Brick by Brick: A Step-by-Step Guide How To Paint Brick House

brick house painting

Ready to give your brick home a fresh new look and boost its curb appeal? Painting your brickwork can be a transformative DIY project or a task best left to the professionals. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of painting bricks, drawing from real-world examples to help you make an informed decision. We’ll then delve into essential preparation steps, choosing the right paint for Australia’s unique climate, mastering the painting process, troubleshooting common issues, and maintaining your newly painted home. No matter where you are in Australia, this guide will empower you to confidently paint your brick home and achieve the beautiful transformation you dream of.

Table of Contents

Why Give Your Brick House a Fresh Coat of Paint?

  1. A Whole New Look: Painting your brick house is like giving it a makeover. A fresh coat of paint can hide cracks and stains, making your home look much younger and more modern. Imagine the difference a bright, new colour can make!
  2. Protect Your Investment: Think of paint as a shield for your brick house. Quality exterior paint acts like a barrier, protecting the bricks from harsh Australian weather, such as sun, rain, and wind. This helps your house stay in great shape for longer.
  3. Boost Your Home’s Value: Want to make your house worth more? A well-done paint job is a great way to do that. It improves your home’s curb appeal, making it more attractive to potential buyers. Real estate experts agree that a fresh coat of paint can considerably increase a home’s value.
  4. Your Style, Your Way: Your house should reflect your personality! Painting your brick house lets you choose the perfect colours that match your style. You can go bold and bright or choose something more classic and elegant. It’s all up to you!

Before we jump into the how-to, let’s address the elephant in the room. Painting bricks isn’t a one-size-fits-all decision in the world of home improvement. While some purists believe brick should be left in its natural state, others embrace the transformative power of paint. Let’s take a balanced look at both sides, drawing inspiration from real-life experiences:

Pros of Painting Bricks:

  • Aesthetic Versatility: Painting your brick house opens up a whole world of colours and styles. You can go from traditional red brick to a cool modern grey or bring an old, worn-out look back to life with a fresh coat of cream. The endless choices allow you to create a home that truly shows your style.
  • Protection against Moisture (When Done Correctly): High-quality exterior paint can be a barrier, shielding your brick from moisture damage, particularly in Australia’s harsh climate. For example, a well-painted brick house in Newcastle can withstand the coastal elements better than bare brick.
  • Ability to Hide Imperfections: A fresh coat of paint can work wonders if your brickwork shows signs of age—cracks, discolouration, or unevenness. Just ask the owners of that charming cottage in Melbourne, who masked years of wear and tear with a cheerful coat of blue!

Cons of Painting Bricks:

  • Irreversible Process: Once you paint a brick, it cannot be returned to its original state. This is okay, but you must be sure of your decision.
  • Potential for Trapping Moisture (If Not Done Properly): If preparation and painting aren’t done meticulously, moisture can become trapped behind the paint, leading to potential damage. Think of the unfortunate Brisbane homeowner who rushed the job and now faces costly repairs.
  • Regular Maintenance Required: Painted brick requires ongoing upkeep. You’ll need to clean it regularly and touch up any chips or fading. A Perth family learned this firsthand when their once-vibrant red paint job started peeling due to neglect.

Preparing to Paint Bricks: The Key to a Lasting Finish

  1. Assess Your Bricks:

    • Look for: Cracks, crumbling mortar, or signs of water damage. These should be addressed before painting.
    • Check for efflorescence: This white, powdery substance indicates salt deposits and should be removed.
    • Identify mould or mildew: These will need to be treated with a suitable cleaner.
  2. Thoroughly Clean the Surface:

    • Power Wash: Use a pressure washer (low to medium setting) to remove dirt, debris, and loose paint.
    • Treat Stains & Efflorescence: Trisodium phosphate (TSP) can be effective if available. Mix 60 ml of TSP per 4 litres of water, scrub the affected areas, and rinse thoroughly. Make sure to use protective gear when handling TSP and follow safety guidelines.
    • Address Mold/Mildew: If present, apply a mildewcide cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Dry Completely: Allow the bricks to dry thoroughly (24-48 hours) before applying any primer or paint.
  3. Repair and Prime:

    • Patch Imperfections: Fill cracks and holes with exterior-grade polyurethane caulk or mortar.
    • Apply Primer: A high-quality acrylic latex masonry primer improves paint adhesion and durability. Apply a thin, even coat and let it dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Additional Tips:

  • Safety First: Use proper PPE when handling chemicals.
  • Weather Watch: Avoid painting in extreme heat, cold, or humidity. Ideal temperatures are between 10°C to 29°C.
  • Peeling Paint: If old paint is peeling, scrape it off before priming and painting.
  • Test Area: If unsure about a cleaner or primer, first test it discreetly.

Choosing the Right Paint for Bricks

Selecting the suitable paint is crucial for a successful and long-lasting finish on your brickwork. Here’s what to consider:

Key Paint Properties:

  • Breathability: Brick is porous and needs to “breathe” to prevent moisture buildup. Look for paints labelled “breathable” or “vapour permeable,” such as 100% acrylic latex paints.
  • Durability: Exterior brickwork is exposed to harsh Australian weather, so choose a paint that can withstand rain, sun, and temperature fluctuations. Premium 100% acrylic latex paints like Dulux Weathershield or Taubmans All Weather are excellent choices.
  • Finish: Satin or semi-gloss finishes are typically recommended for exterior brick as they offer better durability, washability, and moisture resistance than flat finishes.

Recommended Brands:

  • Dulux Weathershield: Known for its excellent weather resistance and wide range of colours.
  • Taubmans All Weather: Offers superior durability and protection with Nanoguard® technology.
  • Resene X-200: A high-performance exterior paint suitable for various surfaces, including brick.

Colour Considerations:

  • Undertones: Brick has inherent undertones (warm or cool) that should be considered when selecting a paint colour. Warm colours like terracotta or beige complement red brick, while cool greys or blues may work well with brown or grey brick.
  • Surrounding Environment: When choosing your brick paint colour, consider the colours of your roof, trim, and landscaping. Aim for a harmonious overall look.

Application Tips:

  • Brush: Best for smaller areas or intricate details.
  • Roller: Ideal for large, flat surfaces.
  • Sprayer: Offers the fastest application but requires skill and may create overspray.

Pro Tip: Always test your chosen paint on a small, inconspicuous area first to see how it looks in different lighting conditions and to ensure you’re happy with the colour and finish.

The Painting Process: Bringing Your Vision to Life

  1. Protect Non-Brick Surfaces:

    • Mask Off: Carefully apply painter’s tape to windows, doors, trim, and other areas you don’t want to be painted.
    • Cover the Ground: Use drop cloths to protect plants, pathways, and the ground from spills and splatters.
  2. Apply the First Coat:

    • Start at the Top: To avoid drips and streaks, begin at the top of the wall and work your way down.
    • Use a Thick-Nap Roller: For brick, a 15 mm to 22 mm nap roller is ideal for achieving even coverage on the textured surface.
    • Load the Roller Evenly: Dip the roller into the paint tray and roll it back and forth to distribute the paint evenly on the roller cover.
    • “W” Pattern: Apply the paint in a “W” pattern, overlapping each stroke to avoid leaving gaps.
    • Cut In: Use a brush to paint around edges and corners carefully and any areas the roller can’t reach.
  3. Let It Dry:

    • Drying Time: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for allowing the first coat to dry completely (usually 2 hours). The surface should be dry to the touch and not feel tacky before applying the second coat.
  4. Apply the Second Coat (and Third if Needed):

    • Repeat the Process: Follow the same application technique as the first coat, maintaining a wet edge to avoid lap marks.
    • Check for Coverage: After the second coat dries, inspect any areas needing additional coverage, especially with darker colours. If necessary, apply a third coat.

Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Uneven Absorption: If some areas dry faster than others, apply a second coat to those areas first.
  • Paint in Mortar Joints: Use a smaller brush to remove excess paint from the mortar joints while wet.
  • Streaking: If you see streaks, try using a roller with a longer nap or applying the paint in thinner coats.

Troubleshooting Common Issues: Solutions and Prevention

Even with meticulous preparation, some challenges might arise during or after painting your brickwork. Here’s how to tackle common issues:


  • Problem: White, powdery deposits on the surface indicate salt efflorescence, often caused by moisture seeping through the brick.
    1. Solution: Brush off the powdery residue.
    2. Identify and address the source of moisture (leaky gutters, cracks in mortar).
    3. Apply an efflorescence cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    4. Once the surface is dry, apply a stain-blocking primer before repainting.
  • Prevention: Ensure proper drainage and ventilation around your brickwork. Use a breathable paint to allow moisture to escape.


  • Problem: Paint flakes or peels off, often due to poor adhesion caused by inadequate cleaning or priming.
    1. Solution: Scrape off loose paint with a wire brush or scraper.
    2. Sand the area smooth.
    3. Clean thoroughly and let dry.
    4. Prime the area before repainting.
  • Prevention: Ensure the surface is clean, dry, and properly primed before painting.


  • Problem: Paint colour fades or loses vibrancy due to sun exposure.
    1. Solution: If fading is minor, try cleaning the surface with a mild detergent.
    2. If fading is significant, repaint the affected area or the entire surface.
  • Prevention: Choose a high-quality, 100% acrylic latex paint with UV protection.

Additional Problems and Solutions:

  • Mildew Growth: Scrub with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 3 parts water), rinse well, and allow to dry thoroughly before repainting. Prevention: Ensure good ventilation and consider using mildew-resistant paint.
  • Cracking: Hairline cracks can often be filled with caulk, while larger cracks may require patching with mortar. Prevention: Properly prime and use a flexible paint that can expand and contract with the brick.
  • Bubbling: Scrape away the bubbles, sand the area, prime, and repaint. Prevention: Ensure the surface is completely dry before painting and avoid painting in extreme heat.

Maintaining Your Painted Brick House: Keeping Your Exterior Beautiful

To preserve the beauty and longevity of your painted brickwork, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Regular Cleaning:

    • Frequency: Clean the surface annually or more often if needed, especially in areas with high pollution or environmental exposure.
    • Cleaning Solution: Use a mild detergent like dish soap mixed with water. Avoid harsh chemicals or strong cleaners that could damage the paint.
    • Tools: Gently scrub the surface with a soft-bristled brush, sponge, or cloth. A spray nozzle garden hose can help rinse dirt and debris away.
  2. Prompt Touch-Ups:

    • Materials: Keep leftover paint for touch-ups, ensuring it’s properly stored and sealed.
    • Technique: Use a small brush for precise application, feathering the edges of the touch-up paint to blend seamlessly with the existing paint.
    • Timing: Address chips and scratches promptly to prevent moisture from getting in and causing further damage.
  3. Regular Inspections:

    • Check for Damage: Look for signs of fading, chipping, peeling, chalking (powdery residue), or any cracks in the mortar.
    • Address Issues Promptly: Fix any damage immediately to prevent further deterioration.
    • Repaint When Needed: Depending on the paint quality, climate, and exposure, you may need to repaint your brickwork every 5-7 years or sooner if you notice significant wear and tear.

When to Call the Pros: Knowing Your Limits

While painting brick can be a DIY project, certain situations warrant professional assistance:

Consider Calling a Professional If:

  • Height Concerns: Your house is more than one story tall. Working at heights requires specialised equipment and safety precautions professionals are trained to handle.
  • Lead-Based Paint: Your home was built before 1978 and may have lead-based paint. Professionals have the experience and equipment to remove and dispose of hazardous materials safely.
  • Extensive Damage: Your brickwork has significant cracks, damage, or moisture issues that require repair before painting. Professionals can assess the damage and do necessary repairs to ensure a long-lasting paint job.
  • Complex Architecture: Your home has intricate details, multiple textures, or hard-to-reach areas. Professionals have the skills and experience to navigate these challenges and achieve a flawless finish.
  • Limited Time or DIY Skills: You lack the time, confidence, or experience to tackle a large-scale painting project. Professionals can complete the job efficiently and to a high standard.

Benefits of Hiring Professionals:

  • Expertise: Professionals have the knowledge and experience to handle all aspects of the job, from surface preparation to final touches.
  • Efficiency: Professionals can complete the project faster and with less disruption to your daily life.
  • Quality: Professionals use high-quality materials and techniques to achieve a superior, longer-lasting finish.
  • Safety: Professionals follow safety protocols and use the right equipment to minimise risks.

Choosing a Reputable Contractor:

  • Research: Ask for referrals from friends, neighbours, or online resources.
  • Get Quotes: Obtain written estimates from at least three different contractors.
  • Check Credentials: Verify that the painting contractor is licensed and insured.
  • Ask for References: Contact past clients to inquire about their experience with the contractor.
  • Review the Contract: Carefully read the contract before signing to ensure you understand the scope of work, timeline, and payment terms.

Conclusion: Your Brick Home’s Transformation Awaits

Painting your brick home is more than just a change of colour—it’s a chance to reimagine your living space and boost your curb appeal. With the right approach, you can achieve a stunning result that you’ll love coming home to.

However, we understand that painting brick can be a daunting task. Whether you’re short on time, unsure about the process, or simply want to ensure a professional finish, expert painters in Newcastle are ready to help. These local painters have the experience, skills, and equipment to transform your brick home into a masterpiece.

Ready to witness the difference a fresh coat of paint can make? Contact Procover Painting or other reputable painters in Newcastle today for a free consultation, and let the experts help you create the home of your dreams.

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