The discussion on painting exterior brick varies, and I am from the persuasion that "historic masonry" is old, past its prime, and cost prohibitive to ever attempt a re-point with lime mortar. I counted four buildings just today while walking down the sidewalk for two blocks that had lime mortar, 1900's era brick, crumbling gaps between bricks, faded, dirty, discolored bricks . . . they all needed pointing. If the stuff were so great, and self-repairing, why all the crummy results over time? When deterioration of the mortar has already happened, and things are a mess, and the bricks are worn, ugly, and dirty, plain unsightly, why not paint? One can surely re-point with the proper soft, matched mortar, and then paint. If, and I stress "if", moisture flows through paint into the mortar, then can it not get back out the same way? Paints are not one way barriers. But, if the paint is "not breathable" as masons state, then what is the trouble in the first place? No breathe, then no moisture enters to begin with.
So, this idea that paint destroys the mortar makes sense if water is trapped inside the wall from INSIDE?
Any painters or owners who have painted their exterior brick homes that have as original mortar the lime/mortar style?