Is Exposed Brick in Your Home Safe?
Exposed brick is commonly used in many homes and there are lots of ways that it can complement a design scheme. It can act as a feature wall that contributes to an urban, industrial loft atmosphere. Brick that's behind a plaster wall can be partially exposed to give a space a sense of old-world character. Exposed brick can highlight the wall behind a bar area, or be used as an accent behind a kitchen oven hood, or as a backdrop for floating shelves. It can frame an entryway between rooms. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Exposed brick, however, isn't always as safe or efficient as it is stylish. Beware of these ways that it can negatively impact your interior spaces, and what you can do to mitigate the challenges it can present.
Challenges Posed by Exposed Brick
Allows excess moisture
If the foundation walls of your home are brick, and not the more typical poured concrete or concrete block, the walls of your unfinished basement (a basement without drywall and insulation) can be more susceptible to moisture penetration due to brick's porous nature. Excess moisture can lead to mold issues that can endanger the health of you and your family. Moisture penetration can result from groundwater that presses against the walls of the foundation and finds its way in through pores and cracks. About 40 percent of moisture in homes originates in basements, and for this reason basements are notorious for being damp and musty.
Less energy efficient
Because brick is porous it doesn't make a very good insulator. This means that, when it comes to energy efficiency, areas in your home with exposed brick may be less efficient.
Applying a sealant over your exposed basement brick can help keep moisture out. It can also help protect your basement from insects looking to gain entry through tiny breaches in your walls. Just be sure to use an interior brick sealant.