Should You or Shouldn’t You Paint Brick Surfaces?

PaintingBrick-Claffey'sPaintingDo you have an older home with a tired, worn out looking brick fireplace? Maybe you have brick on the exterior of your home and you are just plain tired of it and want to change it up and liven it up. What are you going to do? Maybe you’re tempted to throw a coat of paint on it…that shouldn’t be a big deal, or should it?

There are mixed opinions on painting brick, and before you make the decision one way or the other, you should consider…

The pros and cons of painting brick

Let’s start with the cons:

  • Brick was never intended to be painted, it was created with color built in, and is extremely porous, which means it is worse than new wood in its ability to soak up lots of paint unless it is prepped properly. You will probably buy twice the amount of paint than you would buy for painting a wall of similar size.
  • Once brick has been painted, it is next to impossible to remove the paint if you want to return it to it’s original look. Even with the use of chemicals it probably won’t come completely off.
  • Outdoor bricks are the trickiest to paint, because of their exposure to the elements or aging. They are often chipped, deteriorated or have mold growing in them…these are definitely not good candidates for painting.
  • Before trying to paint outdoor bricks, you will need to clean them really well with a wire brush to get rid of salts that come to the surface as a white powder. A pressure washer will do a good job also. After they have been cleaned, you must let them dry for several days; because they are so porous, water can get trapped inside, which will cause your paint to bubble and chip off sooner than later.
  • Damage to mortar must be repaired before you can paint.

Painting brick pros:

  • PaintedBrickFireplace-ClaffeysPaintingPainting brick is an easier and less expensive way to update or lighten up the look of an old brick wall or fireplace.
  • By painting a brick fireplace you can add a new dimension to your room with color, making it more of a focal point.
  • Painting interior brick is a much easier project than painting exterior brick.
  • If done correctly, interior painted bricks can be maintenance free for long periods of time.
  • Also, if done correctly, exterior painted brick walls can improve the curb appeal of your home.

Tips for painting brick surfaces:

  • As I stated previously, clean the brick and let dry thoroughly…this is the key to having a quality job as opposed to a job that needs repair right away.
  • Repair any cracks or damage to the mortar using an acrylic caulk.
  • There are paints especially developed for painting brick that do a nice job. Ask a paint professional at your local hardware or paint store to point you in the right direction. Acrylic paint might be the best choice for outdoor work because of its ability to resist mold and mildew and allows moisture to evaporate quickly. (Do not try using a lesser quality paint)
  • The best way to paint a large brick surface is by using a paint sprayer. Smaller areas can be painted with rollers (use a roller with a thick nap) and brushes.
  • Either a gloss or semi-gloss paint is recommended…it will let the detail of the brick stand out and is much easier to clean.
  • Staining your brick rather than painting it is another option. It allows the detail of the brick to stand out for a very interesting look. There is a large variety of stain colors to choose from, and the stain can be applied with either a brush or a cloth. Apply the stain in thin coats. If a deeper color is desired, after waiting about 24 hours you can apply another coat.

Claffey’s Painting is a full service painting contractor serving Western Washington, Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas Counties. We have painted over 7000 homes and would enjoy the opportunity to help paint yours. We can guide you through all the decision making processes so you get the right paint for the right job, and the professional job you’re looking for.

Contact us or give us a call for a free estimate – (425) 888-3634