How to Stain or Paint Brick


Painting or staining bricks gives new life and design to the popular building material. Many find the characteristic design of brick and mortar charming and pleasing; however, adding a bit of color can increase its attractiveness. Both interior and exterior bricks can benefit from painting or staining. Brick around fireplaces often becomes brighter and more modern-looking when painted. Brick outside often looks better and is protected from the elements when a few coats of stain or paint are added. Applying paint or stain to brick is a bit labor-intensive, but is worth the results.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild soap
  • Soft brush
  • Water
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Spackling paste
  • Caulk
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint pan
  • Paint roller
  • Paint brush
  • Paint
  • Stain

Painting Brick

  • Clean your brick to remove any dirt, grime, soot or the like. Apply mild soap to the brick and scrub it gently with a soft brush. Rinse with water. If you still detect the grime, use a strong cleaner, such as trisodium phosphate. Follow the directions on the product's label for dilution instructions, as it can vary per brand. Thoroughly rinse the product off the brick.

  • Inspect the brick and its mortar for any cracks or missing parts. Fill in any missing mortar with spackling paste or caulk---use spackling paste for small holes or cracks, caulk for small to medium cracks and textured caulk for large repairs. Squeeze the product into the crack or hole or apply a small amount with a putty knife. Use the knife to smooth the product until it is even with the surface. Allow the material to completely dry.

  • Pour primer into a paint pan. Dip a paint roller into the paint and then roll it back and forth on the textured portion of the pan to remove any excess primer. Place the roller on the brick and move it back and forth to apply the primer. Begin at the top of brick structure and work your way down. Use a paintbrush to apply primer to the mortar and other small areas the roller cannot reach. Apply a second coat as soon as the first coat is dry.

  • Apply acrylic paint to the brick in the same manner as you applied the primer. Look for outdoor acrylic paint if your brick is outside.

Staining Brick

  • Clean the brick with soap and water or trisodium phosphate. All dirt, grease, grime and similar material must be completely removed before applying the stain. Use a pressure washer, if needed, to remove the buildup.

  • Repair any damaged mortar or brick with spackling or caulk, depending on the size of the deformity. Repair the issues in the same manner as you would when painting brick.

  • Dip a paintbrush into the can of stain. Rub the brush on the edge of the can to remove any excess stain. Place the paintbrush at the top corner of the structure and move the brush back and forth to apply the stain. Apply the stain to the entire brick surface as evenly as possible. Apply a second coat of stain once the first is dried, if desired.

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