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kashkakat

Penny, you are correct - paint film on the brick will trap moisture/water vapor and due to freeze-thaw cycle, will eventually deteriorate it. It wont happen overnight, but it will... eventually. The 120 yr old brick lining my basement wall was probably painted in the 1940s/50s, and Im sure looked fine at first but is now seriously spalling, cracking, crumbling where it was painted (not to mention all that old lead paint flaking off - nice!)

The moisture goes both directions - from outside in (from the weather), and inside out (from cooking, laundry etc) - so paint on either side would be a problem.

Shouldnt people care what kind of legacy they leave behind?

If people want to change the color of the brick, they are better off using mineral paint aka potassium silicate paint, which chemically bonds to the masonry rather than forms a plastic film that sits on the surface. Water in liquid form (ie snow, rain) cannot go through, but water in the form of vapor can. Its really quite affordable, and widely used in Europe but for some reason isnt used as much.... except by some of us old house afficionados.

Also it should be mentioned in old pre-ww2 houses, a mortar with high (or all) lime content should be used, to match the original mortar.

This article is woefully incomplete. Hopefully people will research further before plowing ahead and doing anything irreversible.

   
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kashkakat

BTW, rarely is there "ugly" brick. Mostly its either dirty or its the color combination that's off. Bright white hardly ever looks good with the more earthy tones of brick. Simply chosing other color(s) for trim/doors/etc. will greatly improve the looks of the house. A neighbor of mine with pumpkin color brick a chose a dark navy for her trim and particular shade of red for the door - its a stunning color combo - the brick reads more like a neutral. Instead of stark white, more of a buff or creamy white could work.

   
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rachelathome

One final thought (from me anyway) re: painting brick. There is a big difference between a classic 120 year old home and the thousands of quickie slab built brick spec homes built from the 50's through the 80's. Like my own home, many were not attractive the day they were built but furnished welcome shelter and an affordable home . Most of those homes now need all the TLC they can get on the outside to achieve the warmth and beauty they have on the inside. Many will not make it into a century of use and even in our neighborhood (mostly built in the 70's) they are already being ripped down with giant cranes and rebuilt as the lots are more expensive than the homes on them. If making the home lovely in your eyes requires painting the brick, then paint it. If it doesn't last 100 years, that's fine. You won't be here and that home probably won't be either...and (IMO) it has zero to do with whether or not the brick was painted. Now if you have a classic whether modern 70's or a Sears model or architecturally designed or 100 years old...that might be another matter. Agree with that completely.

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