Paint can transform brick and other masonry. Whether your home fireplace or office concrete walls needs a new look, choose the right products and perform the proper prep to ensure high-quality, long-lasting results.
Brick and Masonry Specialty Paints
The leading paint companies make products specifically for masonry, which means they adhere well to the surface and also provide certain protections against the elements, the latter necessary for use outdoors. Let’s take a look at a few paints:
Behr - This company’s Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint is an acrylic-latex that accentuates the unique surface while also hiding imperfections. It repels water and resists mildew and alkali. The water-based paint self-primes, saving you a step, and adheres well to both interior and exterior surfaces. It lasts up to 20 years and cleans up easily with soap and water. The paint comes in more than 30 colors and in flat, satin and low-sheen finishes.
Sherwin-Williams - Dozens of masonry-specific products are available from this company for both interior and exterior surfaces, with one sure to fit your need. There are clear, solid and textured finishes to choose from for brick, cement board, concrete and stucco. Acrylic/latex, alkyd/oil-based are among the options, with alkaline resistance and water repellant or proof among the features. There are even products that provide one-coat coverage.
Benjamin Moore - Super Spec 100-Percent Acrylic Masonry Sealer is a standout product by this company. It goes on before the finish coat to reduce porosity of the surface and to provide excellent surface adhesion. The product also can be tinted and used indoors or outside.
The first step in painting brick or other masonry involves cleaning the surface. If you find mold, mix a solution of 3 oz. TSP, 1 oz. laundry detergent , 1 quart 5 percent bleach and 3 quarts warm water; scrub with a medium-soft brush, then rinse with water. Efflorescence can be removed with a stiff brush and water. Moss will require an application of weed killer followed by scrubbing with a stiff brush and water.
Once the surface has been cleaned, go over again with a stiff brush to remove any loose material, including paint flaking. If you have multiple coats of paint, you may need to remove them in order to get the proper adherence.
How To Paint
Because of the unique characteristics of each type of masonry, professional application is your best bet if you do not have experience with this type of work. A professional painter can look at your surfaces and assess the best products and application methods for the work.
For example, a professional may recommend a cement-based paint for an exterior wall that requires more protection from wet elements. This type of paint makes the surface it coats less permeable to water, but they require the walls to be cured a month in advance and the product itself must be mixed prior to application for best results. Coats must be 24 hours apart, with water dampening after each for proper curing.
Latex paints for masonry are easier to apply, with the best type dependent upon whether it will be used inside or outside. The same rule applies to solvent-thinned paints, with oil-based products not recommended for exteriors.
No matter which product you use, plan to use more on brick or other masonry than you would on other types of surfaces. Because of the surface’s porous nature, expect to use up to 50 percent more paint. You can reduce that number by using a special primer or block filler, but there will be more cans purchased for this project than for one involving sheetrock.