Homeowners often update the appearance of their homes with a coat of fresh paint. However if you are considering painting the ‘bricks’ on your home then there are a few things you should consider before you break out the spray guns and throw a party!
Permanence – The most important word to remember about painting brick is: permanence. That’s right. It’s a one way road. It is permanent and you can’t remove it once it has been applied. Now I know that some of you will say that you can get strippers and restoration cleaners to remove the paint if you really need to and that is true.
Remember though, you are entering a very expensive restoration process that is usually limited to very high end or very valuable masonry buildings with large amounts of funding. Practically speaking, restoration cleaning cost would simply be out of the range for all but the most affluent homeowner. (tens of thousands of dollars)
On-Going Maintenance – The day you apply the last coat of paint to the bricks on your home, is the first day paint degradation begins. Sooner or later the bricks will have to be painted again.
It has now become a never ending process. You will spend far more in the long run painting your brick over and over again then you would ever have spent in up-grading to brick work on your home in the first place. So a quick fix, like painting bricks you don’t particularly like, can often be an expensive mistake. Bricks will need to be re-painted more frequently than the rest of your home as well because of the risk of water entry which can cause severe damage.
Water Damage – The next point to remember is this: bricks need to breathe. What do I mean by that? Well bricks breathe naturally expelling moisture from the wall. When you coat them with paint you have effectively closed the pores of the bricks preventing them from breathing. In a perfect world this doesn’t sound like a bad idea because it effectively keeps the water out as well.
In real world situations though, paint will begin to crack fairly quickly. Minute hairline fissures will open allowing water to enter the masonry system with no way to escape. Unfortunately at this point it is hard for you to recognize or see the effects of the water entry, as it is hidden behind the paint.
As each freeze thaw cycle comes and goes real deterioration of the brick takes place and by the time the problem manifest the damage has already been done. Large portions of the wall area will have ‘brick face de-lamination’ and many more areas you can’t see will have de-lamination but will be held together by the paint. So a close inspection for damage will be necessary.
Now you not only have your ongoing paint maintenance to deal with but deteriorated brick repairs must be done as well.
So you can see how the seemingly simple remedy of painting your bricks to change its color can have far reaching implications and consequences. If you must go this route then I would suggest that you contact a local masonry repair expert for his advice on how to protect your masonry before painting and how to proceed with the painting process.