Dear PoP – I need a Mason


“Dear PoP,

I wonder if anyone out there in PoPville has any recommendations… I am in the midst of deconstructing drywall on a 28ft wall in order to expose the brick underneath. I will do the drywall work myself, but I’m reluctant to try clearing the brick because it involves acids and all kinds of things that I don’t care to learn about or attempt on my own.

Anyone out there have recommendations for a mason or handyperson who I could hire for just the brick-clearing part of this project?”

23 Comment

  • You need to use Urban Referrals for all of the work in your home that requires some time & money:

  • Are you sure that brick needs special chemicals? It looks like it’s already pretty clean.

  • This could easily be a DIY project as long as you’re not repointing. Just use a wire brush to clean up the brick and throw a clear coat sealant on it and your done.

  • has anyone here ever had a faux brick wall installed over a painted wall? it would be purely cosmetic, so no need for actual brickwork. also, it should be reversible in case i need to sell the place and a potential buyer hates it (like, i could hire someone to come in and take it down, exposing the original wall). not interested in the wallpaper that looks like brick. i love brick walls, but don’t know if this is a dumb idea or even a possibility…not getting much info by way of google search.

    • you can get skinny ‘slices’ of brick veneer and use mortar to attach them to the wall. Since they are not full bricks, they’re not nearly as heavy, so you don’t have to take into account the load that the wall can bear.

      Then just grout and you’re set. Not sure how easily it can be removed if a new owner doesn’t like it….

    • i do faux brick for clients, and it turns out really cool. its lightweight, no crack issues, you get the exact color, design, and level of distressing you want,and its cheaper than adding real brick.

      BUT, if you have real brick already there, go for that.
      you can’t beat real.

  • David Toporia might do it 202-316-4044. I use him a lot and he’s good, honest, cheap. BUt he usually does bigger projects.

  • You could lightly wash the brick with a solution of muriatic acid, aka hydrochloric acid. It’s easy. Just remember, add acid to water (not vice versa). And keep a neutralizing agent (baking soda) nearby. And ventilate. And wear rubber gloves taped over sleeves (so no acid creeps in when you’re working up high). Really, it’s pretty easy.

    • Would you use the same solution for stripping paint off of brick? I haven’t started un-paining the brick yet, but I will shortly.

      Would you use 2:1 water to Acid or 3:1? Concentration of acid makes a difference.

  • You could also look into sandblasting, messy but avoids using chemicals.

  • houseintherear

    @ Anon 251, it’s covered in a thin layer of (what seems to be) cement.

    @MonkeyDaddy, I considered doing it myself but from what I understand the acid solution could pose a big risk to my wood floors, and that’s a risk I’m not willing to take on my own.

  • I’ve done 2 exposed brick walls already. Those bricks you’ve got look pretty nice already. To clean them up, you can use the diluted muriatic acid wash mentioned earlier. If you’re uncomfortable using this you can also use distilled white vinegar. This might be a better option for you since your bricks already look pretty clean.

    I would recommend re-tuck pointing the brickwork. It’s a labor intensive added step but really makes the wall look much more crisp and clean. An excellent company that specializes in this type of work is Renaissance Development.

    • I can second the recommendation for Renaissance Development. They did some brick work on the front of my house and installed brick steps and a walkway. I don’t think they’re the cheapest out there, but the work was excellent and they were easy to work with to boot.

    • I’ll third the recommendation. They tuckpointed the front of my house last week. However, they don’t seem to do a lot of inside work anymore, but may be interested since this is the slow season. They also might be able to point you in the right direction if cleaning and sealing – DO seal the brick when you’re done, it’s dusty otherwise – is all that’s needed.

  • The Virginia Masonry Association would be a great resource for this. The northern VA businesses certainly operate in DC.

  • i used a belt sander on my walls and then sealed them with behr concrete sealer. looks great. muriatic acid will clean concrete or mortar up but not paint. plus its lethal.

  • We recently had some bricks replaced in our recently exposed brick wall. We found this guy to be affordable and fast:

    Hugo Coyoy
    Coyoy Masonry

  • I’m just curious – what was painted on the drywall that you knocked down? Looked kind of wild.

  • Another important question is what do you plan to do with the electrical outlets on that wall? It looks long enough that you should have 1-2 outlets. Do you have an electrician to do that work for you as well?

  • Don’t sandblast or power sand paint off of brick. That’s how DIYers contaminate their entire house with lead dust making it a dangerous place for kids for the next few years.

  • houseintherear

    There was a mural on the wall, flowers/vines/newspaperprint. Did it in the summer but soon figured out I can’t live with my own artwork staring me in the face. Plus I like brick walls.

    There’s actually just the one outlet on that wall. The rest of the house is lofty/modern, so I may just have an electrician run the wire horizontally along the bottom of the wall there instead of through the ceiling, then do a metal tube to hide the wire and a nicer metal box around the outlet. Unless anyone gives me a better idea!

  • I would definitely put the wiring in an electrical conduit because it would protect the wiring and you. In short, less probability of shock or fire.

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