How to Lighten the Color of Outdoor Red Brick

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Lighten outdoor brick with paint.
Lighten outdoor brick with paint. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Brick is a reliable option for exterior construction since it keeps a home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Brick also has the ability to withstand harsh weather and remain intact for an extended period. Red is one of the most common brick colors found throughout the country. It does not, however, appeal to every homeowner. When it comes to lightening exterior red brick, there are a couple of different approaches you can take.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Rag
  • Oil-based primer
  • Exterior paint
  • Nappy roller
  • Pressure washer
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Measuring cup, 1/2 cup
  • Rubber gloves
  • Portland cement
  • Water
  • 36-inch wood stir stick

Paint the Brick with Lighter-colored Paint

Remove all chips and loose fragments from the brick using a wire brush. Brush over the brick vigorously to remove any fragments of paint or brick.

Wipe down the brick with a wet rag. Remove any dirt or webbing from the brick surface. Allow the brick to dry completely before continuing.

Cover the brick with a heavy-duty exterior primer. Apply primer with a nappy texture roller. Nappy rollers are designed specifically for thorough application on uneven surfaces. Allow primer to dry for two hours before applying a second coat.

Paint the brick a lighter color using an exterior paint specifically made for cement and brick surfaces. Specialized brick surface paints are created to allow absorbency of the liquid to occur while providing even and consistent coverage. Use a nappy roller to apply the paint. Allow paint to dry for two hours, then apply a second coat.

Coating with Cement

Clean the brick with the pressure washer. Remove any dirt, webbing or moss build-up. This will better enable the coating to adhere to the surface properly.

Pour 2 gallons of lukewarm water into the 5-gallon bucket. Add 1/2 cup of Portland cement to the water and stir vigorously with a long, wood stir stick. Stir mixture for two to five minutes.

Put on rubber gloves and soak the sponge in the mixture completely. Squeeze the sponge to remove excess liquid. Dab liquid mixture onto the face of the brick. Dab vigorously to allow liquid to soak into the brick and coat the exterior with a thin layer of cement.

Add a second 1/2 cup of Portland cement to the liquid mixture and stir the mixture for five minutes. Dab on a second layer of mixture to create a lighter finish on the red brick. Allow surface to dry for up to 24 hours before applying any paint or sealant to the surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the weather before beginning this job to ensure the entire day will be without rain, snow, or any harsh weather conditions.
  • Portland cement mixture application requires a minimum of two days without rain, snow, or harsh weather. The mixture can be washed off the brick if it is wet within 24 hours of application.

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References

  • "Masonry and Concrete Construction"; Ken Nolan; 1988
  • "Brickwork"; Ronald Brunskill and Alec Clifton-Taylor; 1977
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