Painting Bricks

Painting bricks can often be an effective way to improve the appearance of an older home. But special steps should be taken.

The bricks should be cleaned to remove dirt, algae, and mildew. A masonry primer should be applied to seal the bricks. If they are extremely pitted or uneven, a block filler may be needed to fill the indentations.

Bricks present some unique problems compared to wood. The porosity of the bricks and the alkalinity of the mortar can adversely affect the appearance and adhesion of paint. For example, highly porous bricks which are not properly sealed will absorb paint unevenly, resulting in a spotty appearance.

On older homes with significant damage to the bricks and mortar, painting can greatly improve the appearance. Caulk can be used to fill cracks, and once painted, are much less noticeable.

An elastomeric coating can be used to provide a water proof barrier that will also bridge any hairline cracks that develop later.