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Tips for painting brick surfaces

Painting brick can bring new life to the exterior of what has been a plain house. Consider these key tips about preparing and painting brick surfaces before you begin.

Proper cleaning

Cleaning bricks can be trickier than cleaning other types of house exteriors.

If your bricks are coated with efflorescence, a white, powdery deposit that appears as bricks age, don't be alarmed.

It can usually be removed with a dry, stiff brush. If it needs more attention, a weak muriatic acid solution (avaible at good hardware stores) should do the trick. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles as you would with any acid, and rinse the brick thoroughly after cleaning.

painting brick

Removing mildew

Spray the effected areas with a solution of water and bleach. Allow to set for 15 minutes, then scrub and rinse well.

Remember that bricks are highly porous. Allow them to dry to the touch, but to ensure the moisture has evaporated properly, wait another day or two before further preparation.

Repairing cracks

Inspect your bricks and repair any small cracks with an acrylic caulk.

Damage to brick joints may need to be repaired with mortar. Again, allow repairs to dry completely before continuing.

The right paint

Choosing a paint for bricks is a little more complex than just choosing the right colour.

Although exterior acrylic paint can work effectively on brick, especially in the short term, an elastomeric acrylic paint has a very high acrylic content, making it extremely durable and flexible.

It's is also great for filling small cracks and covering over rough surfaces. One tip to be aware of - elastomeric paint will soften the look of the surface of the bricks. If you want brick detail to show through, it's best to choose a traditional exterior acrylic.

As always, make sure you use a primer to begin!

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