Sealing Exposed Brick Wall
September 23, 2007 12:59 PM   Subscribe

I have an exposed brick wall in my house (it was like that when I moved in). It's quite irregular, and a bit rough, so I'm not sure I really want to paint it. But I would like to prevent the dusting and flaking, without it looking too shiny. Has anyone out there done this? Is it a spray process, or applied with a brush? And some people warn the wall then can't 'breathe.' If anyone's done this I'd appreciate any tips.
posted by jgballard to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a reputable masonry supply yard (or even paint store) in your area? I can't recall brand names off the top of my head for this, but a good shop should be able to recommend to you a matte, breathable masonry sealant. You want breathable, or the brick may flake as moisture moves through since it's so porous. These sealants are not uncommon; the thing is to get a good one.

Most brick made up until 1900 or so is so soft that it needs to be either painted or sealed, especially if exterior (understanding this is not your case).
posted by vers at 1:26 PM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Search for this -- there have been quite a few discussions on how to treat masonry in a living space including painting and sealing.
posted by amanda at 1:51 PM on September 23, 2007

previously, but without a clear conclusion. Maybe contact jimmyhutch and see if he ended up with a good solution?
posted by misterbrandt at 1:56 PM on September 23, 2007

Well, I haven't ended up with a good solution as of yet - however, what I'm gonna try for MY situation is removing the powdering old mortar lines, getting some Quikrete Mortar Repair in a tube, and then getting some UGL Drylok Clear Protectant to prevent the spalling and dusting, which is baaaad at this point.

My chimney doesn't work anymore, it's all architectural and "pretty," except not pretty at all. Not yet. I swear that it will be once I'm done with it though!
posted by jimmyhutch at 4:21 PM on September 23, 2007

You're just as capable as I am at searching for this, but I did find some results on this at Thanks amanda.
posted by jimmyhutch at 4:29 PM on September 23, 2007

There was a discussion about this on
posted by jeanmari at 4:30 PM on September 23, 2007

Talk to a mason. No not that kind... Using the wrong sealant is bad, using the wrong mortar is also bad. The mortar and the brick have to have similar expansion and contraction characteristics. Too "hard" a mortar mix and you can start cracking and spolling the brick. Coating the brick will seal in moisture, and it will fail.
posted by Gungho at 4:10 AM on September 24, 2007

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