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Should Exterior Bricks Be Sealed?

You seal your fence and your car paint. Shouldn’t your exterior bricks get the same treatment? Brick sealant seems helpful on paper, but it’s not always necessary or ideal. In this guide, we’ll cover the pros and cons of exterior brick sealant to help you preserve your brickwork.

Most Exterior Bricks Do Not Need to Be Sealed

Bricks are specifically manufactured for outdoor use. Brick sealants weren’t around a hundred years ago, but bricks from that timeframe are still standing! In fact, bricks today are even better made than they were a century ago. Most do not need the added layer of protection.

Mortar has also gotten stronger over time. The mortar of today creates a better seal around the brick joints than the mortar made decades ago. As a whole, your brickwork should be plenty strong without any sealant on the top.

Brick Sealant Might Actually Hurt Your Bricks

In some cases, sealing brick does more harm than good. The pores in the bricks and mortar allow any moisture within the bricks to escape and evaporate. If the brick is sealed, that moisture has nowhere to go.

Theoretically, the sealant keeps moisture from getting into the bricks in the first place. But that theory is flawed. Freeze/thaw cycles, foundation shifting and other wear eventually create cracks in the mortar. Those cracks let in water, and that water can wreak havoc below. If the bricks aren’t sealed, the moisture has a way out.

How to Protect Bricks without Brick Sealant

The best way to preserve your brickwork is to restore the mortar around it. This seals the edges of the bricks and keeps unwanted moisture away. Mortar is more porous and less durable than brick. It breaks down faster and thus needs more frequent maintenance.

Through a process called repointing, bricklayers remove the outermost layer of crumbling mortar. Then they fill the joints with new mortar, color-matched to blend with the old. The new joints can protect the bricks for years to come, saving you from future repair expenses.

Repointing, brick restoration and brick maintenance are all services we provide here at It’s The Brick Guys. Check out our brick repair guide to learn more.

Determine If Brick Sealant Is Right for Your Property

While there are many drawbacks to sealing bricks, there are times when this step is necessary. For instance, you may have bricks that have already been sealed several times. If the existing topcoat is worn down, it is going to trap moisture in the bricks without an opportunity for it to escape. Resealing the bricks would provide better protection than leaving them partially exposed.

Our brick inspectors can evaluate your property and determine which path is right for you. Whether you need mortar repointing, brick repair, brick restoration or quality brick sealing, It’s The Brick Guys has you covered. Call (833) 627-4257 if you’d like a brick paving quote.