The best method to paint brick is almost as old as brick itself AND eco-friendly. We’ll tell you the right paint products and the right methods to turn your brick house into your beautiful color brick house.
Painting a brick house requires Cleaning, Caulking and an application of Silicate Primer, followed by a High-Quality Silicate Masonry Top Paint all eco-friendly of course.
But maybe you’ll do something different after reading this article like not painting your bricks at all! We’ll show you all the options.
What Tools Do I Need To Paint Brick?
|Two step ladders||Paint sprayer (optional)||Paint trim guard|
|Plank||Paint roller tray||Paint stirrer|
|Drop sheets||Roller||Angle paintbrush|
|Painters tape||Roller cover with 1” – 1 ½ “ nap||Small foam roller|
|Wire brush||Spatula||Water bucket|
|Nylon brush||Putty knife||Paint mixing bucket|
|Dry cloths||Cleaning rags||water|
How To Prepare Bricks For Painting
A new brick build should stand for at least twelve-months before painting to allow for complete drying.
Start on a warm hot day. Set up two (2) step ladders and a plank.
Clean the brick with a garden hose to remove dust, dirt and spider webs. Now clean deeper with a stiff-bristled brush and soapy water.
For stains try a tablespoon of Borax in a gallon of Luke warm water. Stir with a non-reactive paint stirrer.
For deeper stains try a TSP E *mixture (Trisodium Phosphate E – for environmentally friendly) comprising half a cup (120 ml) of TSP E to one gallon (3.8 liters) of water, scrub the mixture onto the walls with a brush. This mixture also works well on sooty brick fireplaces.
Make sure the walls are soaked with water first before using TSP E or any other chemical solutions including Vinegar (see below) to prevent chemicals penetrating the brick.
Water any plants around your house before using TSP E because wet plants will soak up less TSP E spill.
Be sure to hose off thoroughly to prevent adverse reaction with the paint.
*TSP is safe to humans and animals and was used extensively in dishwashing and laundry detergents. The phosphate component of TSP, however, is a fertilizer and causes algae blooms in waterways leading to TSP being banned in household detergents. TSP E, however, contains no phosphate and is completely safe for the environment.
Consider using a power washer at about 1500 psi if you have a large expanse of wall to clean however you will need to allow more drying time because pressure washing causes greater water penetration.
Mildew: Apply a mixture one part bleach / two parts water and allow it to sit for thirty-minutes. Clean with a wire brush then hose off with water.
Efflorescence:* and Calcium Deposits: Soapy water and a brush should remove efflorescence and calcium deposits or use a mixture of 50/50 white vinegar and water on stubborn spot stains.
Clean brick walls in warm and dry weather because wet weather will delay drying and may cause more salts to come to the brick surface.
Brick must be completely dry for the paint to adhere. Allow at least twenty-four hours in sunny weather.
*Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts that can form when water is present in or on brick, concrete, stone, stucco or other building surfaces. It has a white or greyish tint and consists of salt deposits left behind when water evaporates.
Cover outdoor plants, walkways, fire hearths and anything else you want to keep paint free with drip cloths and tape. Trim back plants and trees abutting the walls. Cover the windows and doors with folded newspaper and painters’ adhesive tape. Consider using a 3M handheld masker. Cover the whole area. Protect gas meters and all other exposed fixtures in the same way.
Repair wall cracks using non-toxic caulk and a caulking gun such as AFM Safecoat. Scrape the crack to remove loose material then clean with a brush. Cut the caulking tube at 45 degrees making the hole small; no more than ¼ inch (0.64 cm).
Apply the caulk using a slow but not too slow constant action. Press the caulk in and level off with a putty knife. Allow five-hours to dry.
Severe Damage to the Mortar: Repointing is required.
How To Eco Prime Coat Brick Walls
We recommend silicate mineral primer and paints for brick that’s not been previously painted.And here’s why:
- Hands down the best option to preserve your bricks
- Primer – used alone seals and petrifies the surface leaving a transparent natural appearance. Allow 10 square meters (108 square feet) coverage per liter.
- Bonds chemically with the brick
- Easy to use
- Non-Toxic: Contains no harmful chemicals
- Zero VOC and fully biodegradable.
- Prevents fungus, algae and mold.
- Fast curing
Always try to use primer made by the same company that makes the final coat you’re going to use because they will have been made to work together. Always check with the manufacturer.
How To House Paint Using A Brush
- Paint from a paint bucket that you can hold in your hand, not from the paint can.
- Don’t dip the bristles too deep into the paint; about halfway.
- Don’t wipe the brush on the side of the can or bucket. Tap one side of the loaded brush on the side of the bucket: this will give you the right paint load without dripping.
- Paint using the tip of the brush applying enough pressure to arch the brush but not so much that you’re painting with the side of the brush: This will deliver the paint stored between the bristles to the tip of the brush.
Mask off doors, trim. windows
Some products require you to mix the final topcoat with the primer for the first primer coat.
Stir thoroughly with a 1” paint stick until even. Apply during the cooler but dry part of the day.
Apply primer with a brush, roller or paint sprayer: A roller is easiest to use unless you’re experienced using a sprayer. Use a woven nylon polyester roller with a ¾” to 1 ¼” nap*.
*nap: The thickness of the cover of a paint roller.
Cut in at the bottom and the edges of the wall with a brush then follow up with the roller.
Cover the roller generously and work the paint in well. Follow with a nylon brush to catch drips and even out the paint on the mortar.
Always move ¾ the width of the roller so that each stroke overlaps.
Apply a second primer coat if the brickwork has been effected by mildew or efflorescence. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly before applying the second coat. This requirement varies from product to product.
How To Eco Paint Brick: Top Coat
Use a silicate masonry brick paint. Allow 5 square meters (54 square feet) coverage per liter.
Brick needs to breathe and allow moisture to escape. Heat and cold in variable climates may cause water trapped in the bricks by non-porous paint to expand and contract causing the bricks to erode and break down over time.
Typical acrylic/latex paints have a permeability (perm) rating of 1 – 7. Advanced acrylic latex paints have a perm rating of up to 15 – 20. Mineral paints typically have a perm rating of 75 or higher.
Silicate paints are derived from abundant natural minerals that do not pollute. They are completely non-toxic because they have no chemical additives and give off zero VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
- Remains color constant for decades because they’re made from mineral pigments that do not react to ultraviolet light.
- Does not laminate, blister or peel
- Binds chemically with the substrate of the brick and usually never requires repainting.
- Lightfast, UV resistant and unaffected by frost.
- Deters the growth of algae, mold, mildew and fungus
- High level of emissivity meaning high effectiveness in emitting energy as heat
- Non-static which means dirt doesn’t adhere to silicate mineral paints.
- Allows water to move in and out of brick naturally preventing condensation on the surface of the brick and water entrapment within the brick
- Has an opaque painted finish
- It is a no-brainer!
Apply the same way as the primer coat. Some mineral paints are mixed with same brand primers for the first coat. Check with the manufacturers as to how they want you to roll. (Pun intended)
Some brick houses actually require painting to protect them. This might be the case if:
- The house was built before 1870.
- The bricks were handmade.
- The bricks have traces of paint that looks faded or whitewashed.
- The home lacks ornamental brick decoration.
The paint used for such houses must be all-natural, such as milk paint or lime-based whitewash. Modern paints will only damage the brick, potentially causing structural damage.
Because these bricks are more delicate, homes using them are less likely to have ornate brick architectural features such as dog-toothing. If you see features like those, then you have the more durable handmade bricks, which should never be painted. (Thanks to houselogic.com)
How To Spray Paint A Brick House
The best paint spray gun is probably the Graco Magnum 262800 X5 according to the review sites and is expensive at around $350.
- Fully adjustable paint flow
- Paint can be applied without being thinned
- Paint can be sprayed directly from a bucket
- Can be used constantly, up to 125 gallons a year: an opportunity to become popular with your DIY friends.
- Fast and easy clean up connecting to a garden hose
- Switch tip – reverse the tip to clear clogging.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
There are cheaper options of course and you can hire a paint spray gun.
Choose a vertical spray pattern to create a thin tall oval application. Start in a corner and hold the nozzle 6” to 12” (15 cm to 30 cm) away from the brick.
Move from side to side flexing your wrist in and out when moving away from your body then back across your body: In other words, adjust your wrist back and forth to keep the nozzle pointing straight at the wall and at the same distance away from the wall.
Overlap by half with each pass.
Maintain a consistent pace and try not to change the angle attack: always straight on.
Use a paintbrush to reach those areas that are inaccessible with a sprayer. Use a 36” spray shield when approaching windows, doors or trim.
Hold the gun sideways and paint vertically to paint corners.
Move the gun faster if the coating is too thick, select a smaller tip or step back further.
Maybe you shouldn’t paint brick at all…
How To Stain Brick
Brick Stain may have advantages over brick paint if the brick hasn’t already been painted, is sound and you’re just wanting a color change.
Prepare the brick as you would for painting.
Test a small unseen area before proceeding. You can darken or lighten the stain by adding tint or water. Follow the directions on the container and be careful to maintain a consistent color.
Spread thinly then apply a second coat twenty-four hours later.
Wear goggles, breathing mask and gloves.
- Brick stain comes in a variety of color tints
- Permanent finish requiring no special maintenance
- Bonds chemically with the brick and is UV (ultraviolet light) stable
- Unaffected by frost
- Does not trap moisture allowing the brick to breathe
- The stain is translucent allowing the character of the brick to come through
- Deters the growth of fungi, mold and algae.
- All-natural mineral product containing no toxic chemicals.
- Zero VOCs
- Each brick has to be individually painted with a brush the same width as the brick. Alternatively, you can apply stain with a clean rag. This will take time.
- You don’t get to change the color again so be sure to choose well.
- You may be destroying a piece of history.
- You cannot return to an unpainted state.
- Using the wrong paint you can seal in water that freezes and thaws with the seasons causing the bricks to degrade.
- Can I paint over a bad job? Yes, but preparation will be intense including sandpapering and you will probably have to opt for a darker color and a latex paint.
- Should I use two (2) step ladders and a plank? Yes!
- What about painting brick inside the house? It’s much the same. Just be sure to check the fire rating of the paint when painting a fireplace. Remember Silicate paint is non-combustible.