We’ve just undertaken some remodelling work in the kitchen annexe and now have a couple of walls with exposed brick that we’d like to paint white. What is the best method of doing this? Tiffany, Denver
Painting exposed brick can lend a fresh, modern feel to a space, but it does require some preparation and the right materials to ensure durability and a clean finish. Given your interest in decorative and applied arts, you might appreciate the transformative impact that a coat of paint can have on exposed brickwork.
- Heavy-duty cleaner
- Wire brush
- Drop cloth
- Painter’s tape
- Primer suitable for masonry
- Masonry paint or latex paint
- Paint roller with a thick nap
- Paintbrushes (for edges and hard-to-reach areas)
- Clean the Surface: Begin by cleaning the brick with a wire brush to remove loose mortar, dust, and other debris. Follow up with a heavy-duty cleaner. Let the wall dry completely.
- Preparation: Place a drop cloth under the workspace to catch any spills. Use painter’s tape to protect areas that you don’t want to paint, such as trim and adjacent walls.
- Priming: The next step is to apply a primer that is designed for masonry. The primer seals the porous surface of the brick, making it easier to paint and improving the durability of the final coat. A single coat is generally sufficient, but heavily textured or particularly absorbent bricks might require a second coat.
- Painting: Use a thick-nap roller to apply masonry or latex paint. Roll on the paint in a “W” pattern for even distribution. A paintbrush will come in handy for the edges or for any nooks and crannies a roller can’t reach.
- Second Coat: Wait for the first coat to dry fully before assessing if a second coat is necessary. Given that you’re aiming for a white finish, a second coat might offer better opacity and evenness.
- Finishing Touches: Once the paint has dried completely, remove the painter’s tape and touch up any necessary areas with a small brush.
- Seal the Deal: Optionally, you may choose to apply a sealer to protect the paint and make cleaning easier in the future.
Given your expertise in design, you might already be aware that the kind of white you choose can also make a significant impact on the room. Warmer whites can create a cozy atmosphere, while cooler whites tend to look more modern and can brighten up a space. The type of paint finish you choose—matte, eggshell, satin, etc.—can also affect the room’s aesthetic.
Do keep in mind that painting brick is more or less a permanent change. It’s a porous material that will absorb the paint, making it difficult to return to the original exposed brick look. Therefore, it’s advisable to be certain about your decision before you proceed.