I have exposed a 100+ yr old brick wall inside, tuckpointed, cleaned with cup brushes on a grinder, and Sureklean 600. I don't have a picture right now but it looks beautiful.

Two questions:

  1. I want to finish the wall with polyurethane or something mildly shiny but definitely not too much. What is the best coating to use?

  2. After using Sureklean, what is the purpose of neutralizing? The instruction on the jug say neutralize with water + baking soda for indoor but not outdoor application.


A sealer I use for stone and grout (also rated for brick) is Miracle 511 Porous Plus. It is solvent based, so use an organic respirator during application, remove pets, ventilate!

The Miracle product adds no sheen or color, absorbing completely.

They have a water-based product also, although I haven't used it and can't confirm-or-deny.

The Sure Klean is an acidic product, (hydrocloric acid). On exteriors, you would flood with hose and/or pressure washer, obviating the need for a neutralizer. I doubt you would hose down your interior, so a neutralizer indoors is needed.

  • 1
    do you have any association to these products, or are they just products you've used and like? – Steven Feb 11 '13 at 17:20
  • is the neutralizer for this different than say neutralizer for after applying Peel Away 1 paint stripping product (dumondchemicals.com/pro-peel-away-1.html) or neutralizing lime-based plaster? I have all three scenarios at present, believe it or not – amphibient Feb 11 '13 at 17:21
  • I'm not associated in any way, I am a remodeling contractor specializing in tile and baths. I believe Peelaway and plaster are both alkaline or "basic" Their neutralizers would be acidic, perhaps vinegar. – HerrBag Feb 11 '13 at 18:47
  • The MSDS for PeelAway is indeed Alkaline, [link] (dumondchemicals.com/pdf/MSDS/Peel%20Away%201%20MSDS.pdf) – HerrBag Feb 11 '13 at 21:49
  • what happens if i don't neutralize? – amphibient Feb 12 '13 at 0:46

I finished a wall in my 1906 house with plain shellac. I got very good results. Two coats and you'll get a nice finish with a sheen but not a shine or gloss. It's held up well too. I needed two quarts for 150 square feet applied by brush.


If you've mechanically removed all remnants of paint, then your choices are pretty broad. You could use any clear "original" or "heavy duty" masonry sealer, and there are plenty.

If you still have paint or paint could have penetrated further into the masonry than you removed, then your choices are much more limited. There are some brick sealants, but they require fresh, clean bricks mostly. Seal Krete makes some masonry sealers that are listed to go on top of painted or previously-painted surfaces.

I'm not familiar with your product, but it's most likely an acid and you're "neutralizing" it with a base to cancel out the pH so it won't continue to act on the wall or the next top coat.

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