Exposing Brickwork


Hi,
I am moving into a 200 year old cottage and am planning on exposing some of the brick work behind a couple of the walls. Whats the best way to do this without damaging the brickwork underneath? I am going to take all the skirting boards off so maybe I should start there? I also want to make sure that the brick is going to look OK before I go ahead and do it. What the best way to find what sort of brick has been used in the property? Internally its all plastered at the moment and externally it has been rendered! I was thinking you can maybe tell from the loft?
Also say if I expose one wall and was planning on leaving the next segments of wall plastered, say for example in either side of the chimney, what are the chances of me keeping that plaster in tact?
Whats the best way to clean the brick? Sandblasting? and should the walls then be coated with something?
I know lots of questions but any advise would be apprecited!
Thanks Jamie
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"machine" wrote:

The only method of removing sound plaster I know of is to use a bolster chisel and hammer; lose plaster can be lifted off with a spade. It is very difficult not to damage the bricks and mortar joints, especially of the plaster is sound. Unless the walls have been re-plastered post-1900, a 200 year old building could well have horsehair plaster and lath walls. If so, you could be destroying a valuable original feature. If you take the skirting boards off you should be able to see some of the wall surface and the edge of the plaster. If not, chiselling a 'window' of plaster off is the only option but you can't be certain of the whole wall looking the same. I think you need to be reasonably certain that you will be happy with the final appearance and realise that you might be disappointed and need to re-plaster. Sorry to be so negative but a neighbour did this to a 1900 property and it was a disaster. Good luck!
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Bare in mind if that wall was plastered originally, it will have been built using all the B grade bricks and by the apprentice brickie most likely, so it may not look anything like as good as brickwork built to be seen, which will have the A grade bricks done by the experienced brickie.
If it's lime plaster (80 or more years old), it will probably come off quite easily -- once started, you can probably lever it off with a heavy duty scraper. Modern Gypsom plaster (particularly bonding coat) will be more difficult to get off. Sand and cement will be even more difficult still, and will probably take some of the brick faces off with it.

You will always need to fix up the boundary.

Brick acid (Hydrochloric acid) will wash lime plaster off very easily, but it will also dissolve lime mortar, so don't slosh too much in the joints. The wall will need pointing after taking off the plaster anyway.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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