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 thousands of years. And, whether left raw or painted, the look lends itself to a range of styles from rustic to industrial.
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 Dwell, 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.
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 apply a sealant or acrylic-based paint to your interior brick and mortar to help protect against humidity. To dust, use a microfiber cloth or your vacuum's brush attachment, Toni Hammersley writes in The Complete Book of Clean. For a deep clean, Hammersley recommends mixing a little water with equal parts salt and mild dishwashing or castile soap. Scrub the paste onto the wall with a stiff brush and let sit for ten minutes. Finally, use a wet sponge and bucket of water to rinse the homemade solution off the wall.
No brick under your plaster? Wallpaper companies like NewWall and Woodchip & Magnolia have developed realistic-looking brick and stone patterns — a fun and easy way to try out the trend!