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Painted Brick Chimney Spalling

I have an old 1935 home with a brick chimney that was painted white some time ago (prior to my moving in). Some of the bricks are not spalling as they get wet and portions are popping off.

I called my local chimney repair companies and nobody can tell me how to fix this problem.

Everything I've read said you shouldn't paint the brick because it traps in the moisture. Should I side over this chimney? I like the character it adds to the house, but I don't want the exterior water issues to cause interior problems next. There were already other water issues from improper flashing around the chimney when the roof was redone.

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