The eight steps to exposing brickwork at home according to experts

Lockdown has led to a surge in DIY makeovers.

People across Northern Ireland have been dusting off their tool kits and paint brushes to have a go at transforming their homes.

From updating the living room with a lick of paint, up-cycling kitchen tables and chairs and giving the garden some much needed TLC, there’s never been a better time give your house a fresh new look.

And if you’re hoping to give your home a bit of character and try out an impressive-looking interior design trend that has grown in popularity over the past year – you might have considered exposing brickwork.

The amount of times internet users have searched for ‘expose brickwork’ this year has increased 149{3fd454b43fbfd7aa8a551fa339f02ecfdee40c34b6b5df10527629ca3647b822} since last year (from June to June).

One of the most popular ways homeowners are incorporating exposed brickwork into their home is by giving their existing fireplace a makeover.

And though the interest in the design style is high, we aren’t always sure where to start.

To find out how you can get the look at yourself, Glowing Embers consulted with DIY expert and spokesperson for MyJobQuote, Lisa Evans, to reveal how to expose brickwork and transform your fireplace in eight steps:

Step 1:

Examine the state of the brick you wish to expose before starting. If your brickwork is in poor condition, you may need to consult with a specialist before you start the work.

Step 2:

Protect the floor nearest the wall by covering it with sheeting. This will help stop it from scratching or chipping as bits of plaster fall from the wall. Plus, it makes the cleaning process quicker.

Step 3:

Start breaking up the plaster with a masonry chisel and hammer.

Step 4:

Once you have removed most of the plaster, you can then focus on the tough sections that remain. If you have some sections that refuse to come away, try using a sharp knife.

Step 5:

Once all the plaster has been removed, use a wire brush to go over the exposed wall. This will remove any small bits of plaster and sediment.

Step 6:

Once you’ve cleared the wall, spread a mild detergent on the brickwork.

Step 7:

Leave this solution on the brickwork for 5-10 minutes and then wipe it away with a wet sponge.

Step 8:

Finally, use one or two coats of brick sealant on the newly exposed wall. This will help to protect it.

a brick wall: Exposed brickwork

Exposed brickwork

Glowing Embers also revealed some top safety tips to keep in mind: “When it comes to staying safe, ensure you follow health and safety measures.

“If your brickwork is crumbling, you should consult a structural engineer first before tackling the job yourself.

“It goes without saying that wearing the necessary equipment such as goggles (to protect your eyes), a respirator (your breathing) and finally gloves.

“It’s always worth double checking the manufacturers instructions on the brick sealant for accurate quantities and safety steps you will need to follow.

“Planning ahead can also give you the time you will need to get most of the work done, as a guide, it usually takes 6-8 hours to expose brickwork around a standard fireplace and chimney breast (5ft W x 9ft H) and this timescale also includes the clean up process too.”

Lisa continued with more expert tips: “If you’re pulling the plaster off the wall then you need to make sure you’re not doing it aggressively.

“If you’re too aggressive and try to get the job done quickly with big swings of the hammer and chisel, you could damage the brickwork underneath.

“Once you have completed the job, don’t apply the sealant before you hoover all the dust and debris. Otherwise, some of this may blow up and catch on the sealant as it dries.

“If you head to your local DIY shop, you should be able to get all of the tools you require for exposing brickwork quickly and easily. Plus, because you don’t need any power tools, you don’t have to spend a fortune, either.”