Painting brick is not difficult. I like the look of exposed interior brick. Many people do as well but sometimes the brick is unattractive. Aged brick has a lot of appeal but some of the glazed and newer bricks don’t look very nice. If you are in a situation where you want to paint some brick, I will give you the formula for a successful project. The transformation from unattractive to beautiful is not all that hard.
It’s all about the prep!!
Brick requires a different approach to getting it ready for paint. First let’s look at the nature of brick. Genuine clay brick is made from natural materials. Clay and shale are the primary ingredients. Sometimes people run into products that look like brick but are actually concrete.
One major problem to deal with when painting brick or concrete for that matter is what is called efflorescence. When you are painting brick the efflorescence will occur and be visible on the mortar joints. With concrete block/brick the efflorescence is often found on the mortar joints as well as the surface of the blocks. It appears as white powder or bubbles/blisters of white crystals. It is a salt deposit that moves through the substrate in the presence of water.
Efflorescence is a real pain to deal with AFTER the fact. It’s best to do it right to begin with. Any residue, debris and dirt needs to be cleaned first. Wash the surface with a diluted mixture of Simple Green and water or TSP and water. Rinse well and allow to dry. A fan is a big help! Don’t use solvents or chemical cleaning agents. They leave a residue behind and will cause paint failure.
Caulk any areas that need to be filled in and any cracks with acrylic caulk and allow to dry. The fastest approach will be to spray and back roll the brick but if you don’t have a paint sprayer you will do fine with just rolling the surface. Use a high quality ½ or ¾ roller cover. Use a high quality latex primer like Seal Grip or if water is a potential concern use a barrier product like Drylok. Tape the areas off as needed and use drops to protect your floors. At The Painting Company we always do two coats primer and 2 coats finish. For the finish coat you should go with a quality semi-gloss or gloss latex product or you can use an elastomeric which a coating with a high degree of elasticity that fills In the porous surface of brick very well.
A little bit of prep and using quality coatings will give you a beautiful look for many years.
We’re here to help with your painting projects. If you live in the Omaha metro area give us a call!