Most people think that painting brick is a nightmare. They worry about the prep work, the mess, and the time it will take.
It certainly isn't the most straightforward task to paint brick, especially if you're painting a more prominent home where you need ladders or scaffolding. While the process can change slightly from contractor to contractor, there are specific steps you need to take to paint brick exteriors. If you're wondering if it's time to paint your home, check out our blog post on 5 signs that the exterior of your house needs to be painted.
Here are the main steps for painting brick exteriors.
The 3-Step Process For Painting Brick
1. Prepare The Exterior Brick
The key to any successful painting project is proper surface preparation. This is especially true when painting an exterior brick surface, as several potential issues can arise if it is not adequately prepared.
The paint may not adhere properly to the surface of the bricks if they're not clean. This means that the paint could start to peel or chip soon after you finish painting. This would be a colossal disappointment and require you to repaint much sooner than you would have needed to.
If any weeds or other vegetation are growing in between the cracks of your bricks, they could start to peek through after you paint over them. Not only do weeds and vegetation look unsightly, but it would also make it challenging to repaint in the future. You'd also have to be careful not to accidentally paint over the vegetation.
Let's dive into the cleaning part of the process of painting brick.
Clean The Brick Surface Thoroughly
Remove any loose paint chips. You can skip this step if you don't have painted brick. Using a putty knife or wire brush, scrape away any loose paint from the surface of the brick. If there are large flaking or chipped paint areas, you may need to use a power washer to remove all the loose paint before proceeding.
Clean the surface of the brick. Once all the loose paint has been removed, it's time to clean the bricks themselves. You can mix trisodium phosphate (TSP) with water and scrub the solution onto the bricks with a stiff brush. Be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear while working with TSP.
Once you've scrubbed the entire surface, rinse away the TSP solution with a hose or pressure washer. If you see any mildew or algae growth on the brick wall, mix a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water and scrub it onto the affected areas. Rinse away thoroughly after cleaning.
Once the bricks are clean, allow them to dry completely before going to the next step in painting your brick exterior.
Trim Back Any Plants
If you have plants next to your brick walls, trimming them back before painting brick is a good idea. This will give you more room and lessen the chances of paint getting on your plants.
Protect Exterior Non-Brick Surfaces
One of the best ways to protect the non-brick portions of your exterior is to use painter's tape. This type of tape is specifically designed to create a clean line between two different surfaces. It's also easy to remove, so you won't have to worry about damaging your trim or windows when taking the tape off.
You can use it to tape newspaper or another protective covering over windows, doors, and other areas you don't want the paint to get on.
Drop cloths are also essential. You can use them to cover any plants and natural areas you don't want the paint to drip on when painting brick.
2. Repair Any Cracks In The Brick Before Painting
Step 1: Inspect your brick wall for damage. Look for any cracks wider than 1/4 inch. These will need to be repaired with mortar before painting. More minor cracks can be filled with an elastomeric caulk, which will flex as the house settles and help prevent future cracking.
Step 2: Clean the area around the crack. Use a wire brush to remove any loose debris or paint chips. Then, use a hose or pressure washer to clean away dirt or grime. Let the area dry completely before proceeding.
Step 3: Apply mortar to the crack to create an even surface best for painting brick. A pointing trowel pushes the mortar into the crack, filling it completely. Wipe away any excess mortar with a damp cloth. Allow the mortar to dry for 24 hours before moving to step 4.
Step 4: Apply caulk to the crack (if needed). If you're using caulk, apply it evenly along the crack length utilizing a caulking gun. Smooth it with your finger or a putty knife, then allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before painting. If you're not using caulk, proceed directly to step 5.
Step 5: Prime the area around the crack (optional). This will help ensure even coverage and provide better adhesion when painting brick. Simply apply a layer of primer using a roller or brush, taking care not to get any primer on the actual brick itself, just on the surrounding surface.
3. Painting The Brick Wall
Primer creates a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to and helps prevent peeling and flaking down the road. But in addition to those benefits, primer also provides a barrier between the bricks and the paint. This is important because it helps protect the bricks from moisture damage caused by changing temperatures and weather conditions.
Types Of Primer
Not all primers are created equal. When selecting a primer for your painting brick project, you'll want to consider the type of paint you'll be using as well as the condition of the bricks. If the bricks are in good condition, you can get away with using a cheaper primer. But if they're cracked or chipped, you'll need to use a high-quality bonding primer that will cost a bit more.
How To Apply Primer
Using a roller or brush, apply primer to one section at a time, working from top to bottom. Start at an inconspicuous spot like an eaves trough or gutter, and work your way down. Be sure to prime evenly and avoid streaks. Once you've finished priming, give the primer 24 hours to dry.
*You may be able to prime any damaged areas you fixed instead of priming your entire brick exterior.
Choose The Right Paint For Painting Brick
Consider the Climate
The climate is one of the most important things to consider when choosing paint for a brick exterior. Suppose you live in an area with harsh weather conditions. In that case, you'll want to select a specifically designed paint to withstand those conditions.
For example, suppose you live in an area with high temperatures and high humidity. In that case, you'll want to choose a fade-resistant paint with good moisture resistance. On the other hand, if you live in an area with cold winters and hot summers, you'll want to choose a paint that is crack resistant.
Consider The Type Of Brick
Another critical thing to consider when choosing paint for your painting brick project is the type of brick. Different types of bricks absorb paint differently, so it's essential to select a type that is compatible with your kind of brick. You can choose between latex paint, acrylic paint, and oil paint.
For example, if you have porous brick, you'll want to choose acrylic or latex paint. If you have non-porous brick, you'll want to choose an oil-based paint.
Start at the top corner of your wall again and work your way down, applying even strokes with your roller or paint sprayer as you go. Depending on the paint you're using, you may need multiple coats. It's a good idea to consult the manufacturer's instructions for guidance on how many coats are necessary for good coverage.
Once you've finished applying paint, let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Even if you're careful while painting bricks, there are likely to be at least a few spots that need touching up. Grab a small paint brush and use it to apply touch-ups where needed. Pay special attention to edges, corners, and other areas where detailed work is required.
Drying And Additional Coats Of Paint
When you paint brick, it's essential to allow enough time for it to dry before applying a second coat. Latex-based paints usually require 24 hours between coats. This may seem like a long time, but it's important to be patient and wait 24 hours before applying additional coats of paint. Otherwise, you risk the new coat of paint not adhering properly and eventually peeling off.
Entrust Your Brick Home Exterior To The Professionals At Aurora Painting
Painting brick can help make your home look beautiful and boost curb appeal, as long as it's done correctly.
If you're interested in painting your brick exterior, fill out our contact form, and one of our team members will be happy to help. We offer various paint colors and can work with you to find the perfect solution for your home. We can't wait to help you get your home looking its best!