Paint­ing brick walls not a project for be­gin­ners

The Labradorian - - Editorial - Bob We­in­stein Liv­ing Bet­ter by Bob We­in­stein fea­tures prac­ti­cal ad­vice for home­own­ers.

No ques­tion about it. Painted brick walls, whether ex­te­rior or in­te­rior, look great. It’s an up­scale, el­e­gant and very trendy look. That said, do­ing it right isn’t easy. It re­quires pa­tience and care. Screw up the job and you have a se­ri­ous mess on your hands.

In the para­graphs that fol­low, I’m go­ing to give you the low­down, the pros and cons on paint­ing in­te­rior and ex­te­rior brick sur­faces.

Ex­te­rior sur­faces

Pros: In­vest time in the prep work and seal­ing the sur­face care­fully, and the face will have a fresh look.

You’re also pro­tect­ing the ex­te­rior brick from the el­e­ments.

Cons: Don’t as­sume all bricks are the same. They’re not. There are many dif­fer­ent types. Each re­quires a spe­cial ap­proach for the prep and fin­ish phases.

Start by clean­ing off mould, dirt and mildew with a power washer and clean­ing so­lu­tion. That should do the job. If not, you may have to sand­blast to get a uni­formly clean sur­face.

Al­low the brick to thor­oughly dry for sev­eral days. Even if the sur­face feels dry, wa­ter is of­ten trapped inside the brick, which will cause bub­bling and peel­ing when painted.

Re­pair and fix cracks and make sure mor­tar is in good con­di­tion. Of­ten a brick con­di­tioner should be used, and then let it dry for sev­eral days.

In­te­rior sur­faces

Pros: Un­like paint­ing ex­te­rior sur­faces, the process is eas­ier, far less labour in­ten­sive and there is less risk of en­coun­ter­ing prob­lems. An ex­pe­ri­enced painter can take a dull, tra­di­tional brick wall and give it new life. It will not only be brighter, it will have a mod­ern new look. Even less ex­pe­ri­enced painters can give the in­te­rior brick a fresh new look. Con­trasted to work­ing with ex­te­rior brick, the process is much eas­ier, and there is less risk of dam­age. For ex­am­ple, dirt and soot can be re­moved with mild clean­ing so­lu­tions. And cracks in the mor­tar can be filled with paintable sil­i­cone caulk­ing or sim­i­lar la­tex fillers.

Cons: Once the sur­face is painted, you can’t re­turn it to its nat­u­ral look. Brick is por­ous and soaks up paint like a sponge. So, try­ing to re­move paint will turn into a wasted, frus­trat­ing ef­fort, be­cause paint rem­nants will re­main in the bricks’ cracks. Con­sider this im­por­tant fact be­fore un­der­tak­ing this project.

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