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Painting Interior Brick the Right Way

by | Jun 1, 2021 | Interior Design, Interior Painting

As you’re probably well aware, the PNW gets a lot of rain. During the rainiest seasons, many of us spend a lot of time in our homes.  In addition, many of us have had to work from home unexpectedly and for extended periods of time.  With all of this in mind, it’s a very popular time to upgrade your personal space to help make your time at home and inside more enjoyable!


An Intro to Painting Interior Brick

So you have bricks in your home that you think are outdated or they just don’t go with your personal style.  Brick fireplaces were very popular 50 years ago but tend to age the look of a home today.  Customers ask me all the time if bricks can be painted and the answer is yes!  If done correctly you can paint bricks and they can look great and be any color you choose.  

You can have fun painting an old outdated brick fireplace and making it a focal point of the room instead of an eyesore.  Many homeowners will use a fun color on the bricks or just go with traditional white or black paint.  Either way, it can make the fireplace look completely different for minimal cost.  


How to Paint Brick

Anytime you paint bricks that have never been painted before you need to start by cleaning them very well.  We like to use a cleaner called TSP mixed with water and a scrub brush to clean bricks.  Of course, you may not be able to get them perfectly clean but do the best you can to promote good adhesion on the bricks.  After cleaning the bricks you should wait a few hours to make sure they are completely dry before you proceed with priming or painting coats.  We never want to paint a wet surface as this can cause many problems.

If your bricks were painted previously you can paint over the existing paint as long as it is in good condition and not peeling but you still want to make sure the surface is clean, dull, and dry before recoating.  By dull we want to make sure that the previous coating is not very glossy as this can cause issues with the new paint adhering well.  We recommend lightly sanding or using a paint etching product to remove the sheen of the old paint before proceeding with additional coats.  

I prefer to use enamel paint in a fairly high sheen so it can be cleaned similar to your doors and millwork.  You can apply paint with a heavy nap roller cover and brush or you can apply with a sprayer.  The sprayer may make the finish a bit better and more consistent.

If the bricks have not been painted previously you will need to apply a masonry primer before painting.  The masonry primer is a fairly thick primer that will help fill small holes in bricks and grout and will help with adhesion when you apply the paint.  We do not recommend trying to paint bare bricks and grout without a primer coat.


How to Paint Brick


Key Considerations with Painting Brick

If you are painting fireplace bricks and the fireplace gets extremely hot you could have problems if the paint is too close to the heat.  In most cases, we don’t have a problem with this but if you have a wood stove or a wood fireplace and you like to get them very hot it can be an issue.

Painting your bricks white could be an issue if you burn wood in the fireplace as it can show more smoke damage if the fireplace does not vent well.  If you have a gas insert this will not be an issue. 


How to Paint Brick


Can You Paint Straight Onto Brick?

You can paint straight onto bricks but depending on the type of bricks you can have problems if it is not primed properly first.  A masonry primer for bricks is highly recommended to promote better adhesion and to give you a better base coat for the paint to grab onto.  

Painting directly onto bricks without a primer coat may cause the paint to soak into the bricks unevenly giving them a streaky appearance.  The primer should eliminate all the problems and give you a more consistent look that will adhere better.  It will seal in any stains in the bricks and grout so that your topcoat will remain looking great for many years.  


Can You Paint Straight Onto Brick?

Is It Better to Roll or Spray Paint Brick?

If you want to paint bricks it can be done with a roller/brush application or a spray application.  You might need to do a combination of spray and back brushing to help get into the cracks and mortar better.  

Of course, if you are painting bricks with a sprayer you will need to do a lot more prep work to not make a mess.  We recommend building a plastic tent around the bricks to avoid any overspray in the home.  If you do not have experience with a paint sprayer you are better off doing it with a brush and roller application or hiring a professional to do the job.  

If you do spray the bricks you will get a nicer finished look to the paint as it will go on more evenly.  If you are brushing and rolling the bricks it will take much longer and likely leave some brush marks.  If the bricks are very porous you may not notice these marks as much.  You will likely need to use a brush at least in the grout areas between bricks to get the paint to fully soak into the grout. 

Painting Interior Brick Summarized

So, the next time you find yourself heading to Google to type in “interior painting portland OR” you can save yourself the hunt and get a free estimate from Absolute Painting!

If you need any help or advice on painting bricks please reach out to us and we can help you to choose the right primer, paint, and materials you will need to do the job.  If you think it is above your skill level we are more than happy to help!  Click Here For Our Free House Painting EstimateClick Here For Our Free House Painting Estimate

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