If you want to upgrade the look of your masonry wall you have many options. The finish chosen should take into account the look you want to achieve, the type of structure and the climatic conditions. Some options are within the reach of a do-it-yourselfer and others are best left to professionals. Before you begin be sure to consult your local building inspector to be sure you meet the building codes in your area.
If you want a finished appearance to an interior masonry wall to then you can add drywall to framing. You will need a moisture barrier between the framing and the masonry wall to keep control condensation and humidity, especially in a basement. You frame conventional walls studs by attached treated studs with masonry screws. Fill the spaces with fiberglass insulation. This is then covered by drywall.
Stucco can be applied directly to the wall surface. Stucco is made from portland cement, sand, lime, and water. You can buy it premixed or mix it yourself. You must prepare a frame for the stucco installation and it can be tricky to apply. So you may want to find someone experienced to work with you. Two coats of stucco are usually enough. The topcoat can be colored with pigments. Different textures can be achieved by using various finishing tools. There are also synthetic stucco systems available. These are usually applied by a contractor.
If you like the appearance of a solid brick wall this can be achieved with a thin facing of real or simulated brick. Brick veneer is available in thicknesses from ½ to 4 inches. Thick veneers are applied to the wall with mortar. This is a complicated job and might be best done by a professional. Lightweight brick veneer is applied to a wire mesh base can be applied by the do-it-yourselfer.
Wood paneling can also be applied to masonry walls. Furring strips are attached to the walls using adhesive or a ramset. These strips are applied horizontally at the top and bottom of the all and vertical strips are added every 16 inches. If you want to add insulation you can put foam core between the furring strips. Add a vapor barrier like a plastic painter’s drop cloth. Next attach the wood paneling with nails.
Paint or Sealer
You may want to consider the option of simply painting or sealing your masonry wall. Here are the steps:
Clean the wall surface with a wire brush and wash with a degreaser or detergent. Then vacuum to clear any dust or dirt that remains. If you notice a white deposit on the walls it is a deposit called efflorescence. Use ten percent solution of muriatic acid dissolved in water and applied with a stiff brush. Use safety precautions when using this solution. Rinse the walls and let them dry.
Repair and holes or cracks in the walk with hydraulic cement.
Apply the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once your wall is sealed and dry you can paint it. Several thin coats are better than a thick coat. When choosing a paint there are interior and exterior paint options. There are also some paints made specifically for masonry. After applying the paint be sure to let it dry and cure.
A new surface on your masonry wall can transform any area in your home into a livable space. Enjoy.