Back to the future

23 September 2014 www.sapropertynews.com – Giving a fresh look to dated face brick

Steeped in history, Bloubergstrand and surrounding suburbs have steadily grown in demand, with property in this region fetching some tidy returns for homeowners.

According to painting, waterproofing and construction company, Indawo, keeping aesthetics up to modern standards has been a key driver in this demand.

One complex that has just received a complete makeover is Highveldt, one of the taller complexes in Blouberg, with remarkable views from the upper floors. Apartments in the building have become sought after investments, and Indawo managing director, Geoffrey Jäck, says the makeover of this building required some meticulous attention to detail.

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“The original exterior finish was face brick and the body corporate wanted to improve the overall aesthetics of the building by painting it. Face brick is highly durable with a built in colour and is never intended to be painted. In the case of Highveldt, the body corporate realised that the original face brick was no longer one of the building’s market differentiators, as it was many years ago. They wanted a cost effective solution to improve the look of the building,” says Jäck.

The question of painting face brick or not remains a personal one, but the solution is not as simple as it seems. Before slapping paint on a roller and brush, there are some important factors to be considered:

The primary characteristic of face brick is that it is not intended to be painted. If you decide to paint it you will need to consider a maintenance plan that includes repainting the brick every three to five years.

Once painted, removing paint from these bricks is a difficult process that will require chemicals and even then all the paint might not be completely removed.

Before painting, make sure that you are absolutely sure of the finish, as changing back to face brick is close to impossible.

The quality of the paint job depends entirely on the quality of the brick – deteriorating brick does not provide an ideal base for painting. Paint blocks pores in brick and underlying problems, like damp, can be exacerbated inside the brick and cause structural damage. It’s preferable for the brick to be completely dry before painting, to avoid the risk of immediate or longer-term damage as a result of moisture.

Bricks have a natural chemical property that can affect paint durability. Your paint supplier and contractor will advise on the correct primer to avoid any application problems.

Bricks need to be properly prepared. Any efflorescence – an ugly white residue that sometimes appears on bricks – needs to be removed if it is present. Efflorescence, derived from a French term meaning “to flower out”, can occur on brick when water moving through bricks brings salts to the surface. Experienced contractors know how to deal with this residue.

When painting face brick it’s important to use good quality paint. Speak to your contractor or paint supplier to ensure the specification is precise.

Jäck says: “When Highveldt changed its entire look, the body corporate ensured that all risks were covered including the right choice of paint products. The trustees were very mindful of the investment value of the building. From Indawo’s perspective, the project proved that such a redecoration project is entirely possible as part of a long term building management strategy.”

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Join us on a trip down memory lane! We have featured in many newspapers, magazines and online publications for our good work done in painting, waterproofing, construction, roofing, flooring, building refurbishment and asbestos removal and asbestos handling in Cape Town, Western Cape and Johanesburg and Pretoria in Gauteng and Tshwane.

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