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How to paint interior brick

Updated April 13, 2018

Brick has a warm appeal that fits many styles of home decor, but brick that is dark, dingy or made in dated colours can detract from the overall look of your space. When faced with unwanted interior brick, the most practical solution is to paint it. Removing brick can be costly, difficult or even impossible if the brick is part of a load-bearing wall. It takes time to paint the many small divots and imperfections that are natural to brick.

Vacuum the bricks to remove all the dust. Mix a few drops of grease-cutting liquid soap into a bucket of water and wash the bricks. Allow them to dry for at least 12 hours.

Fill any cracks or holes in the mortar with caulk or spackle. Fill thin cracks and small holes with lightweight spackle. Larger cracks or missing chunks of mortar require caulk.

Apply primer with a roller first, working in sections that you can finish before the product dries. Press hard on the roller to push paint into the holes and crevasses of the brick. Use a brush to cut in around windows or edges and to paint the mortar lines. Continue working in sections until the entire area is primed. Allow the primer to dry completely.

Paint with a water-based acrylic paint product intended for interior use. Work in sections using a roller, and then paint in the mortar lines with a brush. Apply a second coat if needed only after the first coat is dry.

Tip

Use extra care in cleaning and priming if you are painting the bricks on a sooty fireplace. Remove as much soot as possible with a thorough scrubbing and prime the bricks with a primer/sealant combination product. Some priming products are formulated to dry in as little as one hour. Check the label on your product to know exactly how long it takes to dry. Watch for drips at the top corners of your brick wall, as this is where they are most likely to occur. Use your brush to smooth out drips as soon as possible. Working in smaller sections allows you to pay better attention to drips and thin spots. Check the quality of your work on each section before moving on to the next.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Soap
  • Bucket
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Caulk
  • Spackle
  • Primer
  • Water-based interior acrylic paint
  • Paint pan
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush
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About the Author

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.