even may not produce results you would like.

You may be able to remove the bricks that are unlevel, and reset them to make them even.

Another idea would be to contact a brick mason in your area and ask their suggestion.

- The Flooring Lady


Sealing

Q

I have a 45+ year old brick floor. It has some type of solid sealer/varinsh on it, will acetone       be the right thing to get it back to its original state? Then what I use to seal it?

- TJ

A

I’d be careful using acetone on your brick floor. One, it’s harmful to you, and anyone else —     including pets — in the house. It could also damage the brick. Instead, find a specially               formulated brick stripping compound and follow the directions carefully.

There are a variety of specially formulated sealants for brick floors. You can choose between     a film-forming sealant and a penetrating sealant. There are differing opinions about which       is better, but the film-forming will be a better protection from stains.

You want to use either a water-based polyurethane that won’t yellow, or an acrylic product.       Be aware these products can darken the brick color and even add a sheen that’s not there           before hand. This type of sealant is harder to maintain in the long-run though, because it           has to be either removed or abraded before a new coat is applied.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My daughter has a large house with @ 3,000 sq. ft. of brick flooring. She would like to clean and refinish the surface but we don’t know the right process or products to use. Can you help us???

- Paul

A

There are a variety of specially formulated sealants for brick floors. You can choose between a film-forming sealant and a penetrating sealant. There are differing opinions about which is better, but the film-forming will be a better protection from stains.

You want to use either a water-based polyurethane that won’t yellow, or an acrylic product. Be aware these products can darken the brick color and even add a sheen that’s not there before hand. This type of sealant is harder to maintain in the long-run though, because it has to be either removed or abraded before a new coat is applied.

You’re best bet would be to check your local hardware/building supply store and start checking out your options for stripping, resealing and possibly a good polish. Pay attention to the VOC ratings, as your daughter sure doesn’t need something that’s going to be off- gassing for a long period and endangering her health. There are some good low/no VOC products out there.

Just be sure that the products you buy are specifically formulated for brick flooring, follow the manufacturer’s directions and don’t be afraid to call them or visit their website for more in-depth information and answers to questions you might have.

Remember too, that chances are she’ll be looking at applying a few coats of sealer and most likely at least a couple good coats of polish. Sanding the brick may also be in her future after stripping, some people do this if the sealer was worn away in areas and there’s dirt that’s very difficult to remove……. of course, I don’t know what condition your daughter’s floors are in.

Best of luck, and if you or your daughter have any more questions please feel free to drop back in!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have a brick archway in the kitchen that has been painted numerous times. We have stripped off most of the paint and now we need to seal it. I have seen you recommend sealing, but I can’t find what you recommend to seal with. Help!

- Connie

A

There are products that are made specifically for sealing brick – you’d probably be able to find something at your local Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. AquaMix has a good line of products, I don’t know if they’re available where you are though.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are building a new house and had old brick floors installed in several of the rooms downstairs. Our problem is that the floors were sealed (with a breathable finish) before they were dry after cleaning. As a result they are milky and are becoming much rougher. I do not know how I will mop the floors they are so rough. I have old brick floors in our current home and they are smooth. Is there a sanding process that will help? At this point, what can I do?

- Anne

A

Hi Anne,

You’ve certainly got a dilemma, I hope your bricks can be saved. It’s going to take some work though. Brick is porous and sealing them before they were completely dry was a big mistake. You’re going to have to try to deep-strip the sealer.

You’ll need products like AquaMix SEALER & COATING REMOVER, which is a non- flammable, multi-purpose stripper formulated to stay wet longer which gives the product time to remove most sealers, epoxy grout haze, urethane coatings, synthetic finishes, adhesives, and paints. Also dissolves deep-set stains and removes heavy grease buildup. (Yes, I copied/pasted from their website! ).

You might also need something like their Eff-Ex if the stripper doesn’t remove all of the efflorescence (that’s why it’s so rough).

If you can’t find these products in your area, I think you can order from their website, or at least find something similar locally. Their link for the MSDS sheets is located at the bottom of their page.

Best of luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We bought a 1953 ranch home that has brick floors. Apparently it wasn’t laid over a backer board and some of the mortar has come out. We want to patch the mortar but don’t know what modern product to use to match the dark gray color of the old mortar. Can you help?

- Kim

A

It shouldn’t matter what kind of grout you use, but might need to buy it in a couple colors so that you can custom mix the color. I find that sand grouts are easier to use for this.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am looking for a sealer for indoor bricks set in sand that will lock in the sand and have a mat finish.

- Barbara

A

Hi Barbara,

I haven’t run into this situation before, so I’m not sure. I would suggest getting a hold of the good folks at AquaMix — they have a toll free number posted on their website and see if their sealers would work for this sort of an application. I’ll bet you’re going to be advised to use grout by either removing the sand first (shop-vac), or over the sand. Their are grouts that will give a sandy appearance, by the way.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I tried AquaMix on my brick floors, it didn’t seal well. At least not to my stanadards. Then I put Euclid a concrete sealer down and my great dane just wore it off. Then I applied a polyurethane oil based sealer over it. It blistered in places and now my brick floors looks like it has leprosy.

Any suggestions?

- Donna

A

Hi Donna,

It sounds like your initial problem was most likely not using enough coats of the AquaMix. Brick is very porous and sometimes takes 4 or 5 coats to seal well. Chances are, both the AquaMix & Eu clid were water based sealers and when you put on an oil-based poly that got you into trouble. You cant use water & oil based products together – they don’t react with each other well. Your only hope at this point is to strip the floor and start over.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have brick flooring in my foyer, kitchen and bathrooms. I don’t think they were sealed very well, now my puppy has picked at a piece and I now have a hole about the size of a nickel, how can this be repaired without damaging the floor further? and does a floor steamer work well on brick for sanitizing with dogs in the house?

- Denise

A

I don’t think that a steamer on the “raw” bricks/stone is going to be a very good idea.

I use a vinegar/water mixture to clean my floors, roughly about 1 part vinegar to 15 parts water, but I think a 1:10 ratio would be better for the sanitizing issue. Enviro-One or something along that line would be good too.

Fixing the ‘spot’ is another issue. Maybe some red sanded caulk would be good. I don’t know how well that would seal though.

Maybe disguising it with red color/paint/stain before sealing it is the way to go. If it’s in a corner or at the edge of the room it could be disguised, but life being what it is, the hole is probably right in the middle of the room and neither furniture nor rug will be able to hide it. I do hope that’s not the case. Hopefully some of these ideas have helped.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We want to put in a brick floor, but my husband doesn’t want to put grout in between the bricks, is this ok to do? Also what is the best product to use to make the bricks stick to the floor.

Thank You

- Andrea

A

You really should use something in between the bricks, otherwise you’ll have all your dirt getting in between them as the bricks won’t fit together tightly enough to prevent that problem. As to your question of what to use to make the bricks stick to the floor, I have my own question: What kind of floor are you putting this on? Is it a concrete pad? If not, you need to be sure that your floor joists can support the extra weight. What is on the floor now? Are you going to remove the old flooring? You’d most likely want to use a medium-set mortar, but maybe not. I could really use some more info. Also – are they full size bricks or something that’s only a couple inches thick or less.

-  The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a brick floor in my sun room. It was a concrete porch and the brick were put over this. The bricks were sealed, and now they are getting the white stuff and also damp areas are appearing when an item is put on the floor. I don't think plastic was put under my porch, is there any way we can seal brick now? I want to keep the floor.

- Bev

A

Hi Bev,

I don’t think sealer is going to help much at this point if the moisture is coming from underneath. In order to fix the problem once and for all, you’d literally have to remove the brick and put plastic or vapor barrier paint or glue down then put the brick back down. I know, not what you wanted me to say, but I think you already knew the answer. :~(

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I just bought a home that has a brick floor in the family room. This is real brick, not the thin indoor type, but the same brick that is on our outdoor patio. The previous owners have put some layers of wax on it, only in the areas where they did not have furniture. I’m not sure what kind of wax they used, but I would like to completely strip it and re-seal and wax the whole thing. I have 3 cats and would like to protect it from any pet stains/ odors.

Any suggestions as to how I can strip off the old wax and what particular products/brands would be good to re-seal and wax it?

- Linda

A

Without knowing what is on the brick, it is really hard to say what to use to remove it. I would start by testing a small area, and see if vinegar and removes it, and if not, move up to a mild cleaner, then ammonia. You could also try asking a brick mason in your area to offer suggestions on both these questions. I would consider using the water-based Diamond Coat Varathane Polyuerthane when recovering the floor.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are considering a brick floor for our cabin. It will be footed slab with in floor radiant heat. Is it possible to steam clean recycled old chicago brick floor with a terra cotta sealant?

- Jennifer

A

I’m not following you completely, could you clarify a couple things for me? “Is it possible to steam clean recycled old Chicago brick floor with a terra cotta sealant?” Do you mean steam cleaning it before or after it’s been laid? Is the sealant already on it or is this something you want to do? I presume the terra cotta sealant is a sealant made for terra cotta products and not a sealant color, right?

- The Flooring Lady

Q

The website that sells the bricks recommends a terra cotta sealant once the floor has been laid. It is my understanding that no color is involved in the sealant. Since our cabin floor is going to take alot of abuse from kids and dogs, (it will also be in the kitchen), I’m just wondering if cleaning this floor is going to be an issue for me. Only sweeping it may not handle the grease from a kitchen or the wet spots from soggy dogs. Should I be looking in the direction of slate flooring instead of brick? We have not started construction yet, but I’ve been living in this cabin in my mind and wondering if brick flooring with all it’s charm, is not practical. I’m just trying to figure out how to clean it.

- Jennifer

A

That’s so much more helpful! So long as the sealant is a penetrating sealant, you should be ok - just don't be stingy with it. As far as cleaning, the main issue I would think would be that you will have an uneven surface even after sealing and dirt can be more difficult to remove on uneven surfaces than flat, even surfaces. Cleaners are going to depend on the recommendations of the manufacturer that makes the sealant, so it’d be best to check with them once you find out for sure what you’re going to seal it with. Make sure to find out too if the sealer will repel water and grease.

I love the idea of using old recycled brick because it’s the “green” thing to do, but also wonder if you’ve considered brick pavers since they’re not as soft as old bricks can be.

One last thought, don’t know if it will make a difference to you or not. ;~) Brick floors can be a tad uncomfortable on the feet, especially when standing for quite a while. If you should decide to use any throw rugs, be careful of the kind that have non-skid backing. Many times the backing will stick to the floor and you’ll have a devil of a time getting it back off again.

Oh, one more last thought….really! Be sure to keep your dog’s nails trimmed – I hear from lots of people about dog’s toenails scratching the finish on their floors – more associated with wood, slate & Saltillo, but the same would go for those old bricks.

Good luck and I’m sure you’ll love your floor – just be prepared & aware of what the “cons” are and they won’t be so bothersome!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My wife and I are considering brick paver flooring in our living room; we long for a natural, old-fashioned look. If our cat should have an “accident,” how easily, and by what method, could it be cleaned? Will urine penetrate the brick causing a permanent smell? Which sealant preparations, if any, can be done to assure that it will not be a a constant source of anxiety for us?

- Brad

A

It’s going to depend on the paver manufacturer’s recommendations. Once you figure out which paver you want to use then you can give the manufacturer a call. Cat urine will probably have to be cleaned up quickly though – you know what it can do. When you seal the pavers, don’t skimp on the sealants and any other finishes you might use. You didn’t mention what kind of a base is in your living room, whether it’s on a slab (concrete) or has floor joists. Make sure that the floor joists are strong enough, and if they’re not, you’ll need to beef them up to make them sturdier.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I’m thinking of installing a brick floor. My thought was to first seal the brick before laying them. I want to layer the brick dry in another area butting all the brick together so as not to allow the sealant to go to the sides or the bottom of the brick, then apply sealant with a garden sprayer. I figure this way when grouting, if some mortar got on the edge of the brick, it wouldn’t adhere because of the sealant. After completion, I’d apply another coat to seal the grout. Does this make sense?

- Ciro

A

Makes sense I guess, but sounds messy since you’ll have to deal with overspray getting on other surfaces. Most people usually just use a paint brush.

- The Flooring Lady


Referals

Q

We will be building our house soon and looking into brick floor in the kitchen area. Can you     tell me if there would be a specific kind to use for indoors and if anyone can direct me to           who sells it.

- Meme

A

Brick pavers are typically the type of brick used inside. Your yellow pages, if you are in a           metro area, will list the people who sell them. Your builder should also have leads on                 suppliers.

Make sure the subfloor is a 3/4" plywood/OSB and the joists are sturdy to support the               weight.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hello I was curious if you had any advice on where to by brick pavers at. Thanks.

- Lee

A

Hi Lee,

I don’t know where you are, so I really don’t have any ‘real’ suggestions. Home Depot, Lowe’s, True Value, other building supply stores can be a start. You can also look around on the internet (do a Google search) and type in your state and possibly nearest city in with the search. You’ll run into paver manufacturer’s sites too and can usually find out if they have dealers in your area. Good luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My wife and I are looking for a used brick looking vinyl or laminate type floor for our kitchen. We have a “country farm house” style home.

Something like Earthscapes or naturcor or any high quality vinyl or laminate flooring that looks like used brick. Any suggestions?

- Mark

A

Hi Mark, I would suggest contacting one of your local home improvement or flooring stores and taking a look at the vinyl that they offer.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am changing my floors and have always wanted to have brick floors installed. Brick is timeless. I love the look. However, now that I need find the brick – I am overwhemed. I never realized all the choices of brick. I love the black bricks, burgandy and white – typic bricks, but I am afraid it will be too busy looking on my floor. Any suggestions?

- LK

A

I always think of brick as the terra cotta color, but that’s of course my limited image of them. I think the size of your space will make some difference as to how busy you can make it look with the changing colors. If your space is big enough you could create a wonderful old-world feel with the various colored bricks inter-mixed.

The pattern you select will make a difference too. Maybe you need to select your installation pattern first, and then lay the bricks out in that pattern to see how you like them.

Don’t forget to make sure the floor structure is sturdy enough for the brick. You’d hate to go to the trouble and expense only to have it crack because of floor movement.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have always wanted a brick floor, even if it is a vinyl flooring in my kitchen and dining area. However, I cannot find any such vinyl flooring that looks like old fashioned brick floors. We purchased our house over 30 years ago. At that time, we were able to find such a vinyl. However, we refinished the area where we had the vinyl and now have wide pine floors. I have MS and need to have a floor that will be easy for me to keep clean.

If anyone knows of a manufacturer of a brick vinyl flooring, please let me know…even if it is a commercial flooring. Thanks so much.

- Betty

A

I found a few sites that may have solutions for you.

1. Tarkett Commercials may have a brick floor pattern, though I couldn’t find a picture of it. It’s one of their Azrock vinyl products. [consider the environmental impacts of buying and using vinyl flooring before making this choice] 2. Nafco seems to have a brick patterned vinyl.

There may be more, but my favored Forbo and Armstrong didn’t have an obvious brick vinyl or linoleum flooring product.

Good Luck

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Have you heard of a brick flooring product called portstone? You might want to check out their website. 1/4″ thick, made in sheets, beautiful colors, easy to install.

- Dennis

A

Hi Dennis – I’m over at their website now, or should I say still?? I like it!

- The Flooring Lady


Restorations and Renovations 

Q

I have brick pavers in my kitchen which have been sealed and waxed for over 25 years. A wet rug has now left a few of them whitish. What can I use to bring back the original brick color?

- Charles

A

How long ago did this happen? If it was just in the last couple days, I’d give it a while (about     a week) to see if the white marks fade away as the 25 years of wax dries out thoroughly. If it     doesn’t go away, I’d try buffing it with a white pad. If that still doesn’t work, I’d be afraid           that the floor will need stripped, I don’t think that you could just do the damaged area as           spot-work stripping & refinishing considering it’s been there for 25 years. You could try it,         but don’t be surprised if you’re not pleased with the results. If you’re planning on putting an     area rug in the same location, then spot-fixing it just might work.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Good Day!

We are buying a 1962 home…the front door entry way and kitchen has brick flooring.                 However, the brick colors are very different. The entry way brick is pretty dark and                     somewhat distressed while the kitchen brick is quite tan. We do not care for the kitchen             brick color….is there any product that will darken the brick to match the beautiful entry way.

Thanks so much in advance!

- Rich

A

Take a look at the AquaMix products for brick. They do have some color enriching sealers         that will darken brick, though I don’t know how close it will be to the color in the entry way.     I’ve heard of some people actually staining tiles & bricks with materials such as wood stain,       craft stains, even transmission fluid. It’s possible you might have to strip your floor too,             though that might remove some of that old patina in your entrance way. You might want to       play with some different products if you have a spot that’s rather unobtrusive – is there a           kitchen closet with the brick or even under your sink? Might be worth a shot.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am fixing up my newly purchased home and it has an older brick floor in 1/2 of the house. The floors appear to have a whitish “patina’d” look to them from calcifications in the water (I assume) and it doesn’t come off. I don’t have a lot of time and money to fix them, I was wondering if I could just paint over the floors with a heavy oil based paint? I think that might dress them up quite a bit. Is that a good idea? Thanks!

- Terri

A

If you paint the floors then you’ll have a heckuva time stripping the paint if you should ever decide to do so. Personally, I would clean and seal the brick.

The calcification are actually within the brick, not the water, but is caused from water and is called efflorescence. AquaMix has a good line of products for brick flooring, including products for removing efflorescence and products for deep cleaning (if you so choose) and sealing. There are similar products from other companies as well.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi I have old floor brick in my kitchen which were attempting to make good by removing dark concrete in between & liming in between the bricks instead, which looks so much better, however whilst using the lime it covers the bricks with a film of white lime which is so hard to get off even after several washes, what would you suggest to remove the lime film? (the bricks have been sealed with linseed oil initially),also what would be best to seal after? we have been advised either traffic wax or bourne seal? the traffic wax seams hard work as apparently it needs constant rewaxing.

- Emma

A

Hi Emma,

I would recommend products from aquamix.com. Their products are wonderfully user friendly and they have products made specifically for brick flooring. They have a product too, that will help to clean off the excess grout as well. Good luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

The home we have just purchased has brick floors in the dinning room as well as the kitchen,from what im told this area used to be the outside inclosed porch and was ade into the rooms we now have.My question is how I should go about putting a new floor in.The brick floor is very uneven and looks bad,I would like to have a tile floor but I have no idea what to do to make the floor even.Please Help

- Victoria

A

The brick would have been laid on top of concrete, and you could remove the brick and start fresh with the concrete as your base.

Is the brick level? If so, you could lay 2×4’s on 16″ centers and then lay 3/4″ plywood on top of that and then lay the flooring of your choice.

If the brick is not level, then we’re talking a whole other ballgame. I would suggest consulting a contractor in that case.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have nice smooth brick tile through the kitchen, family room, bathrooms, halls and as a walkway around a rugstyle carpet in the formal living room. It is this formal living room which I have a question. If we pull up the carpet could a rustic style wood floor be put in place of the carpet with the brick walkway around the wood floor? Have you ever seen this done? It is a very outsidish type room looking out onto the patio and pool.

- Nancy

A

Hi Nancy,

I think a wood floor would be a nice complement to the brick tile.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a garage that does not have a finished floor. I was wondering if there are any drawbacks to putting in a brick floor instead of a concrete one. I feel that I would be able to tackle this a little easier as a one man job.

Any thoughts?

- S Woolery

A

The only concern that some have is the cracks and crevices which can be hard to clean. Most solve this with an acrylic coating as it doesn’t yellow. I would consult with several professionals as to the benefits or concerns a brick floor may pose.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Was brick used as interior floor in houses built in the late 17th century? If not brick, what         else would be in a hallway, besides wood?

- Cynthia

A

Hi Cynthia

Yes, brick was used, as well as slate, flagstone, porcelain (for the rich people!), ceramic               tiles……….

To get a better idea, take a peek at old buildings in Europe – I’ll bet you can do a google             search and find some.

What kind of a look are you going for? Something old English cottage style?

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am remodeling my home and am very interested in using brick pavers for a large area of flooring. I need something durable and love the homey feel of brick flooring. I’ve seen a gorgeous combination of brick pavers installed within a grid pattern of hand scraped wood planks. Do you have any information or ideas on such a combination?

- C Rice

A

I have seen similar installations and think they are great. One design was ceramic tiles with a patterned tile thrown in for variety, all held together and apart by the grid of wood planks. The rougher look of hand-scraped wood planks sounds perfect with the rougher look of brick pavers.

Things to pay attention to include the brick pattern to make sure it fits with the plank grid, the thickness of the the pavers and the planks so you don’t have height variations in the floor, and protecting all the elements of the floor (sealing the different products with their better sealants and at what stage).

I bet you’ll create a fabulous look. If you have more specific questions please ask. And send a picture when you are done so I can post it here for others to get ideas from.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I want to put brick pavers in my kitchen.

Our house is built off the ground.

Will that make a difference putting the brick pavers down. Some advice was given that with the house settling that it might crack the mortar.

Please let me know if you think it is ok to use the brick pavers.

- Jonna

A

Settling homes can cause all kinds of problems from the floor up to the ceiling. But the biggest issue of using brick pavers in your kitchen is the strength of the floor structure.

How closely spaced are the floor joists? What thickness subfloor do you have? You can strengthen any floor structure with braces and thick subfloor to make your brick flooring durable.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

When you talk about thin brick pavers, how thin are you talking about? Pavers are thinner than regular bricks. Are you talking something even thinner than a regular paver?

- Jonna

A

If you are installing pavers, be sure to have at least 3/4″ subfloor of plywood or OSB. And if the house is old and the joists are further apart than 18″, beef up the floor support too. You don’t want the floor flexing since that’s what breaks the grout and the pavers.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have 300 sq ft of regular brick that someone gave us. We have just bought a house that is built off the ground (not on a slab). Is there any hope of using these bricks as a floor?

- Mary

A

Hi Mary, you have a very interesting question. If you really want to use these bricks you need to strengthen your floor to support the bricks. For brick pavers (face bricks) that are generally used for flooring one would need to have at least 3/4″ sub-floor and reinforced floor joists and supports. For this kind of brick you’ll need, IMHO, at LEAST 1-1/2″ sub-floor and super-reinforced floor joists and supports. I realize this may involve way more than what you’re hoping for, but you don’t want your floors to give under the weight of the brick – that would truly be a horrible thing to happen!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

we are looking at putting brick throughout our hole house minus the bed rooms. I have not seen this done and have been getting some strange looks when I tell fokls that is what we are doing…is that too much brick?

- Madison

A

Hi Madison

It might be too much brick. It would depend on the layout of your home, which of course I have no idea of how it’s laid out. If you really like the natural stone that brick provides, you might also want to look into Saltillo tile or other types of stone as well. You’ll also have more decorating options that way as brick is generally found in warm colors and there might be a room you’d rather do in cool colors (lots of colors with stone tiles as well as many types of stone!).

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am trying to pick out a floor for my back yard and would like to use brick. The trouble is we want to create one level patio and currently have two. One is 5-7 inches lower than the other. The first section is 200 sq feet of 5-7 inch thick concrete and the other is 400 sq feet of 3 inch thick concrete. My question is can we lay the brick directly over the concrete in the first section and raise up the other section using sand? We live in CO so I am curious to know if the freeze thaw cycle with make the flooring uneven. Thank you

- Jennifer

A

Hi Jennifer, I would recommend that you contact a contractor in this situation.

after further thought:

Freeze-thaw is real problem in Colorado. If water collects among your various layers you’ll be impacted by that natural event. Hopefully you can find a way of leveling the two surfaces to your satisfaction, and budget. I have used brick and stepping stones for patios, but I’ve never had to create a level patio from two different height patios.

Good Luck!

- The Flooring Lady

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