The Surprising Way You're Ruining Your Exposed Brick Walls

Here's how to protect your clay-and-mortar blocks — before it's too late.

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Inti St Clair/Getty Images

If there's a so-called "trend" we can't get enough of, it's exposed brick. For some lucky homeowners, stripping away drywall reveals beautiful brick walls, which impart timeless texture, warmth, and character to a space. There's nothing quite like original clay-and-mortar blocks to recall a home's history — after all, fired bricks have been around for . And, whether left raw or painted, the look lends itself to a range of styles from rustic to industrial.

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But there are some drawbacks to uncovering the literal building blocks of your house, the least of which is the challenge of hanging artwork (solution: drill into the mortar, and use anchors). There's also the fact that, according to , interior sections or wythes, were generally made with lower quality materials than exteriors, and they were often laid by beginners learning the art of masonry.

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PHOTOGRAPHER: JEAN ALLSOPP DESIGNER: JOANNA GOODMAN FOR CHRISTOPHER ARCHITECTURE & INTERIORS

But the biggest problem of all? Though they may look sturdy, exposed brick is actually quite porous, making it susceptible to the absorption of both dirt and moisture, the latter of which can lead to deterioration and mold issues.

That's why it's so important to or acrylic-based paint to your interior brick and mortar to help protect against humidity. To dust, use a or your vacuum's brush attachment, Toni Hammersley writes in . For a deep clean, Hammersley recommends mixing a little water with equal parts salt and mild dishwashing or . Scrub the paste onto the wall with a and let sit for ten minutes. Finally, use a wet and bucket of water to rinse the homemade solution off the wall.

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Lisa Romerein

No brick under your plaster? Wallpaper companies like and have developed realistic-looking — a fun and easy way to try out the trend!

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