Press Release 17th July 2001

Bricks & Brass

17 JULY 2001

Exterior Wall Paint: the Silent Menace

"Modern masonry paint nearly ruined my old house and it cost me £5,000 to put the damage right," says Simon Tyrrell-Lewis, house enthusiast and founder of Bricks & Brass (The London House) web site.

He is launching a campaign to warn old-house owners of the danger posed by masonry paint, after his Edwardian house in South East London had to have modern masonry paint removed this year at vast expense.

Adds Simon: "The textured paint on the outside walls of my house destroyed the moisture balance. When water got in through cracks and gaps, it couldn't escape, so staining the walls and ruining the plaster. If left, it could have ended up rotting both the brickwork and structural timbers. It was a nightmare."

Bricks & Brass, in partnership with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and the Victorian Society, wants to see the use of such paints discouraged on older buildings and the public made aware of the problems that they pose.

"Solid wall houses built in Victorian, Edwardian and earlier times balance moisture levels through evaporation. Waterproof products such as masonry paint upset the moisture content in old buildings and we strongly recommend home owners to avoid them," said the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

SPAB building surveyor Douglas Kent adds, "With old brick buildings, any form of coating should be avoided as they rarely provide a permanent cure to damp penetration."

Ian Dungavell, the Director of the Victorian Society says "For most older houses the use of modern paints is not historically accurate and spoils the look of otherwise fine buildings. One painted house can spoil a whole terrace. If your home is not painted already, then it is best not to start."


Notes for Editors

Enclosed is a chunk of the paint it cost Simon Tyrrell-Lewis £5,000 to remove.

The Victorian Society was founded in 1958. It works to prevent the needless demolition or disfigurement of Victorian and Edwardian buildings of architectural interest, and to promote public understanding of the architecture and decorative arts of the period.
Web: Phone: 020 8994 1019

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) helps anyone living with or working with old buildings. SPAB runs a free technical advice line, runs short practical courses and has a mail order specialist bookshop. The Society is consulted on listed building applications to pre 1720 buildings.
Web: Press contact: Laura Gibbon 020 7456 0915

In February 2001, Simon Tyrrell-Lewis launched Bricks & Brass ( to share his enthusiasm for London houses built between 1830 and 1914. The site contains over 200 pages of information on what houses looked like originally and how to care for them.


Simon Tyrrell-Lewis
Bricks & Brass
2 Aldermary Road


020 8290 1488


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