Proper Prep for Painted Brick

painted brickMost experts aren’t fans of painted brick is because it’s a porous material that tends to hold moisture. Once you make a decision to go with painted brick, there is no going back. It is difficult to remove paint from brick.  However, proper prep work you can ensure that the paint that goes on, stays on.

Keep in mind that if brick and mortar joints are loose and in disrepair before the brick goes on, the paint won’t adhere. If your bricks are dirty, the paint won’t adhere. If your brick isn’t sealed, it won’t adhere.  A professional tuckpointer is your best source to evaluate the condition of your brick and prep work needed before you paint.

Step 1:  Determine if your brick has a sealer

A sealer keeps water from penetrating. Spray brick with water and observe if the water is beading on the surface.  If it doesn’t bead, you will need to purchase a primer to put on before the brick. You can also perform an adhesion test. Apply a small amount of paint to the brick and allow it to cure for three or four hours. If you can rub the paint off, after that time, you need to use a masonry primer.


Step 2: Get rid of the grime.

Power washing cleans dirt and grime off of brick. Allow unsealed brick to dry for at least four days.

Step 3: Remove loose or deteriorated mortar.

A professional tuckpointer will remove clean loose or deteriorated mortar from the joints and replace it with new mortar.

Step 4: Remove mildew.

A special solution is used to remove mildew that sometimes appears on north facing falls, near the ground or where rainwater accumulates.  Allow the brick surface too dry completely before applying  paint or primer.

Step 5: Apply a primer.

A masonry primer improves adhesion, resulting in less chipping, peeling and cracking of paint over time.

Proper preparation for painted brick  will pay for itself time and again with fewer maintenance issues down the road.

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About the Owner


John Gallagher

John Gallagher learned the craft of tuckpointing while in his late teens. His father, a first generation Irish immigrant and construction worker, encouraged his son’s entrepreneurial spirit. John earned a business degree from Loras College, and soon afterward he founded Shamrock Tuckpointing.

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