Brick Painting 101

Victoria Bryant
October 29, 2021

Exterior finishes come in a variety of options, including siding, stucco, and metal paneling, and while each of these have their pros and cons, few can match the durability of brick. The ability to last for years, however, does not require that a brick exterior look the same as it did when first constructed. Brick exteriors are also able to be painted, offering numerous options to customize your building’s appearance while retaining the strength and integrity that surpasses most other exterior types.

As seen on social media outlets, painted brick exteriors have recently gained popularity, offering a fresh look on buildings that have been around for years or even decades. Despite this current trend, painted brick has a classic look due to having been around for a long time, offering a blend of traditional and modern that is sure to stand out and add to the character of any building.

As if to further enforce the appeal of having a painted brick exterior, the type of brick that lends itself best to being painted is often less expensive than those used when a natural brick finish is desired, due to variances in color of individual bricks being a non-issue for a painted brick finish. The structural integrity of either type of brick is the same, though, so rest assured that choosing a painted brick finish does not mean sacrificing the durability of your building’s exterior.

The biggest difference between natural brick and painted brick finishes is maintenance. With natural brick, little to no maintenance is required. Painted brick, however, requires occasional power washing and repainting, depending on climate, to keep dirt and debris from diminishing the paint’s appearance. Keep in mind, also, that once the decision is made to paint a brick exterior, reverting to a natural brick finish can be costly due to the difficulty of removing paint from the brick exterior.

To ensure a painted brick finish retains its attractiveness for as long as possible before having to repaint, using a brick primer on properly dried brick will help to prevent moisture from affecting the finish. This will help prevent the build-up of efflorescence. For existing efflorescence deposits, thoroughly scrubbing them off with a wire brush and soapy water before priming will be necessary. Multiple coats of primer may be necessary, as the porous nature of brick absorbs this material, and a quality primer layer is necessary for good adhesion and coverage of the subsequent layers of paint. Following priming, a paint formulated for masonry can then be applied via brushes, rollers, or paint sprayer. Again, multiple coats are often necessary for a long-lasting, quality finish.

Due to the required prep work and multiple applications of primer and paint, the pricing for a painted brick finish can expectedly be more than that of other exterior finishes, but if the proper steps are followed, you will have a finish that will last for years with simple maintenance, providing your building with an eye-catching appearance that will draw attention for a long time thanks to the durability and paintability of brick.

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