How to Paint Red Brick

Updated February 21, 2017

When red brick becomes old or damaged, a fresh coat of paint can really improve its appearance. However, most people have a difficult time getting paint to adhere to red brick surfaces. If you plan to paint a brick wall, pay special attention to surface preparation.

Scrape away loose chunks of mortar with the putty knife. Gently sand away smaller particles with the sandpaper until you have freed the red brick surface of any loose matter. Thoroughly rinse all dirt, dust, cobwebs and remaining loose mortar away with the pressure washer. Allow the surface to dry completely. Cover any areas you do not want painted with blue painter's tape.

Fill a five-gallon bucket to about half-full with primer. Place the paint roller screen inside the bucket. Slip the paint roller cover onto the roller frame ensuring that it fits tightly and securely. Dip the roller into the primer, then roll the paint roller cover against the screen to remove any excess primer. Apply primer to the red brick, moving from side to side. Continue applying primer until you have completely covered the red brick. Apply primer with the paintbrush to any areas inaccessible to the roller.

Thoroughly clean the roller frame, screen and cover, as well as the bucket and paintbrush, with warm water. Dry the bucket and the roller screen and frame with rags. Shake the roller cover and paintbrush vigorously to remove excess water.

Cut the tip off a tube of caulk with a knife or a razor blade. Load the tube of caulk into the caulking gun, then apply the caulk to all cracks and crevices you have sealed them. Allow the caulk to dry completely.

Repeat Step 2 with paint instead of primer. Use the paintbrush to paint any areas inaccessible to the roller. Apply another coat of paint if necessary.


Avoid applying caulking before priming, which can hide cracks and crevices in red brick; a coat of primer helps expose these areas so you can better target them. Never attempt to paint over red brick without properly preparing the surface. Paint just won't stick to red brick unless you apply a coat of primer first. Remove loose mortar and other practicals before you begin priming, or your finished product will look poor.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty knife
  • Eighty- to one hundred twenty--grit sandpaper
  • Pressure washer
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Latex primer
  • Paint roller screen
  • Paint roller cover
  • Roller frame
  • Four-inch paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Latex caulk
  • Razor blade or knife
  • Caulking gun
  • Latex paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.