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
- 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.
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