The latest interior decorating trends include an appreciation for the character that exposed vintage brick walls lend. They add a subtle sense of warmth and history to a room. Below are some things to know if you're thinking about exposing an interior brick wall in your home.
Old brick homes have a character that shows through their stonework. However, most houses constructed before the early 20th century did not leave the brick exposed inside the home — it was considered unfashionable at the time.
But the tables have now turned. We're getting an increasing number of requests from current homeowners to expose aged brick walls to lend character to interiors. We've listed some important reasons below about why it's best to hire a professional if you're considering exposing your own home's walls, especially if they are older or historic brick.
Plaster as a Coverup
The original construction of the interior walls in older homes would often involve a thick layer of plaster applied directly onto the brick. Removing this plaster can be a time-consuming, dirty, dusty job. It will involve chiseling away the plaster, along with cleaning the brick. In addition, the very act of removing the protective coat of plaster is hard on the surface of old bricks, and care must be taken when cleaning interior brick walls to prevent further damage to the masonry.
One crucial reason to consider hiring a professional is you can’t know the condition of the underlying brick until it has been exposed. Artisans trained in masonry have the tools and skills needed to ascertain the integrity of the construction and the steps needed following the plaster removal. These steps may include the replacement of old, deteriorating mortar, and repairing or replacing broken bricks. Given the importance of a wall’s durability, we feel it’s best to hire a professional for this process.
Studs and Drywall
If plaster was removed in an earlier renovation, it might be that the current wall covering consists of drywall over studs. An inconspicuous hole drilled in the wall may produce the answer. Studs, if they are found, may or may not serve as structural reinforcement. It is critical to determine whether they are or are simply there to anchor the drywall. Again, a professional can assess the situation and lend guidance on the best plan for advancement.
Repairs will Likely be Needed
Once exposed, an old brick wall will almost certainly need a certain amount of repair to ensure its structural integrity and retain its character. It is possible that painted or fire-charred brick will be discovered. We recommend using a professional to clean soot, remove paint and prepare the brick for its exhibition. Precautions must be taken to help ensure you can enjoy the results of your renovation. This includes cleaning, pointing, and sealing the newly exposed surface to keep it from shedding brick dust and crumbling mortar. When you hire a professional, you can let go of the worry, knowing the work is being done correctly.
The entire process of brick wall exposure can be messy and disruptive. Still, once the mess is gone, it can contribute an upscale interior design statement for your home when appropriately managed.
Renaissance Development can help in the planning and execution of your project. Contact us today to schedule a free appointment and to learn more about your masonry.