I was walking through a building lobby when I noticed a table with a pamphlet discouraging people from painting murals on their brick buildings. My first thought was that this city department was undermining community beautification efforts. But as I read more closely, I realized the brochure was warning people about some very real issues associated with damaging the structural integrity of buildings.
If you are a member of the arts community trying to cultivate a more creative environment in your city, you don’t want to have your beautification efforts responsible for hastening the decline of the very neighborhoods you are trying to revitalize.
I mentioned the following among the things to consider, but there are more details in the full post:
Many of the issues painting brick structures creates are related to trapping moisture in what is normally a relatively porous, breathable material. Temperature changes causing expansion of that moisture can undermine the structural integrity of the brick and mortar. The paint can obscure the development of these issues until the damage becomes severe and repairs more costly and extensive.
Keep in mind that geographic location should also be factored in to the materials and process chosen. The guide linked to here is calibrated to the conditions of cold, snowy winters and glaring summer sun at elevations exceeding one mile. Murals will weather differently in the relatively warmer, more humid climes of the southeast and drier, hotter deserts of the southwest, as well as the mix of annual weather conditions across the rest of the US.