Painting Brick Houses Procedures & Application
Having your house painted is not merely an aesthetic choice! Painting brick houses can be transformative, turning a 1980s bungalow into a 2020s home, completely reinventing the appearance and style of the space you live.
No matter the hue, a fresh coat of exterior house paint adds vibrance and brightness to your home, not to mention providing a cleaner, more manicured look. A simple, fresh coat of paint can slash years off your home, dramatically increasing property value and boosting the overall appeal.
However, if you are considering running to a local hardware store and grabbing the first paint can, you see and then slap it on… Well, after seeing the process, you may want to hire an exterior painter instead.
PAINTED BRICK DURABILITY & LONGEVITY
Painted house brick durability is not merely predicated on choosing the right type of paint – it also means applying it correctly! Since unpainted Brick is completely maintenance-free for all intents and purposes, accurate brick painting is vital to prevent the unnecessary need of prematurely repainting, which is both costly and avoidable.
The Inspiration of Brick House Painting
Painting brick is a timeless tradition, dating back hundreds of years. Before the 1870s, almost all brick homes in the US required painting. Originally, bricks were formed by hand, with clay, sand, and water pressed into molds. The molded mixture was then dried and fired, forming the Brick, which was much more porous and weaker than the Brick we have today. Brick almost always required exterior paint from these early periods acting as a protective coating against snow, ice, wind, and rain.
Eventually, advances in brick crafting made brick painting less of a necessity today. Still, the timeless appeal of painted Brick has remained through the decades -largely due to the dramatic, instant change that painting a brick home provides. A couple of well-applied coats of paint can drastically improve the aesthetics, value, and style of a home overnight.
For how many other home modifications could you say the same?
Brick House Painting Steps & Procedures
Step 1: Pressure Washing
Pressure washing is perhaps the MOST CRITICAL step in the entire process of painting a brick home. Not having a clean, clear base could cause the top-coat to be uneven, and most of all, you lose durability and adhesion.
That said, it’s not a good idea to pressure wash all homes. For older brick homes, high-powered pressure washing or (blasting) can damage the brick mortar.
The force of pressure washers varies and are rated in psi (pounds per square inch). Typically, when pressure washing unpainted Brick, it’s recommended to use a minimum machine rating of 2,500 to 3,000 psi.
Pressure Washing Details
In short, pressure washing consists of removing moss, mold growth, and other grime on the exterior of your brick home. It’s not just a process using water, either. Soap and sodium hydrochloride (bleach) must be used to kill all mildew and mold before painting can begin. For newer brick homes, trisodium phosphate and muriatic acid are used.
Before pressure washing, spray the Brick down with mildewcide solution. Be sure to keep an even distance away from the wall and take it slow and steady. Hitting challenging sections with a stiff-bristled brush by hand is always a good idea.
We have a more in-depth guide where you will find more specifics, but whenever pressure washing, there are a few things to remember:
- Wear eye protection
- Avoid using a ladder, if possible
- Cover or close any outdoor plugs, outlets, or electrical devices
- Protect shrubbery with drop cloths or plastic sheathing
Step 2: Brick & Surface Preparations
The next essential step is to prepare the Brick for painting by caulking any cracks in the Brick or cracks within the brick mortar. With larger cracks, contractors should skim coat with additional mortar.
An important note – if the Brick on your house is new, you must allow proper acclimation and cure-time before painting it.
Wait at least a year before painting the new Brick.
Step 3: Priming the Brick
The next step to painting brick is applying a primer. We recommend using a masonry primer such as Sherwin-Williams Loxon Primer. Depending on the surface, a brush, roller, or paint sprayer is used to apply the primer.
Painters should apply 1-2 coats to ALL raw brick surfaces. Place additional coats on areas subject to efflorescence or mildew. Brick surfaces must be dry before reapplication.
On that note, make sure to turn off your sprinklers!
Step 4: Brick Painting With an Airless Sprayer
Now it’s time to paint the Brick! For this, we recommend using an airless sprayer. Our personal favorites are the Titan 540 and 1040 sprayers. In our experience, these sprayers are reliable and retain consistent pressure. These features enable applying paint in adequate amounts at an efficient rate.
Make sure you use the right size spray tip!
Spray Tip Details
All spray tips feature a three-digit number. When multiplied by 2, the first number represents the fan width the tip will create when sprayed 12 inches away from a surface. The second two numbers are the orifice size of the tip, measure in thousandths of an inch. Essentially, this represents how much fluid is going to leave the spray tip.
Confusing? Here’s an example.
A 3/17 tip and a 5/17 tip have the same orifice size (17-thousandths of an inch). The difference is the 3/17 will spray a 6-inch-wide fan (3×2), and the 5/17, on the other hand, will spread a 10-inch fan (5×2).
For all brick painting jobs, a 5/17 spray tip is the recommended minimum. That said, older or more porous Brick will require larger tips, which can reduce the spray’s intensity on smaller machines.
Step 5: The Brick Paint & Back Rolling
Now it’s time to choose a durable paint. Paint options vary widely depending on the Brick and desired results. Our recommended brick paint is Sherwin-Williams Resilience in a Satin Finish. There are several reasons that we choose this product; the most important is Resilience allows the brick to breathe—also referred to as permeability.
Back rolling all painted brick surfaces using a 3/4 roller nap or thicker is an essential step to professional results. This process helps to seal the Brick and spreads the paint evenly, increasing topcoat uniformity and appeal. If the paint is not applied evenly initially, some areas won’t have enough paint to back-roll.
The most crucial step that inexperienced painters miss is to start back rolling IMMEDIATELY after spraying. The paint must be completely wet, so the roller isn’t removing paint that has already begun to tack up and dry.
Please Note: We NEVER recommends painting brick with flat finishes. Flat finish paints are more subject to mold growth and failure over time. For painting horizontal surfaces (i.e., steps), we highly recommend using a dedicated concrete paint or stain that is either a solvent, oil, or acrylic enamel.
Step 6: The Second Coat of Paint & Repeat Step 5
Step 6 is simple! Just repeat the last two steps. Spray on a second layer of paint, then back roll the Brick again, as discussed in Step 5.
Step 7: Painting Additional Trim Doors & Windows
Now we are approaching the home stretch, carefully painting around any remaining trim, doors, and windows. Trim painting is the icing on the cake, so a painter with a steady hand and keen eye is essential.
After the painters have completed the trim work and the paint has dried, step outside and sit back to enjoy the results of hard work.
Congratulations, you have successfully and professionally had your Brick home painted!
If you would like to make this dream a reality, contact us for your professional exterior brick home painting today!