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10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown
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We have to paint our brick house! help!

 
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Location: 2378 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
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When we bought our house we noticed the whole exterior had an unusal coating on it - tar and little particles, looks like roofing material. We consulted a brick restoration expert, said he'd never seen anything like it. It was originally a charming 30s minimal tudorish house but as you can see has been mistreated with some lousy remodels. It can be a shame to paint brick but in this case it has to be done.

We're somewhat decided on cream as we'd like to steer things towards a more classic historical look (these are photoshopped). I'm hung up on the foundation, which I think might be fun to paint a dark color with a serious kick of green or blue, or brown for a safer bet. Would that be nuts, and is cream all wrong?? My hope is that it works for the architectural style and future renovations would play off the cream for a historical look. One day I think it would be nice to tear down the front porch and add a simple portico and maybe put up shakes where there's cheap siding. Thank you kindly for looking and any advice is much appreciated!!! I know it looks like hell!
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I agree that painting brick should be avoided at all costs but if you can't then white or cream should look fine. the only thing with cream or any other offwhite colour is it can end up looking dirty even when it's brand new.
As to the darker foundation, that is normal here, it's left over from when you used tar paint on the foundations and now everyone just does it for the looks.
 
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I don't understand why this has to be done?

There was a trend probably before your house was built in the 1930s to use "used brick".  Later probably around the 1990s or earlier there was a process used to make the brick look used.  I don't know how this was done.

If this were my home I would not want to change this historical aspect of "used brick" by painting it.

If you are concerned about the tar on those bricks affecting your health, maybe I don't know?  Your brick has been exposed to the elements for 81 plus years so if this was my home I would not be concerned.

Rather than a brick restorer, maybe a consultation with someone who knows about "reclaimed antique brick" would be wise.
 
gardener
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At least in Victorian times there were cases of brick buildings which were designed to be painted. A lower grade of brick could be used and the paint would make it look uniform and protect the surface.

I would really like to see some photos of the building as it is - the photoshopped pictures don't give any idea of what the surfacing really is. Why does the brick surface need to be (re)finished? Is it just really ugly?
 
pollinator
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I agree it's a real shame to paint brick. I hear that there's a strange coating on the brick, but am not sure I understand why that means painting is necessary? Is this purely an aesthetic issue? Or are the bricks in some way not durable without paint? If I was in your shoes and there were no practical reason, I wouldn't paint it. I feel original brick gives so much character to houses. I could be wrong, but paint seems like more upkeep and cost over time than raw brick. Is it possible the brick restorer is just trying to sell you a solution to a problem that doesn't exist?
Could we see a picture of the house as is? I think that would also help people offer better suggestions as to colors, if painting is indeed necessary.
 
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Is it paint or is it a kind of plaster or stucco (which is like textured gritty plaster)?

When I was a kid we lived in a Tudor style house with the big wood beams and the brick was stuccoed over. It was very good and help up to the extreme weather we had there.  It didn't have the same issues with freezing that old naked bricks can get sometimes.   This makes sense because Tudor times were some of the coldest winters on record, that's one of the reasons why they started plastering/stuccoing their brickwork in some parts.  

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/stucco-good-way-protect-brick-house-83162.html
 
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Location: MD, USA. zone 7
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For the foundation color, if your dirt "stains" I suggest considering painting it to match.

I'm mostly used to areas with orange and red clay. And at least with that stuff, it's easier to work with it than to fight it!
 
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Hi, I had a waterproof coating applied to my cinder blocks. The black part of your house might be a waterproof coating of some kind. It might be possible to take a wire brush on an angle grinder and clean the coating off.  Start with a very small out of the way piece. You may be able to to scrape it off this way, if it is tar, because tar get brittle with age.  You might also be able to sand blast it off.

You might find that paint will not stick to the black stuff so well. Mine didn't. After a year or 2 the paint fails and it looks worse than before I painted.

 
pollinator
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For an older house I would really put water consideration into the decision to paint. (http://www.oldlouisville.com/circa1900/brick-structures.htm, https://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/brick-houses.shtml, etc) Old brick homes (I have one) were meant to breathe and get wet, then dry out, when you start putting on paint or waterproofing to the surface, you change how that material was originally intended to function. We had to put serious consideration into even adding insulation to walls we have opened, as the standard method of insulating/vapor barriers could have trapped water in our walls and weakened the mortar. It can be done correctly, but read up on everything you can before you start
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10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown
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