Brick walls are an excellent way to give your interiors an industrial look, but the decor isn’t for everyone.
If the brick interior in your home makes the space feel small or dark, consider a coat — or several — of paint. Choosing a light, neutral paint color will mask the brick’s inherently urban look and make your space feel fresher. Opt for a water-based acrylic paint in a semi-gloss or gloss finish to highlight the brick’s texture and retain a bit of edge with the new appearance.
Make sure the brick and mortar are structurally sound before going ahead with your project. If there is too much moisture inside the brick, speak to a professional for guidance. Because brick is porous, moisture levels are a prime concern: too much could cause the paint to chip or cause bigger issues.
Follow these steps to update your brick walls successfully.
Prep and clean
Move away or cover furniture with a tarpaulin or old sheets to protect your belongings during the painting process.
Then, using a stiff nylon brush, clean the brick and mortar of any loose dirt and dust, then vacuum residue. Once the larger particles are removed, scrub the bricks with a wire brush and a simple soap and water mixture.
For something stronger, clean with a trisodium phosphate mixture (a half-cup mixed with a gallon of water). For mildew, mix one part of bleach to three parts of water. Experts discourage acid cleaning solutions, which could cause paint to chip.
Let your wall or fireplace dry for at least 24 hours. If the brick feels cold, it needs more drying time.
Fill in the gaps
Use spackle to fill small gaps and cracks and caulk for larger gaps. This allows for a smoother finish when priming and painting.
Paint with patience
Once your surface is clean and dry, apply a latex primer with a nylon polyester brush about 2- to 3-inches wide to the perimeter of the wall. Use a nap roller about half an inch to 1.25 inches in diameter to apply the rest of the primer. The rougher the surface, the larger the roller must be to push the primer into the pores and grooves of the brick and mortar.
Work in small sections starting from the top of the wall. Use your paintbrush to smooth out drips as quickly as possible.
Allow your primer to fully dry per the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply another coat of primer if needed.
Then, paint the wall with your paint roller first and follow-up with a paintbrush around the edges of the wall and between mortar joints.
Let dry for at least 24 hours.
Admire your work
Once you’ve completed your project, your room will feel entirely different. Exposed brick has an edge to it. When painted, it can change the tone of your room — from sophisticated to dramatic — depending on your chosen paint color.