One of the harder materials to apply paint to, and make it look good when you are finished, is brick. It is tough to provide an even coating and to ensure that paint actually sticks the brick for any length of time. It’s going to take a lot of work and the right kind of paint and painting process to make painted brick look great.
First of all, you need to prepare the surface. You have to do this with any exterior surface, and some interior ones as well. However, with brick, the preparation work is far more intensive than with many other kinds of materials.
You’ll need to at least power wash the brick, getting off mould, grime, dirt and other accumulations that can prevent paint from sticking. If you have ever tried to paint over a dirty surface, you know how it can just make the paint fall off and leave behind patches of unpainted surface. If power washing doesn’t get rid of everything that is stuck to the brick, you may need to scrub at it with steel wool or scrub brushes.
Once you have washed the brick, you can’t just start painting on it. Even drying it down manually or setting up some fans around to get rid of the moisture won’t be enough. It needs to be allowed to dry for at least a few days. That’s because water can soak into it and hide inside the crevices of the brick. If that water is not allowed to completely dry out before you paint, then it can damage the paint.
Brick that is not allowed to fully dry can cause what is known as effervescence in the paint, which makes the paint fall off or bubble. So, if you are painting exterior brick and the weather is poor, it can affect when you can start painting the brick. If the weather is particularly wet, you may need to cover the brick for a few days before you start painting.
Once you do paint brick, you won’t be able to get back the natural look of the brick afterwards. Your bricks will absorb the paint the way a sponge soaks up water, and it is nearly impossible to remove paint fully from the bricks after that.
After the bricks have been painted, you will need to clean them on a regular basis. Painted brick needs to be cleaned more often than other painted materials, and brick painted in light colours tend to show dirt and marks more easily than other painted surfaces. It’s lot of work to keep the painted brick looking good, and you need to be aware of that when you are making your decisions to paint or not paint the brickwork on your home. Painting inside and outside have their own challenges, advantages and disadvantages as well, and it may benefit you to consult a painting expert before you start painting your bricks.