Painted brick on the exterior of houses could be a better alternative versus brick restoration. If your brick has stained, weathered, or worse, painting the exterior could rejuvenate the look of your house.
There are a lot of conditions needed to paint a brick house well, but it can be done (and we’ve done it). Look out for the following before you get professional painters to take care of your house.
Brick is Very Hard to Paint
Because of its textured surface, painting bricks yourself is not recommended. Once you paint the bricks the first time, you have to maintain the color by repainting every 3-5 years. And, if you want to change the color of the paint, you will need to sandblast or chemically treat the paint (which could cause serious damage).
Assess the Condition of the Brick
If your brick is scratched, chipped, crumbling, or worse, don’t even try to paint it. To maintain the paint and the brick itself, you have to maintain the permeable structure. If the paint is not done correctly with masonry paint, water gets trapped in the brick, causing your bricks to crumble within 5-10 years.
Brick Painting v. Brick Staining
Staining your brick reinvigorates the look of your house without the maintenance. That’s because the color of the stain permanently bonds with the brick, forever altering its look. However, painting brick allows for more flexibility, as you can remove the paint and repaint when necessary.
Staining your brick reinvigorates the look of your house without the maintenance.
How to Prep the Brick for Painting
To guarantee the safety of the brick for painting, you will need to:
- Remove any residue build-up on the brick with a pressure washer of between 1500 to 2000 psi (anything more could damage the brick).
- Remove mold and mildew with a combination solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water
- Monitor residue post-clean for 72 hours. If the residue returns, your brick could be suffering from efflorescence, which is a build up of salt due to excess moisture in the brick1.
- Seal up any cracks, mortar joints, and old screw and bolt holes with acrylic mortar.
- Apply water repellant to the bricks.
- Use an alkaline-resistant primer. The Brick Industry Association notes that mortar has a basic alkalinity which could ruin the durability of the paint without the right primer.
- Caulk all areas that could let water into your house or brick, including small hairline cracks.
Note: Allow no less than 24 hours to elapse between each step of prep unless otherwise noted. This allows the brick and mortar to settle and get ready for more changes.
1. If your brick is suffering from efflorescence, contact a masonry or concrete expert ASAP. You could have serious structural problems that will cause your brick to crumble.