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If you are fortunate enough to have an old brick wall in your historic home, then you know what a wonderful backdrop it is for entertaining during the holidays, and how it adds to your décor. Here's a few maintenance tips to preserve its quality, so that for years to come, visitors to your home will continue to experience the warmth and charm of the beautiful old brick interior.

Cleaning Interior Brick

The first step in maintaining an interior brick wall is to properly clean it.  Old brick is porous and can crumble easily. It should be washed with a soft cloth, using a simple mix of water and vinegar, since stronger cleaners could damage the brick irreparably.

Test your cleaning mix on an out-of-the-way part of the wall – a small spot near the floor - before taking care of the rest. Simply spray your cleaner lightly on the trouble spots and rub with a towel. If you find spots that resist the soft cleaning, switch to a coarse bristle brush, but be careful to rub very gently to avoid doing damage to the brick.

Sealing Interior Brick

A brick sealant will preserve the beauty of your wall and prevent deterioration. There are two types of sealants available: gloss finish and matte finish. If you want to add brightness to an area like an entry or hallway, use a slightly glossy finish. On the other hand, to maintain an authentic, more traditional look for your brick, a matte finish is definitely the better choice.

Considering Painting Your Old Brick Wall?

As we know, natural interior old brick walls add a traditional look of warmth and charm to a room, but sometimes homeowners will think about painting the brick. Before you make the decision to paint old brick, consider everything that's involved. Once you do it, you are committed to either a cycle of repainting every three to five years or else removing the paint from the brick, which is a very common dilemma. That said, here are some painting techniques for old brick which can work well, depending on personal taste and what sort of décor you prefer.

  • White paint: White paint covers over any contrast between grout and brick, while providing the brick wall with a clean, modern feel.
  • Whitewashing: If you are looking for a retro look, whitewashing gives the brick wall an aged appearance. This look can be fine-tuned by making adjustments to the quantities of water and white paint that you use in the mix.
  • Gray paint: If you are looking for a clean look that is warmer than white, a beautiful shade of warm, soft gray is a nice option. It's a good compromise between white and au natural brick.
  • Colored paint: Painting colors on brick is not for the faint of heart. Some consider brightly- colored brick walls to be trendy and modern, but you should be very sure about your choice of color before even thinking about applying that first coat of paint. If you change your mind, a good deal of time and effort will need to be put into the complex process of stripping paint from brick.

If you have an interior brick wall in your historic home that shows signs of damage, contact an expert. Brick restoration in these historic buildings should be trusted to masonry contractors who are specialists in interior tuckpointing, and who know how to use and apply the proper, traditional materials and methods. 

Download A Brief History Of Your Historic Home's Brickwork


Renaissance Development, a leader in brick restoration and historic preservation, specializes in the restoration of a historic brick building’s mortar joints using traditional methods (tuckpointing) and materials. Contact us for a free site visit and project quote. 



Post by Christina Wilson
Dec 15, 2022 9:00:00 AM