Exposed brick walls on the interior of a home are the latest rave in interior design. Exposed brick allows individuals to feel connected with the building. It makes the decor seem authentic, like it’s both a real part of the architecture and pretty, not just one or the other. But with maintenance and installation so costly, when it all comes down to it, does exposed brick add value to your home?
Adding Exposed Brick
While exposed brick does add some value to a home, the cost of installing it into an already finished residence would likely be more than the expected return on investment. Of course the market is not fixed, and if someone falls in love with the home because of the brick and chooses to buy it for a higher price, then adding the brick was worthwhile. This is not a guarantee, however, and appraisers are not likely to add thousands to a home’s value based on exposed brick walls alone.
In older homes, beautiful brick walls may be hiding behind plaster. If you’re planning a remodel anyway, it may be worth taking a peek behind a hidden corner to see what the structure of the home looks like underneath. Baring one of those gems may be worth the work of peeling away plaster and deep-cleaning the exposed brick beneath.
In newer homes, faux brick panels and brick façade plates may be the way to go if exposed brick is the desired look for a wall or two. Too many walls made of brick (or faux brick) could give a charming space a dark, dungeon-like ambience, so some care should be taken in the design. If the exposed brick makes the space feel smaller or darker, it’s unlikely to add value to your home.
Exposed Brick Maintenance to Take Seriously
While quaint brick walls may draw tenants, poorly maintained brick walls certainly won’t keep those tenants. One author who chose an apartment based on the exposed brick wall also broke her lease for the very same reason. This brick wall exposure was in poor repair, crumbling when touched and allowing several centipedes into the apartment each night. This is an excellent object lesson: exposed brick is only going to add value if it’s well maintained.
Proper cleaning and sealing of indoor brick walls is essential to these walls adding value instead of liability. A pressure washer can be used for a good deep clean, removing all mold and loose brick pieces. Of course, a waterproof plastic sheet should be attached to the bottom of the wall to prevent flooding the floor. For less intense cleaning, a stiff scrub-brush can be used to clean the surface. Once the walls are scrubbed and thoroughly dry, vacuuming the walls will be sure to remove any dust or debris before you apply any paint or sealant. A matte finish brick sealant should be applied to preserve the integrity of the bricks and mortar while preventing draftiness.
Well-maintained exposed brick can make a room feel charmingly rustic, cozy and lived-in, and add a great deal of value to a home. If you’re considering exposed brick for your home, keep these tips in mind.