DIY Tips: How to Remove Plaster to Expose Brickwork

Architectural style – plenty of glass, stripped back walls, concrete or wooden floors and lots and lots of steel is fast becoming one of the most popular interior design trends out there. Unsurprisingly, really, as it’s easy to maintain and is pretty much effortless – just hang a few pieces of abstract art and you’re good to go. Exposed brickwork also looks stunning in period properties. So how do you go about removing plaster and exposing the brickwork underneath? This tutorial will show you how.

Things You’ll Need:

  • plastic sheets
  • acrylic sealant
  • gloves, goggles and mask
  • hammer
  • refuse sacks
  • strong wire brush
  • metal bolster
  • cold chisel


Finding Out if You Have Brickwork Beneath Your Plaster

It’s easy enough! If your house dates back to before the 1950s, there is probably brickwork beneath the plaster. If you don’t know, simply chisel a bit of plaster away in an inconspicuous area – underneath a radiator or behind a sofa. Keep in mind though that not all brickwork is pretty – in fact, some is downright ugly. As a rule of thumb, the older your house, the better quality the brick will be. Modern homes are often built with concrete breeze blocks which aren’t particularly pretty so you’ll need to check before you get started!

Preparing the Room

Exposing the brickwork isn’t particularly difficult, although it is pretty messy – so you’ll need to properly prepare the room. Box up and remove furniture and objects that you don’t need, then use plastic sheeting to cover anything you can’t remove. It’s also a good idea to tape up doors so that dust doesn’t end up blowing all the way through your house.

Getting Started

It’s much better to do this by hand rather than with a power tool – using a power tool means that you risk damaging the wall. If it’s 100 years old, you really need to try to preserve it!

First, create a hole in the top corner of the area of brickwork that you want to expose using your hammer and chisel. Work downwards, chipping away just a little bit at a time. It’s time consuming, but it’s definitely worth it. If the walls are particularly old, they’ll be rough and uneven which means that you will meet resistance as you go – so you might need to go at the brick in a couple of different directions.

Take a spirit level and mark a straight line – if you want to make a straight edge. Mark a sharp line in the plaster using the spirit level to make sure that it’s straight (use a scalpel for this), then chip up to that line using your chisel. If bits of plaster are sticking to the wall and you can’t get them off, spritz with water to soften and then try again.

Cleaning the Bricks

Vacuum the bricks to get rid of dirt, then wash using soap, salt and a wire brush. Be gentle – you don’t want to damage the brick. Wash with water then dry with a towel.

If that all sounds like too much hard work, not to worry – you can now buy “fake brick” that looks surprisingly realistic – not at all like the fake brick wallpaper that was popular in the 70s.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: A Guide to Brick Rendering

If the brickwork of your house is looking a little messy, never fear – rendering might do the trick. Learn all about brick rendering with this guide and take a look at this link for brick and concrete tools.


Prepare the Brick

Before applying any new rendering, you’ll need to prepare the brickwork. Using a firm brush, brush the brickwork to loosen and remove any dust or debris. Then, you’ll need to brush PVA glue mixed with some water liberally all over the brickwork. Use the brush to get the glue into all of the nooks and crannies of the brickwork.

Choosing the Rendering Mix

Choose a rendering mix that is suitable for your environment. For example, if you’re in a location that’s particularly wet or windy, you’ll need a specific weather-resistant mix. Choose a render in a colour and texture that matches the existing brickwork and that blends well with the surrounding environment.

Mixing the Render

Follow the packet instructions to mix up the cement. Put the sand into the mixer and then add the cement and cover the mixer. Once well mixed, you can add the water. Before adding the water, add a little water retarder and plasticiser to the water and mix really well. Add the water to the cement mix gradually, being gentle so that the render mix doesn’t splash out of the mixer.

Tips for Applying Rendering

  • The number of coats of rendering you’ll need differs depending on the finish you’re looking for, but generally, each coat of rendering should be 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick.
  • Use thin layers. Using a layer that is too thick means that the render is likely to fall off the wall, so it’s best that you use multiple thin layers instead.
  • The first layer will be an undercoat. Once you’ve applied the render, use the edge of the trowel, a heavy duty fork or a key to score the surface of the render in diagonal parallel lines about an inch apart. Leave to dry.
  • Once you’ve applied the undercoat and once dry, use a brush to coat the brick and render with another layer of PVA glue. Leave to dry.
  • Second, third and even fourth layers should be no thicker than the first layer and should all be scored.
  • Once you’ve applied the final coat, use a trowel to ensure that the render is as smooth as possible. Then, use a float to smooth the render further.
  • As the final layer of render starts to dry completely, if you see any cracks (this may have been caused by the render shrinking as it dries), spray the render with water and smooth the cracks back with the trowel.

Source: 4Homes