Q: I just purchased a c. 1920s semi-detached house with exposed brick along the interior wall that runs between the two houses. This looks great but the old bricks and mortar give off a lot of dust and masonry particles. We clean regularly, but can't keep up. Is there something we can apply to the bricks that won't change the appearance but will reduce the dust?

— Nick, Toronto, Canada

A: Steve replies:There are some epoxy-based sealing products made for brick and stone that will take care of the problem. However, they will darken the brick as well as give it a bit of a sheen. Other alternatives would be to paint the wall — I know that may sound heretical to some, but painted brick can look good. Or, depending on how desperate you are to get rid of the dust and particles, you can parge the wall, which is to say cover it with a thin coating of mortar. This, of course, would hide the brick altogether. Good luck.
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