Peeling red house brick

by Bob Joyce
(West haven Ct USA)

My house is 50 years old and built of red brick.I just noticed some flaking in areas that face the ocean.Is there anything on the market that is clear that can be painted on.
Would exterior polyurethane work ??????

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Mar 27, 2013
Bricks and salt spray
by: Editor - Joffre Essley

The article on Brick Sealants recommends a particular type of silane/siloxane sealant. I won't go that far, but sealants from these two chemicals do allow any moisture trapped inside to exit while reducing any intrusion.

You mention that the problem is on the sea-facing part of the house. This sounds like brick fretting caused by salt recrystallizing after it wets the surface of the house. You also mention that it is 50 years old. It may be that the fretting is minor and will take another 100 years to create serious damage. I can't tell without looking at the bricks. If it is minor just scrub the salt and flakes off with a brush and live with it.

If you do seal it I suggest doing a test area first. Wait a year and compare it to an unsprayed area. Is the sprayed area better, worse or the same?

You can also call in a mason or a renovation expert. Beware of any bias from your expert. Some have something to sell. Some are dead-set against any kind of brick coating, but won't give you advice on how to prevent damage.

The silane or siloxane seals will need to be reapplied every few year, but in a sense that is your safety valve. If they do cause ill effects then waiting a few years will see you clear of their damage.

Good luck. I hope this was helpful.

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