Can you just paint over the brick? What kind of paint do you use on brick? How to paint exterior brick?

Paint brick wall white with brush.

Painting brick yourself can be a challenging task, but if you’re up for the DIY challenge, here are some steps to ensure your project turns out well and lasts for years to come.

If you’re tired of the look of exposed brickwork on your exterior, painting over it can give your home a fresh new appearance. Beyond just aesthetics, a fresh coat of paint can also increase your home’s value, especially if you’re planning to sell it.

Feeling unsure about how to begin painting brick? Don’t worry, this article will guide you through the different types of paint you’ll need and the steps to follow for a successful project.

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Can you just paint over the brick?

Short answer, yes, you can paint over brick! It’s a common way to update the look of your home’s interior or exterior without completely changing the structure. Painting brick can give it a fresh appearance and allow you to match it with your desired colour scheme.

However, there are some things you should know before picking up that paintbrush.


  1. Clean the Surface: Before painting, make sure the brick surface is clean and free of any dirt, dust, or loose debris. You can use a wire brush, warm soapy water, and a scrub brush to clean it thoroughly.
  2. Repair Any Damage: Inspect the brick for any cracks or holes. Repair these using mortar or a patching compound. Allow the repairs to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  3. Prime the Surface: Applying a primer helps the paint adhere better to the brick surface. Choose a primer specifically designed for masonry surfaces. Apply the primer evenly and allow it to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Close-up of a worker's hand with a brush painting a brick wall with white paint. Painting apartment, renovating with white color paint.


  1. Choose the Right Paint: Select a high-quality paint suitable for masonry surfaces. Acrylic latex paint is often recommended for its durability and ease of application. Make sure the paint is suitable for both interior and exterior use if needed.
  2. Apply the Paint: Use a paintbrush or roller to apply the paint evenly onto the brick surface. Work in small sections, starting from the top and moving downward. Pay attention to any grooves or crevices to ensure thorough coverage.
  3. Multiple Coats: Depending on the colour of the paint and the original color of the brick, you may need multiple coats for complete coverage. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.
  4. Optional Finishes: You can choose to apply a sealant or clear coat over the paint once it’s completely dry. This can provide extra protection and enhance the finish of the painted brick.


  1. Regular Cleaning: To maintain the appearance of your painted brick, regularly clean it with a mild detergent and water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could damage the paint.
  2. Touch-Ups: Over time, the paint may wear or become damaged in certain areas. Keep some extra paint on hand for touch-ups as needed.


  1. Permanent Change: Painting brick is a semi-permanent change. Once painted, it can be challenging to revert to its original appearance, so make sure you’re committed to the new look.
  2. Aesthetics: While painting brick can update the look of your home, some people prefer the natural appearance of exposed brick. Consider your personal preferences and the overall style of your home before making a decision.

What kind of paint do you use on brick?

Painting brick surfaces can be a great way to refresh the look of your home, whether it’s the interior or exterior. But what kind of paint should you use on brick? Let’s break it down into easy-to-understand steps.

1. Type of Paint

When painting brick, it’s crucial to choose the right type of paint. The best paint for brick surfaces is typically acrylic latex paint. Here’s why:

  • Durability: Acrylic latex paint is durable and can withstand the elements, making it suitable for both interior and exterior brick surfaces.
  • Flexibility: It has some flexibility, which is important for surfaces like bricks that may expand and contract with temperature changes.
  • Ease of Application: Acrylic latex paint is relatively easy to apply with a brush or roller, providing good coverage and adhesion to the porous surface of brick.
Empty home interior wall mock-up with wall color panels and wooden floor., 3D rendering,  3D Illustration

2. Interior vs. Exterior Paint

When painting indoor brick surfaces, you can use the same acrylic latex paint that you’d use for walls. However, for exterior brick surfaces, it’s essential to choose a paint specifically labelled for exterior use. Exterior paints are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions like rain, UV rays, and temperature fluctuations.

3. Finish

Consider the finish you want for your painted brick. The most common options are flat, satin, or semi-gloss. Each finish has its own benefits:

  • Flat: Provides a matte finish, which can hide imperfections but may be less durable and harder to clean.
  • Satin: Offers a soft sheen, providing some durability and easier cleaning compared to flat paint.
  • Semi-Gloss: Provides a shiny finish, making it highly durable and easy to clean, but it may highlight imperfections more than the other finishes.

Choose a finish based on your preference and the level of durability you need for your specific application.

4. Primer

Before applying paint to brick, it’s recommended to use a primer specifically designed for masonry surfaces. The primer helps the paint adhere better to the porous surface of the brick and ensures better coverage and durability of the topcoat. Make sure to allow the primer to dry completely before painting.

5. Color

When selecting a paint colour for your brick, consider the overall aesthetic of your home and any existing colour schemes. Lighter colours can make a space feel brighter and larger, while darker colours can add depth and drama. It’s also essential to consider the surrounding elements, such as siding or landscaping, to ensure the paint colour complements the overall look of your home.

6. Application

When painting brick, work in small sections, starting from the top and moving downward. Use a brush or roller to apply the paint evenly, making sure to get into all the grooves and crevices. Depending on the colour and original colour of the brick, you may need multiple coats for complete coverage. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

7. Maintenance

Once the paint is dry, it’s essential to maintain it properly. Regular cleaning with a mild detergent and water will help keep your painted brick looking fresh. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that could damage the paint.

How to paint exterior brick: step by step

Painting your brick house can be a rewarding project if done right. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you achieve professional-looking results that will last for years.

1. Prepare the Brickwork

Proper preparation is key to ensuring the paint adheres well and lasts long.

  • Clean the Brick: Start by scrubbing the brick with a wire brush to remove dirt, dust, and loose mortar. Use a high-pressure or garden hose to wash away debris thoroughly.
  • Repair Any Damage: Fill in any cracks or holes with an outdoor filler. Make sure to choose a filler suitable for outdoor use. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding.
  • Mask and Protect: Mask off edges with painter’s tape and lay down drop cloths to protect surrounding areas from paint splatters.

2. Apply Primer

While not always necessary, primer can improve paint adhesion and durability.

  • Choose the Right Primer: Select a primer specifically designed for masonry surfaces. Apply it evenly over the brickwork and allow it to dry completely before painting.

3. Stir Your Paint

Properly mixing your paint ensures a consistent finish.

  • Thoroughly Mix: Stir your paint thoroughly for at least a couple of minutes, making sure to reach the bottom of the tin. This ensures an even distribution of colour and additives.
  • Prepare Your Applicator: Before painting, wash your brush or roller to remove any dust or debris and to help them absorb more paint.

4. Cutting In

Begin by painting the edges and corners for a clean finish.

  • Use a Brush or Pad: Start by cutting in around edges and corners using a brush or pad. This allows for precision and ensures no areas are missed.
Hand of young African man in beige t-shirt holding paintroller while standing in front of brick wall and painting it into white color

5. Paint the First Coat

Once cutting in is complete, it’s time to apply the first coat of paint.

  • Even Application: Whether using a brush, roller, or spray gun, ensure an even application of paint. Start from the bottom and work your way up, overlapping strokes for consistent coverage.
  • Avoid Patchiness: Try to finish painting one wall in one go to avoid a patchy appearance.

6. Paint the Second Coat

Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat.

  • Wait for Drying: Wait at least two hours for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat.
  • Final Touch: Apply the second coat using the same technique as the first for a smooth and uniform finish.

7. Admire Your Work

Step back and appreciate your home’s refreshed appearance.

  • Enjoy: Once the second coat is dry, step back and admire your beautifully painted brickwork.

Following these steps will help you accomplish a professional paint job on your exterior brickwork that not only lasts but also boosts your home’s curb appeal.

Final thought

If you’re unsure about painting brick yourself, it’s worth considering hiring an exterior painter who specializes in this type of work. A professional painter, particularly one who specializes in Painting All Sorts, can ensure a high-quality finish while saving you time and hassle.

The cost of hiring a painter varies depending on factors such as the size of the job and the condition of the surface. When obtaining quotes, ask potential painters the following questions to find the right person for your project:

  • Are you licensed?
  • Do you have insurance to work in my home?
  • How long will the job take?
  • Can you provide a written quote?
  • Do you have references I can contact?

In addition to painting, exterior painters may offer other services such as cleaning or refreshing gutters and trims. Consider if there are any additional areas of your home that could benefit from attention to complete your home makeover all at once.

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