Facts About Painting Brick

Brick Painting in Chantilly, VA

Facts About Painting Brick

There’s an awful lot of brick in Northern Virginia – both inside and outside the many colonials dotting our landscape. We sometimes get calls from clients asking if we think they can paint their own brick. We advise clients to think carefully before they tackle a large brick painting project. It’s far more challenging than most people realize.
Brick is a hardy material that wasn’t designed to be painted but to serve as a durable building material. You can still paint brick, but beware that it is more challenging than you think!
According to the Brick Industry Association, if you paint exterior brick, you will need to repaint it every three to five years. This is because paint seals the natural pores of a brick blocking any moisture absorbed through the mortar from evaporating. Over time, that moisture causes the paint to be compromised and flake. Indoor painted brick, however, will hold up far better and longer given it’s not exposed to the elements.
Some things to keep in mind about painting exterior brick:
  • Only brick in good condition with no chipping or cracks should be painted.
  • The brick and mortar should be dry and mortar and in good condition before it’s painted. Also, check the mortar joints before painting.
  • Paint is tough to remove from brick, so if you don’t like the results, you’re likely stuck with it unless you repaint in a different color.
  • We recommend using a special alkaline-resistant primer before painting over brick and mortar.
  • There are masonry paint products available, but a breathable latex paint works best for the exterior.
  • In most cases, a professional should power wash exterior brick and let dry for at least 24 hours before it’s painted.
  • Any efflorescence (white residue commonly found on older brick) should be removed.
  • Most brand new brick should not be painted for at least a year
Typically, a more porous, high-quality paint is ideal for exterior paint because it allows the brick to breathe which is critical to allowing moisture to evaporate. Given the complexity of painting brick, most of these projects are best turned over to a professional painting contractor with experience painting this type of material.
Call our office today to set up an appointment for a free consultation and estimate. We have a lot of experience working with numerous surfaces and materials in homes across Northern Virginia.
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