Painting A Brick House the Right Way
Detailed Steps to Painting Brick Homes
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 appeal.
Exterior house paint adds vibrance and brightness to your home, not to mention providing a cleaner, more manicured look. A fresh coat of paint can slash years off your home, increasing property value and boosting the overall appeal.
But if you are considering running to a local hardware store and grabbing the first paint can you see and then slapping it on… you may want to learn the process from a professional exterior painter instead.
Painted brick homes’ durability is not merely predicated on choosing the proper paint – it also means applying it correctly! Unpainted Brick, for all intents and purposes, is maintenance-free. Therefore, accurate brick painting is vital to prevent unnecessary and premature repaints, which is both costly and avoidable.
The Origin of Brick & How Brick House Painting Has Evolved
Painting brick is a timeless tradition, dating back to the 1870s. Back then, 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. Painted exterior brick from these early periods acted 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 significant and instant improvements that painting a brick home provides.
How To Paint A Brick House
We will dive into how to paint brick in as much detail as possible. We promise that after reading this article, you will have a complete understanding of not only what it takes but also understand its benefits. Let’s take a spin!
Step 1: Pressure Washing Brick Homes
Pressure washing is perhaps the MOST CRITICAL step in the entire process of painting a brick home. Dirty or moldy brick will cause an uneven topcoat; most importantly, the paint will lose adhesion and durability.
Not all homes can be cleaned with intense pressure. Washing older brick homes with high pressure or (blasting) could damage brick mortar.
The force of pressure washers varies and is 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.
The Purpose & How to Pressure Wash Brick
In short, pressure washing involves removing moss, mold, mildew, and other grime from the brick and remaining areas. 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 a mildewcide solution. Keep an even distance away from the wall taking it slow and steady. Cleaning challenging sections with a stiff-bristled brush by hand for best practice.
We also have a more in-depth guide where you will find more pressure washing 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: Pre-Brick Painting Surface Preparations
The next essential step is to prepare the Brick for painting by caulking any cracks in the Brick or mortar. For 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 newer brick.
Step 3: Applying Primer to a Brick House
The third step to painting brick is applying a dedicated brick primer. We recommend using a masonry primer such as Sherwin-Williams Loxon Primer. The best way to apply brick primer is with a roller or paint sprayer.
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: Painting Brick Using 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 840 and 1140 sprayers. In our experience, these sprayers are reliable and retain consistent pressure. These features enable applying paint evenly and efficiently.
Make sure you use the right size spray tip!
Spray Tip Specifics
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, an older, more porous brick will require more paint resulting in a larger tip needed for the job. In this case, large spray machines are a must!
Step 5: The Brick Paint & Back Rolling
Now it’s time to choose durable paint. Paint options vary widely depending on the Brick and desired results. Our recommended brick paint is Sherwin Williams Latitude 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 permeation.
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 thick paint that has already begun to dry.
We NEVER recommend painting brick with flat finishes. Flat 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
This step is a repeat of step 5. Spray on a second layer of paint, then back roll the Brick again, as outlined in Step 5 above.
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 painting is complete and the paint has dried, step outside, far away from the home, to enjoy the results of an extensive process and 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!