OT: Painting brick?

I'm going to be painting a circa-1890 brick home that is currently painted, but peeling. Anyone have any opinions about "elastomeric" paint? What's the best way to prep the brick? Power washer? Sand blast? Wire brush? I want to do a good job, but I don't want to damage what I've heard is "soft" brick and mortar since it's so old. Any thoughts will be appreciated.
JP
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"Jay Pique" wrote:

------------------------------------- You may have a big surprise waiting for you.
Before I did anything, I'd check to see if existing paint is lead based.
If so, you're looking at a HazMat company to come in and remove old paint.$$$$$
Lew
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Lew is right. No doubt that if the brick has been painted a few times at least one or two coats will be lead based.
I know you are supposed to have hazmat remove loose chips and debris, but don't know anyone around here that does that.
We power wash with a light detergent/mold killer in the stream, then rinse. Then we let the surfaces dry. After they dry you have to scrape off the remaining chips. By keeping them in chip form, the lead paint stays manageable, and you can use a lawn vacuum to pick up every last piece.
But if you sand, that's different. Just sanding the surfaces even is too much lead paint dust. That is a different subject, see Lew's comment.
After power washing you will probably have a bit of a rough surface, but if you meticulously get the loose stuff off with a hand scraper it will still paint.
We don't full power wash as >> I << have blown apart soft bricks, blown out soft mortar, and etched too many surfaces. We just lightly rinse to remove dirt. Never sand blast or wire brush as you will damage the century old brick and mortar. In our older sections of town that are recognized as "historic", they will not let you use a mechanical device to prep the surface outside of a soft power washer fopr that very reason.
When we do any brick surface, we point up the cracks in brick and mortar both with NP1, which is a butyl based elastomeric UV-resistant stuff we buy at the roofing supply house. It is the best sealer/caulk of its type. It is the only really elastic caulk I have found, and it works wonders on moving brick that changes positions with the seasons. Paintable too, after 2 - 3 days to cure out. We never point up with mortar.
Elastomeric paints work well if you keep them in the context in which they were designed to perform. They will span small cracks, hairline cracks, tiny bits of face cracking, etc., well, but won't replace caulk.
I like to use them on sun beaten wood surfaces as they will fill in hairline surface cracks after a couple of coats. Don't make the mistake of thinking the paint will fill in anything more than a thick hair on a vertical surface. It will do better than that on a horizontal surface, but that won't help you on your wall.
As a suggestion, ask your paint dealer for a product called "block fill". We used to use that in our commercial days, and it is almost all solids in a white paint/primer carrier and is used to fill concrete block surfaces before you paint them. You have seen this product wherever you have seen nicely sealed and painted block walls on municipal buildings, etc.
Apply the block fill to the brick and prepped surface, then two coats of finish on top of that. You will get years and years out of that new surface.
Robert
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Lew is right. No doubt that if the brick has been painted a few times at least one or two coats will be lead based.
I know you are supposed to have hazmat remove loose chips and debris, but don't know anyone around here that does that. -------------------------------------- Having had to deal with regulatory agencies (SCAQMD) who have a ability to access fines as they see fit, it's a risk I not be willing to take.
A telephone call from a neighbor or a disgruntled customer to OSHA and you are toast.
The benefit is simply not worth the risk IMHO.
OTOH, YMMV.
Lew
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On Tue, 25 May 2010 00:42:35 -0700, "Lew Hodgett"

One of my clients with rental units is merely painting over the old paint rather than disturbing anything which may turn out to be lead-based. You can futz with up to 25 s/f of paint before needing to do the plastic and haz-mat bullshit. Needless bureaucracy, IMO.
My business will either do paintovers or no painting in the future if it turns out to contain lead. 'taint worth it. I refuse go get caught anywhere near the lead/asbestos/mercury/carbon bullshit parade, thankyouverymuch.
--------------------------------------------------- I drive way too fast to worry about my cholesterol. ---------------------------------------------------
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wrote:

Thanks much for the info Robert, Lew, et al. Sorry I forgot to put "OT" in the subject line. I might have to replace some of the old wood trim though, so maybe you'll give me a pass.
Just back from a big install in Kentucky. Whooo-eee is it hot and humid there already.
JP
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

I. While ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of the facts often is. If you test for lead, you are no longer ignorant of the facts.
II. If the old paint peels, the new paint may very well also.
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As mentioned by HeyBub, you may want to look into a quality "brick primer". Moisture that gets into the brick can cause paint to peel.
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