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Jjmars
Removing plaster to expose interior brick
Jjmars

I apologize if this isn't in the proper location. I own a 1918 brick foursquare. I've been thinking of removing the plaster to expose the brick on two walls in the dining area. I love that look.

My question is what people think I would be sacrificing in insulation/air infiltration? Honestly the house is quite drafty as is.

Any experiences, advice or opinions welcome!

Clarence
Re: Removing plaster to expose interior brick
Clarence

There should be no problem if the plaster is removed.
Plaster has no insulation value.
As for Air Infiltration there should be no effect by removing the plaster unless there are voids in the bricks.
After the plaster is removed you may need to do some repointing of the mortar joints.
If repointing is required make sure the correct matching mortar material is used.
Than apply a good quality clear sealer that is breathable to the exposed brick.
Also keep in mine some plaster can remain in place which in some cases look pretty good.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: Removing plaster to expose interior brick
Sombreuil_mongrel

Old brick could be quite porous & drafty. The masons selected brick for the purpose they would carry out. The harder-fired brick went outside. The soft brick that could never take any weathering (close to adobe in some cases) was used for inside courses.
If the brick was to be plastered-on directly, they would rake out the mortar joints to leave key-ways for the first coat of plaster to embed into.
In my area, the "good rooms" of solid brick houses got furring strips and lath & plaster in the post civil war years. This may have to do with the climate here, or be a local thing.
Don't destroy old, good work on a whim. Once it's gone, it's probably gone for good, and the house will have to live with it forever. Be a good steward, which means not inflicting any damage on it in the name of a fad. It's a residence, not a loft conversion, the original owners would be ashamed to have unfinished surfaces in an important guest room.
Casey

Jjmars
Re: Removing plaster to expose interior brick
Jjmars

Thanks for the input! The joint work on the exterior is in quite good shape save for a few spots on the northern exposure side of the house that never receives sunlight. To be expected.

I do agree with the second response about respecting the work and history of the previous generations. The history of this particular home has mostly been overwritten by poor work. The room in question appears to be have been worked on by non-licensed contractors or at least by someone looking to get in and out with minimal cost or effort.

On the flip side of removing the plaster and cleaning up the finish carpentry I have been thinking about hiring a respected contractor to bring it back to "more original" form.

At this point I'm merely researching but please feel free to lend me your thoughts!

dj1
Re: Removing plaster to expose interior brick
dj1

I'm curious to learn if the condition/finish on the interior bricks is complete and presentable. Sometimes they don't finish it completely knowing it would get covered by drywall or plaster.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Removing plaster to expose interior brick
Mastercarpentry

When the brick was not going to be exposed, little care went into it's laying beyond strength and it often used up the chipped or mis-formed bricks they wouldn't want to have visible in the end. So it may not be the 'rustic pretty' wall behind the plaster which you envision but there's only one way to find that out! Decorated with the 'industrial look' you might end up with a very attractive room in the end. Just remember the old brick was probably laid with lime mortar and any repairs or pointing needs to be of that same type and mix. You may have to hunt down the oldest mason in town for that as most of the young ones have no clue about lime mortars since they've not been used in new construction for a very long time.

Poist links to pics as you go and of the finished room- we love seeing people's successful projects here!

Phil

Jjmars
Re: Removing plaster to expose interior brick
Jjmars
dj1 wrote:

I'm curious to learn if the condition/finish on the interior bricks is complete and presentable. Sometimes they don't finish it completely knowing it would get covered by drywall or plaster.

I've had a glance at a small portion of the interior brick in the adjacent room and it was in great shape. My neighbor exposed the brick throughout her entire kitchen (basically same house) and the brick looked great.

Jjmars
Re: Removing plaster to expose interior brick
Jjmars
Mastercarpentry wrote:

When the brick was not going to be exposed, little care went into it's laying beyond strength and it often used up the chipped or mis-formed bricks they wouldn't want to have visible in the end. So it may not be the 'rustic pretty' wall behind the plaster which you envision but there's only one way to find that out! Decorated with the 'industrial look' you might end up with a very attractive room in the end. Just remember the old brick was probably laid with lime mortar and any repairs or pointing needs to be of that same type and mix. You may have to hunt down the oldest mason in town for that as most of the young ones have no clue about lime mortars since they've not been used in new construction for a very long time.

Poist links to pics as you go and of the finished room- we love seeing people's successful projects here!

Phil

Thanks! If I go forward with the project I will document the process.

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