I have read many of the old posts about painted exterior brick, and thought I'd present my situation to see if anyone has any ideas. I have a wall that was at some time repaired with non-matching brick.
First, a little history:
The city of Baltimore has about a jillion rowhomes dating back to the 1890s-early 1900s. Most are, naturally, brick construction. In the old days, lots of people painted the exterior brick walls. I have heard this theory of "these old bricks needed paint to protect them." Now I see that this must have been reallya bad assumption by these people. I DO presume, though, that the MORTAR was a problem. A local mason said that most of the mortar used around here was sand and lime with horse hair [shrug]. I DO know that the mortar is so soft I can crumble it with my fingers.
In the 1940's or so, the Big Thing around here was to have skilled crafstman apply FORMSTONE to the fronts of their houses. This consisted of wire-lathe being put on the wall, and then then portland? cement was troweled on and molded into shapes resembling cut-stones. Each "stone" was somehow dyed, and the finshed product looked like a wall made of various sized rectangular cut stone.
Nowadays, during a renovation, the status quo is to REMOVE the formstone, and restore the original brick finish. This often includes removal of PAINT from the underlying brick as well. It is a chemical and pressure wash process (city regulations dictate the method for lead paint abatement, etc.) The area around the house is dammed up, and all liquids are pumped into 55 gallon drums and hauled away by appropriate hazmat companies to keep run-off from damaging the environment.
Anyway, you never know what you have under the formstone and paint until you remove it. Most people have nice looking brick, and there are many people making money by re-pointing the brick walls.
I was not so lucky: After all this process, I find that about 30% of my wall consists of REPLACED BRICK. At some point, for some reason (perhaps freeze-damaged painted brick), a large, erratically bounded section of the wall has been re-laid with a non matching brick.
Now with all paint removed, it looks awful. The usual local solution is to pour a new brick ledge/foundation, and lay a new brick veneer in front of the exiting brick (the walls of the house already consists of 2 brick walls: interior and exterior, that are tied together, replacing the actual affected wall instead of bricking OVER it would be detrimental to the structural integrity of the house.)
I REALLY want to avoid this expense if possible. I saw at the eBrickSolutions web site that there is this concept of "STAINING" brick. Is that actually DIFFERENT from PAINTING? Does it allow brick to "breathe" or whatever it needs to do? Is it effective? and is it cost effective?
My brick wall is only about 12 feet wide and 18 feet tall.
If anyone has any info or sugestions, I'd greatly appreciate it.