Shouldn't your cleaner match?
At PROSOCO, we make a wide variety of acidic masonry cleaners for new construction because of the variety of substrates out there -- each one is slightly different in chemical makeup and therefore will be most effectively cleaned with a product to match those characteristics. It's also one of the reasons why we always recommend starting with the mildest cleaner at the mildest dilution and increasing the strength as necessary. It’s much easier to increase the strength than to go at it too hard from the start and backtrack.
If you’re trying to chisel a small corner off a piece of stone, which approach would you take? Start with a small hammer and increase to a larger hammer until you find one that does just enough? Or...start with a sledge and attempt to piece the stone back together after you’ve shattered it?
Here’s how we compare our hierarchy of new construction, acidic masonry cleaners to hammers.
The Finishing Hammer
Light Duty Concrete Cleaner
The finish hammer (also known as tack hammer) has a lightweight steel head, rounded on one side and smooth and flat on the other, a short, well-balanced handle that’s gripped mid-handle for maximum balance and control. Designed for fine detail work, not demolition. The equivalent acidic new construction cleaner would be a product like PROSOCO’s Light Duty Concrete Cleaner, very effective on a variety of sensitive substrates, but not intended for the heavy stuff. Sure it could do it with enough force/concentration, but it’s not what it’s designed for, nor is it the most effective method.
The GENERAL-PURPOSE HAMMER
The next hammer is the slightly larger, general-purpose hammer with magnetic nail starter, basic claw, lightweight but strong steelhead, and ergonomic, balanced handle. Intended for a variety of tasks, but not the best option for fine furniture, nor demolition work. I liken this hammer to PROSOCO’s Vana Trol, which has plenty of power to get a variety of jobs done safely and effectively, but also has those specialty buffering components protecting sensitive color deposits and natural elements. Sure, you could do the super sensitive work with enough caution, or the demo with enough force, but again, not the most effective.
The Framing Hammer
Next up is the basic framing hammer. This one has a steel head, straight claw, and a balanced wood handle. It was a couple bucks cheaper than the fancy general-purpose hammer noted above, but it doesn’t have some of those specialty features like the ergonomic handle or magnetic nail starter. This is where products like our 600 land. Used in the right situations, it gets the job done safely and effectively, but probably not the best choice for the more delicate stuff.
Custom Masonry Cleaner
After the framing hammer comes the mini sledge. Its 6-pound steel head is flat on one side and has a straight pein blade on the other for special circumstances. Its medium-length handle provides enough power to be as aggressive as you probably need to be, but still provides a level of control so it doesn’t get away from you. This would be our Custom Masonry Cleaner. It’s a workhorse when you need to get it done, but should be avoided for the sensitive stuff. I wouldn’t use a mini sledge hammer for framing or cabinet installation, but Custom Masonry Cleaner is your go-to cleaner when you’ve got a tougher task at hand like heavily stuck mortar smears on concrete block.
Heavy Duty Concrete Cleaner
Finally we’re down to the 12-pound sledgehammer. This is the big boy with nothing but a block head on it and a long, heavy handle. If used incredibly carefully, it could be used without collateral damage, but it’s really not intended for the detail work. This would be our Heavy Duty Concrete Cleaner, used to dissolve heavy, aged mortar; etch concrete; and remove heavy staining. Unless that’s your goal, you should probably refer to the hammer/acidic masonry cleaner intended for your use.
Last but not least is the Jackhammer. This one has no place in construction, only destruction and is equivalent to the common muriatic acid. Just like a jackhammer isn't intended for building anything, muriatic acid is never the best choice for masonry cleaning and should be left in the truck unless the goal is to destroy things.
Moral of the story is, just like hammers, acidic masonry cleaners have a very specific purpose. While they could be used for a wider range of tasks than they were built for, you’ll likely be making the job much harder than it has to be and decreasing your margin for error.
Just one more reminder that, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
The muriatic acid that was used to remove excess mortar from this masonry caused irreparable damage to the facade.