Brick Sealer

Brick sealer can be an important strategy for helping to protect your house. Bricks don't always need help, but sometime they do, and a good sealer can reduce water intrusion. Here Aaron Kuertz gives us the skinny on the sealants available for brick.

Sealant to Protect Your Exterior Brick Walls

Guest Author Aaron Kuertz

Brick is a popular exterior facade for many buildings. Brick gives a stately and timeless look to everything from a home to a college dormitory. Proper maintenance will allow the brick to last for decades. However, it is a porous material and will soak up any water that hits it during rains. This rain can cause the brick to deteriorate, especially in cold and wet climates. A proper sealant can keep the exterior walls of a brick building looking great for years.

Brick is Porous

Brick is a porous material that soaks up all of the water that hits it from rain or improperly aimed sprinklers. The brick can naturally absorb this water and release it to the air by evaporation. If there are heavy rains it is possible for the water to migrate to the interior and make the interior walls wet.

Efflorescence on Bricks

Efflorescence is the unsightly white, chalky film that sometimes forms on the exterior of bricks. The cause is when the water that the brick has absorbed evaporates. When the water evaporates, salts that are naturally in the brick get left behind and build up until they form the efflorescence.

Spalling of Brick

Spalling is caused by water that is in the brick freezes and expands. The expansion breaks the face of the brick. This type of problem can quickly damage the brick until it needs to be replaced.

Film Forming Brick Sealants

There are brick sealants that stay on the surface and form a film for protection. Think of a clear paint on the surface of the brick. These sealants stop water from the outside getting into it. But they also stop any water from the interior of the building from getting out too. As noted, this can cause it to spall.

The sealant will give a glossy look to the brick, which most people do not want on the walls of a building. Also, the film sealant will eventually yellow with age. And UV rays may cause it to flake off.

Penetrating Brick Sealants

Sealants made of a silane/siloxane blend penetrate into the brick. They maintain the natural look, texture and sheen of the brick. There is no surface film to yellow or to flake off. Water beads up on the surface and does not get into the brick itself. The biggest advantage is that they coat the pores of the brick and leave them open. Any water that got in from the interior will naturally evaporate out and not get trapped. Silane/siloanxes also make the mortar joints water repellent.

About the Author

This article is written by Aaron Kuertz who's with Applied Technologies Aaron has been in the waterproofing industry since 1998. Applied Technologies is a manufacturer and supplier to professional waterproofing contractors and homeowners in the United States. For more information about brick sealant visit Applied Technologies.

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Editor's Addendum

I don't think bricks always need this protection, but if your brick suffers from the problem he cites, then a sealer is a good idea. You can also paint the brick, but if you prefer the natural look go with a sealant.

If you have an older brick home, with a true brick wall, rather than a cavity wall, then the sealant can also protect the interior of your house. If you have mold or moisture problem inside the house, part of the solution might be keeping the water out. A brick sealer probably won't completely seal off your home, but it will reduce the water that comes in. 

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