How to Paint Exposed Brick

Painting brick can be a tricky proposition, and in some cases, it’s required. Exposed brick usually works just fine for your home’s exterior or even interior to provide some style and décor while also keeping drafts out and conditioned air in. But if you want to update your look or cover glaring imperfections in your brick, you can streamline the process to avoid the common pitfalls of trying to paint brick.

Brick is very porous and it absorbs paint much more readily than your standard shingle. Because your paint will want to sink into the brick’s many pores, it can be exceedingly difficult to achieve an even, full coat. Here are the steps you’ll need to take successfully paint over brick: 


First, get the right paint. The top choice for professional brick-painting projects is elastodynamic paint. It’s more expensive than standard exterior acrylic paint, but it’s more resistant to heat, cold, wet, and sunlight. Elastodynamic paint is dense enough to fill in pores and cracks in the brick. You’ll need two coats of this paint to do the trick. 

Many painters simply use acrylic paint on brick surfaces when they can. If the surface is relatively smooth and a denser paint isn’t required, this is your best option. You’ll only need one coat if you get even coverage.

The most common way professionals paint brick is with a sprayer, but if you have only one wall to cover or another small area, you can use a roller. 


Before you start painting, thoroughly clean the brick with a hose. Water will rid the bricks’ surface of most debris, but if you find tough stains, use a soap-water solution and a stiff-bristled brush. 

Cover your windows with tape and newspaper, fill in any cracks with caulk, and prime the brick surface using latex primer and a roller. 

Painting the Brick

If you’re using a sprayer, set it to a vertical spray pattern, and work it side-to-side, starting from a corner. Hold the sprayer between six and 12 inches away from the surface, and overlap each new strip of paint about half-way. Try to keep your speed and pattern as consistent as possible and touch up any areas you can’t reach with a brush. Brush out drips as soon as you see them. Turn your sprayer sideways to get corners and other hard-to-reach places if needed.

If you’re using a roller, start your first roll about a foot from the bottom of the wall, and roll at a slight angle (as opposed to straight up and down), applying light pressure, until you reach two or three inches away from the top. Roll back down to the corner you started. 

After your first coat is up, you’ll need to wait the recommended time to dry. Dry time depends on the paint, so consult your paint can for this information. After the first coat has dried, put a second coat on if you’re using elastodynamic paint. 

For more tips on painting brick, contact Ireland’s Finest Painters.

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