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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy all.

I want to paint our unfinished basement.

The walls are brick, over a hundred years old.

The basement is dry. Yay for us.

The brick walls:

- have been painted before, a horrible light turquoise, much of which has flaked off; it would be easy to remove the remainder

- are intact for the most part, the only problem being that the mortar is crumbling a bit, or more than a bit...not a huge problem, but a fair amount of dust accumulates

I want to paint just for cosmetic reasons. That said, I'm thinking of using drylok or a similar product on the theory it may adhere better than "regular" paint, and may effectively bind to the mortar and slow the crumbling.

Does this make sense? If not, I'd be grateful if the community could set me straight.

Many thanks.
 

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Not going to work.
Dri-Loc can not be installed over paint. And it's not going to stick to a crumbling surface.
Do a key word search on basement framing under the search function on this site.
There's about 1000 post on this one subject.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I wasn't clear.

I'm not intending to paint over paint. What remains of the old paint can be easily removed.

Where it is crumbling, the mortar can be brushed to leave a fairly solid substrate. I'm thinking the drylok type product, by penetrating that mortar, might strengthen it.

And I'm not interested in framing the walls. Just painting.

Thanks.
 

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Seal Krete Original is the product you want.
If you remove the old paint and the worst of the crumbly mortar, a coat or two of Seal Krete will stabilize the mortar and seal the brick so that it will accept paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gary, you found the right audience for that link. Interesting stuff, and well presented. "Old books written by old people"...lol. Thanks.

If osmosis will cause water to rise 10 km in concrete, think how far it can migrate horizontally! I'm too old to do the math anymore, but it must be a long way.

Before posting I researched drylok quite a bit, including various online horror stories.

I found it interesting that the mfr claims the product produces a "breathable film – does not trap moisture in masonry". Gore-tex for masonry, quite the achievement.

If that's right, or kind of right, then the evaporation profile of our basement's brick may not change too much if a "breathable sealant" is applied to the interior. Since the status quo is not too bad...minimal damage since 1896...this might be a good outcome. Apply some fresh paint, don't disrupt the moisture flow too much, and maybe strengthen the mortar in the process.

(Digression on the oxymoronic "breathable sealant": my understanding is that very few substances can actually block the fine molecules of water which will eventually penetrate polymers and other stuff. I once tried to dewater a fiberglass boat hull by pulling a near vacuum and letting the water boil off, through the gel coat, at room temperature. It worked over a small area, but we sold her before I could scale it up.)

(Digression on why I don't re-point the mortar: too lazy, and wouldn't be much fun. It's just an unfinished basement. Which happens to hold the house up...)

I'm tempted to leave well enough alone, but the walls really need some attention. See "horrible light turquoise," above.

And I'm not averse to experimenting, balancing the risks against the rewards.

Prepared to do the time, I'm thinking I'll do the crime. The drylok type stuff, with its "breathable film," might be preferable to the seal-krete, which appears to be less permeable.

Thanks again.

Ralph
 
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