In the few times I have replaced bricks in my home, I always feel the end result is a little messy. Specifically, despite my best efforts, the brick face ends up a little "smeared" with mortar. What is the best way to avoid this problem?
I thought this would be a common issue and searched online. Maybe I searched the wrong terms, because I mostly found references on how to clean up cured mortar (Muriatic acid).
In my case, I am talking about fresh mortar as the brick is laid. I am curious how Masons end with a nice, clean finished wall. Is it just experience and ability to keep the bricks clean in the first place? Or is there a washing / finishing step?