Beginner’s Guide to Restore an Exposed Brick Wall


steps to buying a house for the first time brick house with a green lawn Middle Class Dad

Exposed brick walls are well-known for providing a warm, rustic feel to the bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens.

Exposed brick walls are a stunning design feature. If exposed brick looks unpleasant, unattractive, and old, there is no need to be worried. You can restore the exposed wall to its original state and make it look new. It just needs a little time and effort. 

It can be restored by cleaning the bricks, repairing faulty mortar, or applying the right brick sealant. Staining, discoloration, or other problems on older brick walls may cause them to lose their attractive glow. 

So, without further delay, let us get down to the process of restoring them.

How to Restore

There are a few simple but essential steps involved in successfully repairing exposed brick walls. 

They are:

  • Cleaning 
  • Replacing 
  • Adding

Yes, the steps look pretty straightforward, but you need to invest some time and effort to complete the whole procedure perfectly, and give your exposed brick wall a clean and shiny outlook.

Cleaning 

If an exposed brick wall is visibly dirty, it needs a thorough cleaning. Brick maintains its clean aesthetic even after it becomes dirty, which means that it takes quite a lot of dirt for a brick wall to need cleaning.

Years of dust and debris need some serious scrubbing to make it look clean.

Power Washing

In some cases, exposed brick walls can be cleaned with gentle power washing methods. However, power washing bricks may go wrong if the task is not done carefully and using shallow water levels. Excessive use of force can cause permanent damage to the bricks.

Sometimes it can peel away the top layer, making them more vulnerable to fracture and leaving a rough, worn look.

If the exposed brick walls are indoor, you will need plastic containers, buckets, and some plastic sheets, before starting power washing.

Scrubbing

Power cleaning can harm the overall condition of the bricks. Although manually scrubbing and cleaning bricks requires more work, it may be worthwhile to prevent potential damage.

First, scrub difficult areas with a stiff brush. Specific solutions can be diluted with water to remove buildups. Next, in a bucket of water, mix essential grease-cutting soaps and table salt.

The salt gives your scrubbing power an extra boost.

Apply the solution of water, dish soap, and salts to the wall and allow it to rest for about ten minutes before starting to scrub. Then, rinse the wall well and wipe it clean with a wet cloth or a mop to ensure that all residue is removed. Also, you can get the best mop for washing walls online or at any nearby repair shop.

If cleaning techniques are ineffective, you will need to switch to more advanced restoration methods.

Replacing

Now that the walls are cleaned, let us discuss how to replace damaged bricks.

Mortar Replacement

If you detect any loose, cracking, or missing mortar between the bricks, you should contact a professional for restoration and repointing services.

It involves removing and cleaning up broken mortar parts and replacing them with a matching mortar piece. Finding the perfect match is challenging, especially if the wall is old.

If repointing is not finished on time, further complications, like entire bricks, can fall out of place, making matters more complicated.

Replacing Broken Bricks

Individual bricks can be replaced if they are cracked, spalling, or unattractive. Like mortar, these bricks must be equal (and identical) in shape, size, color, and quality to the original materials. In some cases, the fractured brick may simply be turned around if the other side is still in decent shape.

It is not always easy to remove bricks, even though they seem to loosen by the minute. However, professional tools and expertise can help to complete the replacement task more swiftly and with fewer chances of damage.

Adding

After cleaning, repairing, and renovating the exposed brick wall, do not forget to apply the proper brick sealer on top. A sealant will help in preserving and maintaining its beautiful finish over the years.

Although a paint sprayer can be used to apply brick sealant, applying it with a brush or roller makes sure that every part of the wall is thoroughly coated and protected.

There is always the possibility that the brick wall has tiny cracks that are undetectable to the human eye. Sealant effectively seals these cracks, reducing drafts and improving the wall’s overall integrity.

Using a polyurethane sealer will give you a very glossy texture that looks unnatural on bricks. Unless that is the desired appearance, we recommend a matte finish brick sealant to give the walls a natural outlook.

Finally, if you like the texture of an exposed brick wall, but you want to change the outlook of the wall, you can always paint them with different colors (according to your choice). 

So, now we know how to restore the exposed brick walls. Let us discuss whether exposed brick walls are a good idea and if they have any potential downsides.

Advantages

Exposed brick walls are beautiful and can make dull places look warm. They are pretty unique and are mostly used in living rooms or other frequently used areas. 

A well-maintained exposed brick wall can make the home attractive to the buyers and easier to sell the house.

Brick walls are generally strong compared to dry walls because they can withstand damage and remain virtually appealing for a long time.

Disadvantages

Although exposed brick walls have some excellent qualities, they have some drawbacks too.

Exposed brick walls are strong; that is why drilling or making holes in them is challenging. Also, it makes them harder to decorate for hanging picture frames or artworks. Though they can be painted as mentioned above to give them a pleasant outlook.

Bricks tend to hold water and dirt. So, unless you put sealant to cover them, they are pretty vulnerable to water damage.

Another drawback of a brick wall is that they are not energy efficient.

Conclusion

Though exposed brick walls can be a stunning design feature in a room or around your house, they do have some disadvantages.

However, restoring them properly can bring back their appealing outlook. If you do not want to do the restoration task yourself, you can always call the professionals.

 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

Recent Posts