Exposed bricks as seen on Reno Rumble.
Exposed bricks as seen on Reno Rumble. Photos Elizabeth Allnutt

Home DIY: Baring all for the exposed rustic brick wall

OUR first bedroom on The Block got mixed reviews. Especially when we exposed a brick wall. But we instantly fell in love with the robust yet soft feeling it gave to the room.

I love doing renos when it doesn't cost much money, just your time. Pretty much every home we rebuilt on Reno Rumble was an old Victorian brick and horsehair plaster-built home. I've seen many in Queensland and New South Wales as well. They can be a builder's nightmare as they require a lot of work to remove, but exposing a brick wall takes a little bit of hard yakka and one of your weekends.

I don't know why we have all these building materials on hand and then we cover them up with plaster?  


Tools you'll need:

  •  Hammer drill  
  •  Wide chisel bit  
  •  Pointed chisel bit for the hammer drill  
  •  Hammer  
  •  Sponge  
  •  Tape  
  •  Drop sheets  
  •  Bucket  
  •  Rags  
  •  Wheel barrow  
  •  Wheelie bin  
  •  Paint roller  
  •  Roller tray

Step 1: Prep

This is one of the messiest jobs, but there are a couple of things you can do to minimise the mess. You will need an empty room. Don't just cover furniture up; get rid of it into another room. Next, lay drop sheets to cover the entire floor and tape all of the edges to the floor. Then, with more drop sheets, make a pathway through the house to your dumping point. This could be a bin or the back of your ute or a trailer.

Step 2: Remove plaster

The hard stuff! With your hammer drill, start chipping away the plaster or render. You can even pick up your hammer and hit a concentrated area to start the flow. There is no easy way of doing this, just persistence. Start going sideways from your starting point until your arms hurt (and they will), then go up and down. Don't be disheartened if an hour passes and it doesn't look like you've done much. You can try and bribe your mates with beer and take turns or get two drills going.

Step 3: Clean

If you have made it this far, congratulations. I have exposed a lot of walls in the past year and know how you're feeling. Now is a good time to clean the wall using your vacuum. Don't use the missus's Dyson! It will end in disaster. Then give the wall a wash using a sponge, rag and soapy water.


Step 4: Repointing


If you're going to paint your wall a colour, it's a good idea to repoint the mortar. Don't worry if you haven't done this before. It can be done quite rough and will add to the effect. Mix your bag of builder's quick set mortar and cement in a bucket and using a curved point mortar trowel, apply to all the cracks and rough patches. Make sure you have a bucket of water and a sponge on hand to lightly rub over the mortar once applied. This will take any sharp points away and blend the mortar.

Step 5: Paint

Clean the floor free from all dust. Simply apply your paint with a roller quite thick as it will fill any holes. After the initial coat, apply as per normal. I've never used a primer and have never had a problem with a good quality indoor paint.

Step 6. Clean up

Put the room back together and go to the pub - you will deserve it.

Ayden and Jess Hogan were on The Block Triple Threat and won Reno Rumble in 2015. Follow them as they build their dream home on Facebook:

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