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How to Paint Brick the Right Way

If your exposed brick wall or fireplace doesn’t fit with your aesthetic, simply paint it. You can make the brick blend into the surroundings or stand out in a new way. Here’s a step-by-step guide for the right way to paint brick.


Materials & Tools

  • Wire scrub brush
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Trisodium phosphate (if necessary)
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • Masonry or latex paint
  • Latex primer
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape


How to Prep

It’s important to thoroughly clean the brick first. Use a wire brush and soapy water to scrub the brick and remove and dirt. If you have trouble getting the surface clean, you can apply a mixture of trisodium phosphate and water (Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves when using this). You’ll want to let the brick dry completely before painting. Check for and cracks or structural problems that need fixing before you begin and tape off any areas you don’t plan to paint.


How to Paint

Begin by applying a latex primer to the brick. If there are areas that have been effected by efflorescence or mildew, you may need multiple coats. Use your roller, brush or sprayer to apply a paint formulated for masonry or a latex paint. If you are painting the interior of a fireplace, make sure you are using heat-proof paint. Make sure to push the paint into tiny cracks and crevices. Apply a second coat if needed.


Tips & Tricks

  • If your brick is in good condition, consider staining it instead of painting. It will allow the texture of the brick to shine because the stain absorbs into the brick rather than coating it like paint does.


  • Never paint damaged or wet brick. The surface should always be clean, dry and in good condition otherwise the process could cause more damage.


  • Never use acidic cleaners on brick as they will affect the final paint job.


  • Be sure to repair and small cracks in the brick with acrylic caulk before painting. Large cracks or other damage may require a professional.


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