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How to Paint Brick – Painting Exposed Bricks

Exposed brick is one of the most popular ways to add modern style to an older house. Even though exposed brick happens to be on trend, this look has been popular during many different eras. One simply has to look at old photographs of New York City apartments or Baltimore rowhouses to see the exposed interior brick wall in action. If you have exposed brick in your home, or are planning to expose brick hidden away beneath another surface, here are some important considerations.

How to Prepare the Brick

If your old house has an exposed brick wall that is already clean and sealed, some earlier resident saved you a lot of time and effort. It takes a bit of effort to make exposed brick look its best. This is especially true if the brick is hidden beneath another material, like plaster. Removal of the covering surface may involved careful chiseling…not to mention a lot of dust. Whatever the state of your brick, it likely requires cleaning with a large wire brush and water. You might be surprised how much filth can accumulate on interior bricks over many years.

Once the brick is clean and any mortar joint problems repaired, it is important to seal the brick. Brick and mortar are not completely solid materials. Bits of brick and mortar chip and flake away over time, adding tiny bits of mess to your home. To prevent this, sealants are used over the entire surface of the exposed wall. These sealants can be glossy or matte in finish, with several levels of variation in between.

To Paint or Not to Paint

In some cases, old brick is so dirty, stained, or badly preserved that the only way to make it presentable is with paint. In other cases, you may want to paint your brick to match the other colors in your room. Painting brick has its advantages; two coats of paint eliminates the need for the sealing process described above.

Painting brick requires a little more muscle than painting a normal wall, but the process is much more forgiving. One of the best ways to approach a large exposed brick wall is with 1) one roller with a long nap, and 2) one large brush that you won’t mind throwing away at the end of the project. Of course, if this isn’t a solo project you may purchase additional pieces of equipment.

Alternately, a rented paint sprayer can get the job done in no time. Some feel that it is more suited to the task than brushes and rollers because of the way it gets paint into every nook and cranny with very little effort. For DIYers, the paint sprayer method can be challenging, as paint sprayers clog easily.

Of course, the easiest way to get your exposed brick wall finished and/or painted is to have All American Painting Plus do it for you. We can expose any brick in your house, no matter what covers it. We can clean it without getting your home dusty, and paint/seal it for an impressive finish. Whether you choose All American Painting Plus or decide to do the job yourself, we wish you the best of luck with your exposed brick walls!

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