How to Paint Brick

Many people use bricks as part of their homes. Whether this becomes part of the indoors (for fireplaces, for example) or outdoors, blocks have been widely popular among homeowners.

There are many advantages in using this material as part of the construction. Bricks offer a natural variety of colors and textures.

These are also proven to be an active component of development. They are also porous, which means they can absorb moisture, effectively regulating temperatures and humidity inside structures.      

Same with all other things, using bricks also has disadvantages.

One of which is that the rough surfaces of blocks may grow molds if not cleaned properly, and cleaning it is admittedly not the most straightforward task.

Apart from these, this surface is also hard to paint because they are porous and easily absorbs everything, including paint.

Painting bricks with a sprayer gun 

In the following sections, we will discuss how to paint bricks using a paint sprayer or a spray gun. Just follow these steps to ease up your work.

1. Cleaning the bricks

The first step before doing any retouch or painting to your bricks is to clean them. Use a hose as opposed to merely pouring water because the tube has more pressure.

This releases strong water and cleans out the small spaces which are often filled with dirt, dust, and other small particles. 

Using a hose is also better especially if mud or layers of dirt are accumulated on the bricks.

If you have a pressure washer which may range to 1500 PSI, the better. However, be mindful of the pressure because too much of it may actually cause damage to your mortar. 

If there is mildew in on your bricks, create a solution to clean out the surface more effectively. You can mix bleach and water and apply this solution on the surface.

After using, just let the solution rest for around 20 minutes. When dried, scratch the bricks with a hard brush.

How to remove paint from the bricks?

As you know, bricks are porous, and it can be quite challenging to remove paint as it will stick to the surface for sure. 

If you wish to remove the paint on the bricks, sadly water and soap may not be enough to do the job. 

Because bricks absorb paint strongly, removing it can also require more aggressive cleaning products. However, be careful not to damage the quality of the surface in doing so.

workers cleaning and painting brick wall

Follow these easy steps to effectively remove the paint while preserving the quality of the bricks:

  • Create a solution composed of ½ cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) and a bucket of water
  • Stir the solution until the powder is dissolved. You may use a long stick to do this.
  • Now that the solution is ready to use a stiff brush to scrub the TSP solution onto the paint spots on the surface
  • After washing these areas, wait for around 10 -15 minutes for another round of scrubbing
  • This time use a scrub brush to remove the paint. Repeat this step as necessary, until you achieve that clean look on your bricks
  • If there are tiny spots left, you may then use a rug to clean up the remaining stains. Just moisten the rag with the paint remover and scrub the area.
  • Rinse with water to flush our residues.

Now the above steps already give an idea of how to effectively clean up the surface and prepare them for retouch or repainting.

2. Preparing the target surface

painter on a brick wall

Covering areas

The next step you should do after cleaning the surface is to prepare the surface which you plan to paint on.

If you are painting bricks indoors (an example is a fireplace), make sure to protect the areas or surfaces which you don’t intend to spray on.

You may use a newspaper to cover up windows, floors, doors, or furniture. If you wish to secure the cover more, you may use a painter tape to do so.

Repairing cracks

A tricky portion of painting the bricks is being able to reach the cracks. To prepare this area, first, widen the cracks of the surface by using a scraper.

After which, wipe off any dust from the blows. Seal the cracks taking hold of acrylic caulk afterward. Let the caulk stay in there for 5 to 6 hours.

After repairing cracks or gaps, the next step would be applying latex primer on the surface of the surface.

The better primer you use, the better result there will be. Note that the areas which are affected efflorescence need to be coated with extra coats of primer compared to other areas.

Begin this by spraying from the highest point of the wall, and then painting in downward strokes to the lowest point. 
unfinished brick wall
If there is a need to apply the second coat of primer, make sure first that the introduction is already dry.

The advantage of using spray paint for this one is that you will be able to reach the small areas and be able to make sure everything is covered.

3. Sanding the target surface area

As an alternative, you can also sand the target area before you paint it. To make the surface smoother, and the brick using a palm or a circular sander.

You may start by using a minimum of 80 grit paper and elevate to 100 grit afterward.

4. Choosing and preparing the correct paint

Before you even begin your painting work, make sure to prepare your materials, including the right paint. Elastodynamic paints are an excellent material to fill in the cracks of the surface. 

This is because this type of paint is denser and can quickly fill in the cracks.

Apart from it is dense and quickly fills in the cracks, this type of paint is also known to repel water from the bricks.

In other words, Elastodynamic paints further secure the blocks in case of severe and changing weather. Two coats should be enough to cover the cracks.

If you are painting exterior bricks, make use of acrylic latex paint. This paint is widely used to prevent mildew, and at the same time keeping the moisture away from the brick surface.

Usually, one coat is enough to cover the target surface but if you need to include more white spots, add the second coat.

5. Painting the brick surface

After preparing the surface and the materials, you are now ready to get on to the real deal – painting the bricks.

In painting brick surfaces, it is more advantageous on your end to use a paint sprayer instead of the traditional paintbrush or paint rollers.

Basically, paint sprayers cover more area in a smaller span of time. Although, it is way more expensive compared to the simple paint brushes which you can buy easily.

If you have a paint sprayer, take it out to start painting. Begin from covering left to right. Do not start in the middle and go on spraying in no particular directions. 
This will render your paint messy.

Apply the paint in the exact same way that you applied the primer.

6. Let the paint dry

Wait for a few minutes or hours for the paint to dry. Depending on the materials used and the environment where you worked on, it makes take longer than hours to dry. 

Make sure to check if the paint is already dry before making the second coat.

This is to prevent messing all the work up. If the paint is already dry, apply the second coat. Creating an additional coat also increases durability.

Tips to Remember in Painting Bricks

home with brick walls

If you are about to get on with your home project of painting your bricks, it is essential for you to be aware of the following reminders: 

  • Before beginning painting, make sure that the brick is clean. Remove all remove all dirt, moss, and grime.
  • In cleaning exterior surface walls, a pressure washer will provide cleaning much faster as compared to a brush or sponge.
  • Use enough pressure when using a pressure washer. Too strong pressure may damage your surface and may cause an accident while doing the cleaning.
  • After cleaning, inspect the wall. Also, check for the mortar between the bricks and look for any damage. Remember to repair first all cracks, chips, or missing pieces before you paint.
  • Before painting, conduct repairs for any missing and broken mortar. You can use a pre-mixed acrylic mortar patch which will allow you to prime and paint the moment the surface is dry. Otherwise, you can consider mixing a powder mortar for more effective cleaning. This process longer time to dry. It may even take several weeks to dry before you are able to start priming.
  • Remember to never prime or paint when the area is in direct sunlight or when the temperature is high. This will damage your work.

Staining a Brick

An excellent alternative to painting bricks is by staining it. In some other cases, it is preferable as compared to painting, mainly if the slab is still in good condition. Staining the bricks will restore it to its original state and luster.

Currently, there are already many shades and brands of self-contained staining kits that are widely available commercially.

If you are interested in staining your bricks, read along and follow these easy steps:

  • First would be to prepare the target area the same way you would have made it for spray painting.
  • Consider if there is a need to do some repairs. If there is, do this by following the steps and tips above. Let the repair dry thoroughly.
  • Open up the stain kit, and there you will find a brush. Apply a small amount of stain and test an area of the brick in an out of the way location to see what the color will be.
  • To adjust the color / to lighten or darken, add enough amount of water or pigment to the mixture.
  • Remember that in applying stain, do not use a roller.
  • Lastly, spread the stain by moving the brush in one only direction. Do not begin by dividing it from the middle and to any random directions. It is better for you to spread the stain as thinly as possible.
  • To make sure your working surface is safe and dry enough, wait for 24 hours and apply a second coat.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  • How often should you retouch or repaint your brick surfaces?
The need for repainting depends on the type of paint product you use. Usually, mineral-based paints are more durable and last twice as long as pure acrylics.

  • After cleaning and washing the brick, how long should I wait before I can finally paint it?
 As mentioned earlier, bricks are naturally porous. They absorb substances and liquids readily, including the water you washed it with.

Hence bricks do not dry quickly. You can wait up to 24 hours to make sure the surface is dry enough for the paint to stick on.

  • Is there a difference between interior and exterior paints? Can you use exterior paint on interior walls, for example?
 Yes, there are differences between an interior and exterior paint. The main difference between good-quality interior and exterior products is the resistance to UV released by the sun and the extreme weather conditions.

Usually, interior paints have low VOC and washability because your interiors and not very much exposed to the direct heat of the sun or changing weather conditions.

Exterior products can be used inside, that’s for sure. However, but interior products should not be used on exterior surfaces because of its weaker attributes.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, yes, painting your interior or exterior bricks can be a hard task because of the brick’s characteristics.

Bricks are porous and absorb a lot of liquid materials so easily. This is also the reason why removing any paint on the bricks can also be a challenging task.

Painting bricks with a spray gun could be made more comfortable if you know the steps and the tips on how to do it. In a nutshell, preparing is the key. Also be patient in painting bricks because it takes a lot of time to dry. Overall, be mindful of the type of surface you are working on and the materials needed to finish this job.  

Check out this video for more tips on painting a brick wall with a paint sprayer: