5 Tips to Bring Interior Brick Back to Life

5 Tips to Bring Interior Brick Back to Life

From properly cleaning interior brick walls to adding the proper sealant, there are a variety of things you can do to make interior bricks look better and last a long time.

Exposed brick adds character, charm and warmth to the interior of any building. Not to mention, it pays tribute to the historic nature of the building. Most brick buildings include a layer of plaster or lath over brick surfaces in order to provide a smooth and finished looking wall. These days, the trend is to remove these overcoats to reveal the beautiful brick beneath.

Sometimes, that beautiful brick you’ve been dying to uncover doesn’t look so pretty. That’s because the bricks used on the exterior of buildings are different from the bricks used on the interior. In the past, interior wythes were of lower quality than exterior face bricks because they were not intended to show. In addition, masons-in-training often learned the skills of the trade by working on interior bricks that wouldn’t be seen but would instead be covered with a plaster or overlay of some type.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to breathe new life into interior brick surfaces so that they add charm to your home, office, or storefront.

5 Ways to Make Interior Brick Look Better

Clean with Caution

Brick is porous, which means it’s sensitive to harsh cleaners and excess moisture. Make sure to use mild water and soap solutions for any cleaning, pair this with a stiff bristled brush and some elbow grease. Never use acidic cleaners and do not power wash brick or you risk losing entire portions of the wall.

If walls are really dirty, you can create a paste using grease-cutting liquid dish detergent and table salt. The grittiness from the salt will help remove stuck on stains and debris. Apply the solution to the brick wall for around 10 minutes and then employ your bristle brush to scrub at it. Make sure to remove all of the soapy salts and thoroughly dry the wall.

Replace Damaged Bricks

There might be some bricks that have run their life course and need to be removed and replaced. You can remove damaged bricks from the wall by drilling several holes in the surrounding mortar, this might be enough to then wiggle the brick free from the wall. In other cases, you may need a chisel and some more work to get it out.

Check the opposite side of the brick, you might be able to simply turn it around. Otherwise, you’re tasked with finding a replacement brick that resembles the other bricks in color, texture, and so forth. If you plan to paint bricks, this is will be easier to do.

Carefully Consider Painting Interior Brick Walls

Painting a brick wall might be the best option to give the wall the style you are looking for. Plus, it can offer the wall a good deal of protection against moisture infiltration.

Although, you must carefully consider this before doing so. Once you paint the brick, it’ll be next to impossible to fully remove the paint and restore the original look of the wall. Brick is porous and will soak up the paint like a sponge.

In addition, before painting a brick wall, it must be properly cleaned and primed using a thick roller. Acrylic-based paint is recommended for a solid coat of moisture-protected color.

Use Sealant to Fill in Cracks

If there are any visible cracks in brick or mortar joints, you can apply a special sealant to preserve the appearance. Using sealant can also help reduce drafts in your home. Whatever you do, avoid using a polyurethane sealant because this will only create a glossy finish that looks far from natural. Aim for a sealant with a matte finish instead.

Sealing Interior Brick

To help protect interior brick from moisture, add a sealant to the face of interior brick. You can pick between a matte or glossy finish, depending on the style you are after.