Brickwork Questions

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Fridge03
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Joined: Sat 3rd Aug, 2019 11:11 am

Brickwork Questions

Post by Fridge03 » Sat 2nd Jan, 2021 3:06 pm

Hi all,

Looking for some advice.

Next job for our old cottage is the former outbuilding now utility room. Previous owners have extended out to it and used it as a kitchen previously.

It's a single skin brick construction. We are keen on doing is stripping off the awfully done white paint off all the internal brickwork.
I'm not sure what type of paint has been used, but in some places it's falling/peeling off with ease, revealing a crumbly brick face underneath. In other places it seems a bit more well adhered. I've got some paint stripper on it at the moment but I've already gone at a few areas with a wire brush on the drill and a scraper as you can see in the photos.
Any other suggestions for removing it without damaging the bricks? I fear that sandblasting may damage the brick work but it would certainly be an awful lot quicker.

The top layer of mortar is coming off with the paint and is sandy/crumbly but leaving underneath quite sound and reasonably dry motor. Am I right in thinking that by the looks of it, this is lime mortar?
Looking at the photos, do you think this will need repointing?

Would this type of paint be contributing to the condensation we get in there? Because it just sits on the paint, it can't escape? My thoughts was taking it back to the red brick (which we like the look of anyway) and with what and the lime mortar the room becomes breathable again? Depending on the finish, we may limewash to allow the bricks the breath as well.

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Thanks in advance!

malcolm
Posts: 1072
Joined: Wed 18th Sep, 2013 6:21 pm
Location: Bedford UK

Re: Brickwork Questions

Post by malcolm » Sat 2nd Jan, 2021 5:18 pm

How big is the wall? Sandblasting would be a bad idea - it takes the face off the bricks and they will weather quickly.

The very best way is an appropriate paint stripper and a DOFF hot water pressure washer. I had a big house stripped. The stripper was from Stippers of Sudbry and they were able to recommend a contractor to do the work. The bricks survived well, but the lime mortar, having been wet for years behind the paint, had become soft and was blown out. I had to re-point.

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I previously tried a DIY approach with a cold water pressure washer and the same stripper. It was horrible. The cold water just smeared the sticky mass around and the stripper needed a lot of applications. The bricks were damaged a bit more too. If it's a small area and there is only a single coat of paint then maybe it might be worth trying.

Whichever way be very careful with sandstone sills. They are delicate and need to be stripped slowly.

Feltwell
Posts: 5759
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Brickwork Questions

Post by Feltwell » Sat 2nd Jan, 2021 9:35 pm

What Malcom says on stripping paint! I have had success with a cold pressure washer on a small area, but that was after scrubbing by hand with hot soapy water first to get the paint stripper mostly off.

However - you have a fundamental problem, if your walls are only single brick, i.e. 4.5", thick. There's really very little insulation value indeed in that so the walls will be cold and condensation on them is likely to be a regular problem. You can build an internal skin and stop this, but then you lose the brick texture that you like the appearance of. Breathable finishes won't really make any odds, if the wall is cold and internal air is warm & humid you'll get condensation.

It's a utility room, have you a tumble dryer in there and if so what sort is it? It really wants to be a vented one, venting through the wall to outside, the condensing models never extract all the moisture from the air they pump back into the room. Do you dry washing on airers in there? It'll all make a difference, if you can change how you use the room and possibly increase ventilation.

Yes, it looks like lime mortar in your pictures to me - if it's soft enough that you can scrape it out with something like a teaspoon handle then it's almost certainly lime. You can test some in white vinegar, if it fizzes it's lime if not it's cement.

LadyArowana
Posts: 3240
Joined: Sat 17th Oct, 2009 1:58 pm

Re: Brickwork Questions

Post by LadyArowana » Sun 3rd Jan, 2021 8:17 am

Feltwell wrote:
Sat 2nd Jan, 2021 9:35 pm

It's a utility room, have you a tumble dryer in there and if so what sort is it? It really wants to be a vented one, venting through the wall to outside, the condensing models never extract all the moisture from the air they pump back into the room. Do you dry washing on airers in there? It'll all make a difference, if you can change how you use the room and possibly increase ventilation.
If you’ve got the space a dehumidifier could be your friend. They speed up the drying of regular clothes indoors ( which stops them smelling funky too ) and with an unvented dryer doing heavy linens will keep the rh down in the room.

CliffordPope
Posts: 644
Joined: Tue 16th Nov, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: Brickwork Questions

Post by CliffordPope » Sun 3rd Jan, 2021 5:10 pm

I wouldn't do anything, apart from lightly wirebrushing it to flake off anything that is really loose. It's a utility room (what I would call a scullery !) and the current finish is entirely appropriate. It's lovely.
But I agree with trying to minimise condensation if you can - dehumidifier perhaps, ventilation.

a twig
Posts: 657
Joined: Sun 6th Oct, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: Brickwork Questions

Post by a twig » Sun 3rd Jan, 2021 10:22 pm

If it's an interior wall does it all need to come off? A brush down and overpaint with one of the usual finishes recommended on this forum if you want it to be a bit cleaner.

If you are after more insulation / moisture control then leave it as it is, board over with woodwool boards and them skim in NHL would be my go to...

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