Brick is Australia’s preferred building material – more than six times as many houses are built of brick than weatherboard, and there are eight times as many brick homes than fibre cement. Around 64 per cent of Australians live in a brick home.
While new brick homes are contemporary, older brick homes may have a dated look, this is where painting brick may be a good idea as with the right colour choices, it can completely modernise a home. However, you should think carefully before painting the interior or exterior brick.
Specific masonry paint products should be used for painting brick. Before painting, we recommend starting out with a professional building wash, then a primer, and finally an acrylic exterior paint.
Benefits to painting brick
Increase street appeal
Transform the look of a dated home into something modern with the right colour choice and boost street appeal, thus increasing property value.
Stop moisture problems
Brick exteriors, like other masonry surfaces, needs to be primed, and preferably sealed, before paint is applied. This provides you with your first benefit – sealing up your old brick exterior and preventing moisture issues. Many heritage brick exteriors experience issues with moisture. Priming and sealing will help control and potentially put an end to moisture issues. A porous paint should be used so the brick can breathe.
Painted brick, when prepared and painted correctly with a porous paint, provides years of durability. By using a high-quality primer and a quality porous paint such as Dulux, you will get years of durability in comparison to other surfaces.
Considerations in painting brick
Painting is permanent
Painted brick is permanent. After you paint your brick house, it’s hard to go back to its original brick exterior. Chemical treatments or sandblasting are the methods of paint removal from brick. These techniques are not only expensive and difficult, they can actually damage your brick.
Damage to brick
Beyond aesthetics, a shoddy paint job can damage your brick surfaces. Clay and shale make brick porous, when you put paint over those porous materials, the brick stops breathing. It begins to hold onto the dampness, and your bricks end up deteriorating and crumbling. This can cause structural damage to your home. The only way around this is to use high-quality, vapour-permeable masonry paint and to be meticulous about how paint is applied.
Check for moisture damage
“Efflorescence” is the white residue that often appears on older brick walls and other types of masonry. This residue is made up of deposits of water-soluble salt buildup, often from moisture inside the brick. Remove the efflorescence with water and a stiff brush before painting your brick, and wait to see if it returns. If it does, you may have moisture ingress problems and therefore should not paint over your brickwork.
Is my brick home paint-ready?
The quality of your brick should determine your choice. Brick that’s chipping, deteriorating, moulding or in overall poor condition is always a bad candidate for paint. Paint blocks the natural pores in the brick’s surface, which can cause existing problems to become exaggerated over time.
Alternatives to painting brick
If you’re itching for a change to your house’s exterior, but are not certain whether to go ahead with painting your brick home, first pressure wash your bricks for a clean, grime-free look, if you still want to go ahead with a new look, seek professional advice as to whether your bricks are paint worthy.