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21 September 2014 Sunday Argus Property – Painted dated face brick a challenge

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 in the Blouberg region. One of the higher complexes with stunning views from the upper floors, it has become a sought after investment. Indawo managing director, Geoffrey Jäck, says that the makeover of this building required some meticulous attention to detail.
The original finish was face brick and the body corporate wanted to improve the overall aesthetics of the building by painting it. “This calls for a specific methodology,” says Jäck. “Face brick, by its nature, 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.”

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The question of painting your 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, Indawo points out important factors to be considered first:
• Before painting either interior or exterior brick, remember that the primary intention of brick was not to be painted. If you decide to paint face brick you will need to consider a maintenance plan that includes repainting the brick every 3 to 5 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 is entirely dependent 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 will be preferable if the brick is 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 appears on older bricks, needs to be removed if it is present. Efflorescence, derived from a French term meaning “to flower out”, can occur on brick. It is the result when water moving through bricks brings salts to the surface. Experienced contractors know how to deal with this residue.
• When painting face brick, this is no time to select lower quality paint. Speak to your contractor or paint supplier to ensure the specification is precise.
Jäck concludes, “While 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 and this was foremost in their mind. From Indawo’s perspective, the project proved that such a redecoration project is entirely possible as part of a long term building management strategy.”
For more information on painting contact Indawo on 021 941 5000 or email

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