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Painted/mismatched brick woes. Restoring a 90 YO house.

Posted by Lou on August 1st, 2000 01:24 AM

0 of 1 people found this post helpful

Hello All,

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.


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