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Help! Our Exposed Brick Wall is Crumbling

Jul 22, 2021 8:30:00 AM Christina Wilson

Many older, historic brick homes in the Washington DC area feature interior brick walls and exteriors. Over time, these brick structures can erode and decay just like outside masonry exposed to weather and the elements. If an exposed brick wall is crumbling inside your home, it’s time for some TLC to preserve the wall structure’s appearance and integrity.

Water, Water – Everywhere! 

Water is the primary enemy of old masonry. It erodes soft mortar and brick while freezing and thawing within the porous surface causes cracks and breaks throughout brick surfaces. Although your interior crumbling brick wall seems to be protected from direct exposure to outdoor elements, water may still be the culprit when exposed interior brick walls begin to crumble. 

When exterior brick walls are incorrectly repaired or painted with acrylic paint that does not allow for moisture evaporation, it forces moisture to evaporate elsewhere – through your interior brick and mortar surfaces. Interior brick walls that have been covered by plaster and lathe will begin to bubble as the moisture forces its way out through the masonry. 

Interior brick walls often begin to crumble after removing plaster or paint to expose the underlying brick. Moisture trapped within now has a clear pathway to evaporate, speeding up old brick and mortar deterioration in the process. 

Repairs and Protection 

Tuckpointing to the rescue! Sometimes called repointing, the proper repair for crumbling mortar involves removing and replacing it with material appropriate to the age of the original brick. If interior crumbling is caused by exterior brick walls that have been repaired or painted incorrectly, start with repairs to the exterior before addressing the interior damage. 

Once repaired, a tuckpointing team will seal an exposed brick interior wall to stabilize the surface. A quality brick sealant will preserve the beauty of your wall and prevent deterioration. The two main sealant finishes available are gloss and matte. If you want to add brightness and a more contemporary feel to an area like an entryway or hallway, a gloss finish may appeal to you. If you prefer to maintain the authentic old brick appearance, a matte finish is the better choice. 

Trust the Experts 

Old interior brick and exterior masonry repair should be trusted to contractors knowledgeable and experienced with historic brickwork and the correct materials. Renaissance Development is your Washington DC area expert masonry contractor for brick repairs and restoration on historic buildings. We are specialists in identifying and using the correct, traditional materials and methods to repair your interior or exterior masonry. 


Historic buildings do not take care of themselves – and many modern masonry contractors do not have the knowledge or expertise for repairing older, historic brick structures. Incorrect repairs can result in more severe damage over time and impact a building’s structural integrity. Contact Renaissance Development to discuss your historic brick home’s needed repairs. 

Categories: Interior brick walls, Water damage

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