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How do I Paint Brick?

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  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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There are several steps you need to take when you paint brick. First you will need to clean the bricks. Afterwards, you will have to repair the damaged mortar. Then you will need to prime and paint. Neglecting any one of these steps can result in a sloppy looking paint job.

Before you paint brick, you should give the bricks a cleaning. If you do not clean then beforehand, you may end up with a grainy feel to your final paint job or paint that can peel. You will need to clean off any dust, dirt, soot, or anything else that has accumulated on your bricks. To do this, you can use a vacuum or a stiff brush. Your bricks may only need a mild cleaning; however, there are other instances when you will need to do a more thorough job.

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In the case of mildew or efflorescence, you will need to do a more thorough cleaning than just dusting alone. Mildew can be taken care of with a mixture of bleach and water. Efflorescence, which results in white stains that are the result of salt deposits on the bricks, is a little more difficult to take care of. It can be removed by scrubbing with water or, if that doesn't work, with the careful application of a more potent cleaning solution as advised by a professional. It is important to note that not all of the stains may be able to be removed; however, if some residue remains, it can often be successfully covered with primer.

The next step you need to take when preparing to paint brick is to repair the mortar. Small repairs can be made with caulk, but excessively crumbling mortar should be looked at by a professional. If you are using caulk to repair the mortar before you paint bricks, be sure to choose one that is approved for masonry and that you will be able to paint over easily. After the caulk is dried, the bricks should be washed and left to dry for about 48 hours.

After repairs are made, select the primer. The one you use when you are going to paint brick should also be approved for masonry. When choosing your primer, you will have several options; some people recommend using oil-based primers, others like acrylic, and still others latex. You may want to ask a professional which option is right for you.

After you've completed these steps, you are ready to paint the bricks. There are several types of paint you can choose from, with a variety of finishes. You can choose the one that matches your home's color and finish. Bricks are porous, so when you paint brick, remember to get a lot of paint — more than you think you will need — and apply as many coats as it will take. You may also consider using a sprayer to ensure even coverage.

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Drentel
Post 3

Sporkasia - It sounds like you didn't get your bricks clean enough before you began the painting. That's probably why you couldn't get the feel you wanted. Even when you use a spray gun, you can't get away with anything less than a thorough cleaning of outside bricks.

Painting an indoor fireplace is a little different, but fireplaces usually get dirty, so it needs a good cleaning too.

Sporkasia
Post 2

Animandel - I know what you mean about painting brick. In my family, painting brick and painting wooden walls and bookcases is strictly forbidden. However, I have broken the rules a few times and I found that with brick, the actual process of getting paint to adhere to the brick and look decent can be tough.

The first time I painted the bricks on my side porch, I used a paint brush and I never got the coats of paint to look or feel like I wanted. A friend told me she thought it was better to spray paint brick rather than use a brush or roller. I took her suggestion and she was right. It looked and felt much better.

I'm not sure how similar my situation is to yours since you are looking to paint interior bricks rather than ones outdoors. Anyway, that was my experience.

Animandel
Post 1

There's this old brick fireplace in our bedroom, which I love. Few things beat lying in bed and watching a fire on a cold rainy day. However, I don't like the color of the bricks in our fireplace. They are a light color and they don't go well with the rest of the room. This has left me asking the question, can I paint brick?

From reading the article, other than a little elbow grease, painting the fireplace sounds like it won't be difficult. I've never painted brick. Actually, I always followed the rule that painting brick is a mistake, but I think I'll give it a try and she whether it looks better than what we have now.

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