Painting Brick Walls and Other Masonry

by Carmen Corbin on January 23, 2012

If you have outdated or unattractive exposed brick inside your home, or the brick color just doesn’t complement your décor, consider painting it.  While painting over a brick wall takes a bit more patience and time than painting over a smooth wall, the results can be dramatic.

Interior Brick Walls and Fireplaces

Exposed brick walls can give an edgy, urban feel to townhouses and lofts, yet can also give an authentic, vintage feel to a historic home.  But not all brick is pleasing to the eye, and a well chosen coat of paint can really brighten up a room or bring new life into a fireplace.

Clean and Prep: As we’ve mentioned, painting brick is a bit more challenging than painting a standard wall, so the easiest and fastest way to get the job done would be to hire professional painters.  But if you decide to do it yourself, you’ll first need to clean and prepare the surface.  Using a vacuum brush hose attachment or a handheld brush, remove all dust and cobwebs.  Wipe down the surface with a damp cloth and let dry for a few hours.  If you’re painting a fireplace, use mild soap and a scratch pad to remove as much soot as you can (primer will cover small amounts of soot).

Repair Holes and Cracks: Use spackle or mortar-textured caulk to fill in holes and cracks.  For large repairs or loose bricks, call in a home improvement contractor.

Prime and Paint: Apply a fast drying acrylic primer to the brick surface.  During both the priming and painting processes, work in sections so that you can properly cover each brick and crevice.  It’s best to start at the top and work your way down – it’ll be easier to catch any drips.  Start with a roller, and then use a paintbrush to fill in any hard to reach areas that you missed.

Tip: Because brick and mortar are porous, you’ll need a little more paint than you would for a standard wall.  Also, plan on applying two or three coats for the best coverage and color.

Exterior Brick

For painting brick on the exterior of your home, we recommend hiring a professional house painter with experience in masonry.  Due to outside brick being exposed to the elements, its condition should be evaluated by an expert, who can then handle any necessary repairs.  They’ll also ensure the area is thoroughly cleaned (by sandblasting or other methods) and properly sealed before painting.

For more information on painting brick, call or visit your local painter or home improvement contractor.

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