Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Very Old Brick Masonry - Painted or Not?
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Very Old Brick Masonry - Painted or Not?


We recently bought a house, which is 120 years old! Originally built in 1893, it is constructed of solid brick masonry with a sandstone foundation.

The brick and foundation are currently painted. We thought that since brick masonry from that time period tends to be a bit softer, that perhaps the paint is "protecting" the brick and foundation from the elements. However, on the other hand, we have also been told that the paint is damaging the brick/foundation and causing cracks and some crumbling because it is not allowing the brick/stone to "breathe" properly and get rid of any moisture build-up.

So basically, my question is: should we leave the brick masonry and the sandstone foundation painted on a home of this age? Or should we strip the paint, exposing the bare brick and stone as it was originally? Thank you!

Re: Very Old Brick Masonry - Painted or Not?

The info about the paint damaging the brick & mortar is correct.
The problem now is how to remove the paint.
This problem has existed for over ( My Guess ) 20 years.
Try a sample of Back To Nature Paint Stripper or let nature take its course and over time the paint will fail and release from the brick.
The other problem is the excessive moisture affecting the mortar joints and causing failure.
Check the area around the existing paint and see if the mortar joints are failing if so the paint must be removed and joints repointed with matching mortar.

Re: Very Old Brick Masonry - Painted or Not?

200 years ago nobody in their right mind would paint brick, but they did use mineral-based washes and whitewash. Redwash with the mortar joints picked out with a narrow pinstripe of white was very popular in my area. Eventually premixed paints became available and the cost went down and folks started painting brick with oil based and we know that ends: eventually the film thickness builds up and moisture pushes the paint from the brick.
If you did somehow strip the oil or acrylic paint entirely off, you could go back to a limewash paints that does not have breathing/moisture problems when applied over masonry.

Re: Very Old Brick Masonry - Painted or Not?

If you have to paint use a Minerial paint these paints are very compatable with masonry & Mortars.
Check this product KEIM.

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