Feeling Exposed

Feeling Exposed


Ever since artists started converting factories and warehouses into loft apartments, exposed brick has been a hot trend in homes. “Brick really began getting popular in the ’70s, and since then it’s stayed up there as a cool look for a house or apartment,” says Lisa Luchaco, an associate designer at Garrison Hullinger Interior Design in Portland, Ore.

“That’s because it’s an element that can give your home an urban vibe while also making it look rustic.”

But while many people like the look of exposed brick, they might be confused about how to care for it. The answer is simple: Don’t do much.

“Brick is amazingly durable,” says Michael Pruett, project manager at Brick Doctor Corporation in Euless, Texas. “A brick wall should last you 100 years or so. And if the wall is inside your home, it should last even longer, since it’s not being exposed to the elements.”

While some people apply water sealant to their brick, Pruett advises against that. “Sealants aren’t really necessary for interior walls because there shouldn’t be water getting to the brick,” Pruett says.

Heed the warning signs, though. “If you start to notice a white, chalky dust on the surface, that’s a sign that there’s water exposure behind the wall,” Pruett says. “That’s a problem you should call a masonry expert to fix.”

For homeowners without authentic exposed brick to show off, there are other ways to get a similar look. “Home improvement stores have a lot of options for faux brick walls,” says Alycia Wicker, owner of Alycia Wicker Designs in Eastvale, Calif.

“The easiest way is by applying wallpaper with brick patterns – either just a print or something slightly textured,” to add visual interest, she says.

Wicker also recommends a slightly pricier option, “for something very realistic looking, there are panels that are about an inch-and-a-quarter thick that you apply onto your wall, making it seem like it’s actually made of brick.”

Don’t go overboard and cover every wall with faux brick, though. “Think about covering a wall that helps support your home structurally, since that would traditionally have been made of brick,” Luchaco says. “The brick will seem like it’s supposed to be there, so it won’t arouse suspicion among people visiting your home.”

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