Thinking about painting your fireplace or an exposed brick wall? Think twice before you pick up a brush! While it may seem like an easy DIY makeover, painting bricks can result in mold in your fireplace and can even cause structural damage unless you do it right.
Bricks are porous and need to breathe, but most types of paint are not breathable. If any moisture seeps into the painted bricks from the other side of the wall or from inside the chimney, it will not be able to escape. That trapped moisture could create the perfect environment for mold to grow.
Painting Bricks Can Cause Mold in Fireplaces and Chimneys
Mold loves warm, damp places, and can eat just about any organic matter, including dust, dirt, and ash. However, if you’ve painted over your bricks, you probably won’t see the mold when it starts to grow. A musty smell might be the only indication of mold on interior brick.
Painting bricks not only leads to mold growth, it eventually causes structural damage as well. Trapped moisture will gradually make the mortar that holds the bricks in place crumble and decay, compromising their structural integrity. When water gets trapped in bricks, it will seek a means of escape and could damage your walls, floors, or framing.
Brick sealants can cause many of the same problems. While sealing or painting bricks will hinder dust and prevent dirt from building up, make sure to use the right product or you’ll be dealing with some expensive repairs.
How to Paint Interior Brick
If you do want to paint a chimney or an exposed brick wall, you’ll need to use paint that’s formulated specifically for masonry. Latex masonry paint creates a porous membrane that can release moisture. This “breathable” paint seals the brick and resists dirt, mold, and mildew.
Never paint over crumbling or moldy brick. First, repair any damage and re-point (fill in missing mortar) as needed. Then, clean the brick and let it dry completely before painting. If you’re using a primer, make sure that it’s a latex masonry primer, just like your paint.
Mold Remediation in San Francisco
Does your home have painted interior brick? If you’ve noticed a musty smell, you might have mold growing in your walls or mold in your fireplace and chimney. Protect your health and your home with professional mold remediation—call on the experts at My Pure Environment. We offer free initial inspections to test for mold and detect the source of the problem. Call (415) 687-5374 or schedule an inspection online today.