Painting Bricks Is Easy!

We moved to a new house last year, from California to Missouri. It was a culture shock of course. But the worst part was the dark and gloomy house, full of paneling and bricks. Some people say you should never paint brick…but when two walls in two rooms of your main living space are real bricks, you kind of have NO CHOICE.

PLEASE NOTE: A lot of questions have been answered in the comment section so please be sure to read through if you have a question. If you don’t find what you need,  please contact Sarah via email:  sarah@blogguidebook.com.

Thank you!!

I honestly thought I was going to brush the paint on or roll it on…but then a friend suggested something else. Spray? Luckily I had purchased several gallons of a beautiful cream colored paint (so it wasn’t a stark white), and when my friend was visiting, she said “Let’s paint that brick!” I was a bit nervous what my dear husband would say, since men don’t like painted wood or bricks very much. He is learning quickly that I paint it ALL!
Some awesome things about this method include: no priming, no rolling, quick dry time, easy clean up (if you cover everything), affordable and uses very little paint.

Here’s what you have to do to paint your brick walls:

In an empty gallon milk jug, pour 1/4 paint to 3/4 water. Shake well till mixed thoroughly. Will look like milk!
Then, using a funnel (or not) pour carefully into a spray bottle. I got the spray bottles from Lowes in the cleaning section for about $3, sort of the industrial kind. Some of them work great and some stop working right away, so you may want to buy more than one.
If your brick is clean you can start. If not, make sure it’s dust and cobweb free.
Cover your floors with waterproof tarps. Have lots of paper towels on hand. You can either cover your windows with plastic or just be ready to clean up the paint drips immediately after spraying.

Now you’re ready to start spraying your bricks! There’s a technique to it…swoosh your wrist across the area you are painting at the same time as pulling the trigger on the sprayer. You are trying to get an even coat of thin paint. With this method you will still have some color variations showing through and it won’t be completely “white”. It brightens the brick. You can even do more coats if you want it to be brighter.
But really, you can do the spraying in any way that is easy for you!

Now after you’ve sprayed till your hand aches, you will need to dab at the drippy areas with a wad of paper towels. You don’t want drips drying and looking ugly all over. You can also use a paint brush to squish more of the drips into the crevices and grout lines. You might even start feeling artsy and creative!
You will notice with spraying the paint on that you are saving tons of time not having to paint into the “grout” areas…they get covered nicely with the spray.

We were able to complete one wall in the breakfast room in about 1/2 an hour. Clean up took about another 1/2 an hour (including drips, the floor and the windows). We got done right as my husband walked in the door. He was speechless…but liked it! Yay for painted brick and clever friends!

I totally suggest painting boring red brick if it’s on the interior of your home. It’s quick and easy and you’ll love how bright it is. After I finished the fireplace and painting the paneling I almost feel like it’s light in there!

Make sure to wash out all your brushes and you can keep the unused watered down paint for about a month. After that is starts going funky and chunky.

And here’s a picture of how it looks today!
NOTE:  I used latex paint for this project. Feel free to email me with any questions about this project.

Guest Post from Sarah at The Blog Guidebook

 

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58 Comments

  1. sarah,
    you have given me just the information i needed for our fireplace. the brick is only around the opening however, we recently lightened up the living room walls and the brick was popping out like a sore thumb. i may even squeeze this project in this weekend…or at least sometime soon!
    thanks!
    judi

  2. Just beautiful. I can’t believe what a difference and change that makes. Wonderful, wonderful idea and thanks for putting this out there for the rest of us!!

  3. I have that stone like brick on one corner of the outside of my house, (like the 50’s style homes). My house has a large eave around it do you think I could use exterior paint to do the same? Right now it is an ugly yellow!!!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing!! I’m sick of staring at my dark brick fireplace in my MO house too. I haven’t wanted to paint it stark white, but I love how yours turned out! very nice.

  5. Wow Sarah!!! I LOVE the way it turned out!!! Much better than the before…and yet not just stark white either! This method was PERFECT! 🙂

  6. Wow! What a difference! I’m sure it feels like you’ve emerged from a cave now that it’s so light and bright! And I’ve never heard of spraying on paint with a spray bottle. What a great (and time saving) idea!

  7. Wow! Beautiful! I love how it turned out and you are so brave! I would have been scared to death. 🙂
    Dana @ D’Lea Designs

  8. I really like how the brick looks now–even better than a plain wall! I would have never guessed the painting technique was so easy! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi Charmed!
    I read your comment and wanted to let you know that yes, you can do this on the exterior too.
    My friend who told me about this sprayed the exterior stone work of her house to lighten it up because it was ugly and dark.
    She also did her chimney!
    All her neighbors were jealous and they wanted to know her secret.
    I did forget to mention that I used exterior paint with built in primer for this job, so you could do the same!
    Hope this works out for you!

    Sarah

  10. Thank you all for the great comments today! I wouldn’t wish BRICK on anyone! Paint ROCKS!!!

  11. Wow! I cannot believe the transformation! You have such an eye for creativity. I’m glad the hubby liked it. Now it looks totally fab!

    Cheers!
    Reyna
    ArcadianHomeDecor.com

  12. That looks fabulous! I have a brick fireplace in my den that needs a makeover! Thanks for sharing.

  13. How great. I like how you still see variations in the brick color, and don’t totally lose a brick feel, just the darkness.

  14. I love this idea. Man if only I had found this two years ago. 🙂 We moved into our house and it had an ugly brick fireplace, so we painted it the same color of our walls to blend in. But I really like your technique, because it looks like stone or brick still. You did a great job. I’m going to link this up on my FB page. 🙂

  15. Hi Sara , I’m just wondering what kind of paint… Semigloss or regular interior paint? I think I want to try!!!

    1. I used Behr Semi-gloss color, it is called Cottage Stone. (At least I think it was Behr, it’s been a year now!).

    1. Exactly! But better than white wash because you don’t have to brush it on. Hee hee.

  16. Oh my gosh! That is an amazing transformation! I have old 70’s style stone around my fireplace on the entire wall, its dark and I hate it and its the one thing my husband didn’t want me to paint. I showed him your post right now and he sayed, do it! Great idea!

    1. I’m so happy he said DO IT! It really does make a big difference to the quality of life when you are not in the dark!

  17. I really like this idea! I was thinking of a bit of sparkle in the paint. Think that would spray on????
    Do you think 2 coats would be too much coverage?
    thanks!!!

    1. Sparkles sounds fun…just depends on what you LOVE. I used one coat here and rubbed it off with a paper towel…so it’s really up to you how much coverage you want. I’ve seen full on white painted bricks and it still looks great…a little more modern though. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  18. This is harder than it looks! I saw this tutorial and loved it. We have the same dark ugly brick that makes our room seem smaller. So I bought some Behr brick and masonry paint in cream and tried to follow this tutorial.

    I have to say, it’s not coming out evenly with the spray bottle. I bought three industrial spray bottles, only 1 actually sprays a mist. The others squirt, no matter how low I turn the knob. Even with the one that works, the paint still drips like crazy and seems to avoid the grout so that the bricks end up too white and the grout is still dark gray.

    I ended up going over everything with a big sponge to clean up the drips and even it out, but the sponge wasn’t getting in the grout well. I had to resort to plain old paint brushes and I’m finally getting better results.

    Maybe my paint is too thin (1:3 paint to water) or my brick is just too rough (whomever bricked this fireplace didn’t do a great job at getting it level and was sloppy finishing the grout so it’s very rough.) It’s okay though, it looks a lot better, I just didn’t realize how detail work was involved.

    1. When I did this project it wasn’t involved at all…I’m so sorry you had troubles with it. There was a lot of clean up involved, but my brick just soaked the paint right up! I used a typical, cheap spray bottle. Is there a chance your brick had some kind of coating or finish on them already? Hope it works out okay.

      1. Sarah
        I bought a place that has brick walls painted various colors and have been searching for ideas to make them look a bit more like a cottage style. I like your idea. I was considering sanding them some and then using your technique except do you think I need to use primer instead of regular paint since I am painting on paint? Or use primer first and then paint?
        Thanks
        Sheila

  19. I’m confused. You used a lattex exterior paint? Did you prime first? Or you said you used paint and primer in one? I just want to be clear, because I love the way this looks!

  20. Hi, I have a fireplace that is surrounded by faux brick. When we bought the house last year our plan was to tear the brick down and put up a light colored stone. However, now that the time has come to start the project, it sounds like that may be quite the project. So I thought why not look into painting it instead but all I can find is info on painting real brick. Do you think/know if something like this would work on the faux brick? Any info would help. Thank you so much!

  21. Thank you thank you! I have bookmarked this site for about 5 months and have been looking at my dirty gross brick in my basement for much longer! Yesterday on a rainy afternoon and finally bit the bullet and painted mine in the same fashion as you! The results are astonishing!! Thank you so much for this article, it literally changed my entire basement!! I would love to post before and afters, but I am not sure how here?!

  22. This is beautiful. The fireplace I want to try this on has already been painted a solid white colour. It seems to be a bit shiny. Will this have an impact on the brick’s ability to “hold” the paint? Since it’s already painted, it won’t be very porous. Also, if it’s already painted white, can you suggest what colours would be required to achieve a more natural, worn look? Yours was done on bare, reddish coloured brick.

    Thank you!

  23. Used your paint color/formula but brush and sponge cause my sprayers kept clogging. Looks fantastic, and my husband whom hates painted brick as well admits it looks great! Thank u so much for sharing!

  24. Would you say this is very similar to the white-washed look? I’m thinking about doing this to our massive brick fireplace wall (screams “1970s!!!!!!!!!!!”)…this seems much easier for the same look.

  25. I’m totally inspired! I have been trying to figure out how I’m going to tackle the same issue in my new home. Would love to know what color paint you used.

  26. This is very lovely. I think it looks even better than plain white walls! I don’t have brick inside, though. I am getting ready to buy a house that is built with ugly red brick. I read Sarah Bradford’s reply and believe that I will try using exterior paint with built in primer. Thanks!

  27. Would also like further info on this project. What color did you use? What size and brand of spray bottles? Did your brick have a shiny coat before you sprayed it?

  28. Hi Everyone, thanks so much for your comments. In regards to paint color and brand, I used either Behr or Valspar in “Cottage Stone”…it was a semi gloss latex finish. I did not prime the brick before painting. My bricks were untouched and were very porous. I have also had experience painting brick on the outside with an exterior latex paint, very successfully.

    If you are trying for a less than bright white effect, I would suggest choosing a cream color paint, or off-white.

    You can use any kind of spray bottle. I happened to pick up the some of the “industrial type” ones I found in the cleaning aisle at Lowes. But I know that any would work. If your sprayer gets clogged it just means you will have to thin your paint with a little more water, and work quickly. I think I bought three bottles, and two of them didn’t work for me, even though they were all the same brand. Spray bottles can be tricky so stock up on a few for the project so you don’t have to run back to the store.

    Don’t forget you can email me directly at sarah@blogguidebook.com or check out my blogs at http://www.blogguidebook.com and http://www.differentdog.com for more DIY/Crafting/Painting fun.

    Good luck on your brick painting adventures!

    1. Thank you so much for the quick response answering all my questions!!!!

  29. Did you use interior or exterior paint for this project? Also, you said it was paint and primer in one correct?

    Thanks!

    1. I used interior paint on this project, and I can’t remember if there was primer in it, I don’t think so. That probably wouldn’t make too much difference though. Good luck!

  30. You stated you used latex paint…dud you use flat, eggshell or satin I ain’t..love this, I’m going to try this on my fireplace. Thanks

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