Painting Over Brick for Beginners: Step by Step

America is a nation of DIYer’s; and during COVID, we’ve taken the opportunity to strap on our tool belts and pick up our paintbrushes.

But painting over brick can be a scary and non-reversible change.

If you have brickwork inside or out that needs some TLC and a splash of color, we show you how.

Painting Over Brick

Unfortunately, painting over your brick isn’t as quick as just slapping the paint on. While it’s a nice and simple task, it does take time to do it well. Grab all the tools below and follow these steps to prepare and care for your painted brick.

You will need:

  • Bucket
  • Paint scuttle or tray
  • Soap and water
  • Power washer (optional)
  • Wire scrubbing brush
  • Dusting brush
  • Trisodium phosphate (optional)
  • Paintbrush and/or roller
  • Masonry paint
  • Primer
  • Sheets
  • Low tac tape
  1. Preparing the Wall

First things first, you need to prep your brickwork to be painted. Brick is like any other surface, it needs to be clean and free of dirt and dust for the paint to adhere.

If you’re painting over brick which has only recently been laid, you may want to wait a few months as it will be extra dusty!

You can use a power washer or soap and water to clean the brickwork. Be careful using a pressure washer as it may loosen the mortar of your brickwork and be sure to use a scrubbing brush that gets into all the nooks of the bricks.

If you need something stronger than soap, try trisodium phosphate, and follow the instructions carefully. You may need to wear gloves.

Once clean, wash off any residue chemicals and allow the brickwork to fully dry. Use your dusting brush to remove any leftover bits.

  1. Priming the Surface

Lay down any sheets you need to protect flooring and furniture. Then carefully apply the low tac tape to areas adjoining the wall to be painted which you don’t want to paint.

If painting over a brick fireplace, you may need to protect the chimney too.

Top Tip: Secure the tape at one end, then keep it taut but away from the surface until you reach the opposite end. Ensure it’s straight before pressing down.

Make sure you are using the right type of brush or roller for the brick you have. Breezeblocks need a longer pile or bristle to get into all the gaps of the brick. You may need to use different trokes and movement to fill in the gaps.

It can also be cheaper to apply multiple undercoats and primers to cover the brick evenly rather than multiple topcoats. If painting over a red brick fireplace the color may need many coats to cover up.

  1. Painting Over Brick

Allow the primer to fully dry before applying the masonry paint. You may wish to use your dusting brush again before applying paint.

Use the same techniques as you did when applying the primer to ensure you cover all the areas and gaps in the brick. Leave enough drying time between coats and when you’re finished, remove the tape before the paint dries. If you wait, it could flake the paint at the edges.

Of course, if all this sounds like too much, you can get a professional in, check out this painting company.

Get Painting!

Now you know how to tackle the job, what’s stopping you from painting over brick? For more great ideas and tips on home improvements, check out some of our other articles!