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Painting brick -- so confused

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Nov 18, 2012, 03:00 PM
Painting brick -- so confused
Can someone please tell me what kind of paint I need to use on an interior brick wall. Every time I ask someone I get a different answer. One paint store told me to use oil based primer and paint; another said to use a primer that’s used for concrete; on the internet I’ve read to use Kilz; latex paint; heat resistant paint, and so on and so on. This is a very large brick wall (19x8), so I don’t want to mess it up. Anyone out there have experience with painting brick?
Nov 18, 2012, 03:28 PM
We added a 3 season porch, by changing our entire roof line, and one wall of the porch room is actually the outside of the attached garage. Was red brick, now a cream/white.
I used Zinsser 1 2 3 primer (waterbase) and two coats of a good quality latex paint. (I used exterior, due to this being a 3 season porch) On an interior brick, I would just use interior paint. Painted in the late 90's and no issues at all.

Sherwin Williams is where I usually go, or Benjamin Moore. Curious: Did you get your mixed advice from a pro paint store or a "paint department"?

I'm thinking the only reason to use a solvent based primer, like Kilz, would be if the wall had smoke residue from a fire/fireplace that was not easily removable?
Nov 18, 2012, 06:25 PM
Froo Froo
Just curious. Is this a fireplace wall? I have no expertise on painting brick walls whether interior or exterior. I suspect the recommendation may be impacted by whether it's exposed to heat from fires.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Froo Froo,
Nov 18, 2012, 07:11 PM
That is a good question, that Froo Froo asked.

Most interior masonry fireplaces (with brick veneer on the face and wall) do not get more than warm with a fire. But if the brick wraps around into the firebox area, that will be a consideration.

I still believe describing your situation and asking a pro paint store is your best bet for successful advice.
Nov 18, 2012, 08:00 PM
The "oil based primer and paint" advice came from the Benjamin Moore store where I buy a lot of my paint. The "concrete primer" came from Sherwin Williams. The rest of it came from various internet sites.

This is a fireplace wall (gas), but I'll only be painting the outside bricks. I don't think they get very hot.
Nov 18, 2012, 08:52 PM
Well that IS confusing for you and I now understand how you feel.

How is the condition of the brick wall? Is it old and smoke stained? Or relatively clean? With a gas fireplace, I imagine it is clean. I would go with just doing a sweep off with a vacuum brush attachment and use a primer like the Zinsser Bulls Eye 1 2 3. As it is for concrete, brick, wood and other surfaces as well (both interior and exterior). It is my "go to primer" for nearly all surfaces and is soap and water clean up. Keep it easy.
Nov 18, 2012, 09:08 PM
Thanks, conrad. The wall is fairly clean --it's good to know I won't have to scrub it. So would I use a latex wall paint over the Zinsser primer?
Nov 18, 2012, 10:06 PM
Yes, I would.

Depending on how porous your brick/mortar is...slightly, (very slightly), thinning the primer may help you apply it to all the pits and pores of the brick. The paint store can help suggest these things. And get the right kind of roller cover for the application, (sometimes a foam roller for rough surfaces) plus a brush to work into all the areas the roller does not cover well enough.

Once the primer is on and dry, the paint coat will be the easier application.
Nov 19, 2012, 08:17 AM
Thanks again for your advice. Wish me luck -- this makes me very nervous!
Nov 19, 2012, 09:40 AM
One other possible option?
Screw wooden or metal firring strips to the mortar with tapcon screws, and apply drywall to the strips and finish.
Then this could be refinished anyway you desire, as a smooth or textured wall, that would look like any other wall in the room.

But I bet you have thought long and hard about painting the brick, and it will work fine.
A large area of red brick wall in a home, can be very overwhelming and reduce any available light just by it's saturation of dark tone.
Nov 19, 2012, 02:47 PM
You're right -- the dark brick makes the room like a cave. And I have been thinking about this since we moved in 5 years ago. I've considered the drywall option too, but painting just seems like the easiest way to me.

Funny, this morning I went to Lowe's to pick something up, and as I was walking past the paint dept. an older gentleman was behind the counter. I've talked to him before and he seems pretty knowledgeable (unlike most other Lowe's employees), so I asked him what kind of paint to use. He said to use latex with the built-in primer. Yet another answer!!
Nov 19, 2012, 02:58 PM
Jury is still out on those paints (supposedly with primer built in) Most I know are not impressed that have used them. And you are in Lowes, not a paint store? Guess this is one job I would not take a chance on, if it were me.

The Zinsser products are great, so I personally would stick with them for primers.
Hint: You could have the primer tinted, but I would not, or keep it different enough from your top coat that you will have no issue telling where you have covered, when it comes time to paint. Sometimes that can be an issue. This will be a bigger job (and require more paint) than just painting a flat wall so take your time, have adequate light and don't get discouraged. Wink
Dec 09, 2012, 11:32 AM
I am wondering if has seen the painted fireplaces at Brick Transformers.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: blueapaintman,

Feb 09, 2013, 11:44 AM
I lived in a brick house once way back in 1989 and the outside was starting to yellow. It went from white to yellow. So I went to the paint store and bought "paint on sale" in a burbury (spell) ivory color. I ended up having the prettiest house on the block! I then purchased plastic dark brown shutters (very inexpensive). Loved living in that house!
Apr 10, 2013, 08:23 AM
Conrad, I hope you're still following this post. I have one more question regarding brick paint -- what sheen should I get? Flat, satin, eggshell?

I had planned to paint this brick wall over the Thanksgiving holiday, came down with a cold and it never got done. I'm finally getting back around to it.
Apr 10, 2013, 09:07 AM
Myself? I would probably opt for just slightly more sheen than flat. Eggshell? Because brick already has so much texture, too much sheen may draw attention to all the rough areas (in not such a good way. Eggshell is slick enough to allow easy cleaning and dusting if necessary, compared to flat.
Apr 10, 2013, 09:25 AM
Thanks -- Hopefully I'll get this dreaded project knocked out this weekend!!
Apr 10, 2013, 09:55 AM
If possible, try to have some multi directional lighting. Pole lamp, construction light...something that can shoot a light from two directions to see better where you need paint.

Take it easy, take frequent breaks and stretch your arm/hand a lot! It will involve a whole lot of brush work (along with a rough surface roller cover), and that repetitive wrist and arm motion can often cause some nasty residual pain.

Good luck, and hope for best results!
Apr 10, 2013, 01:12 PM
Residual pain?? Now I have even more to look forward to!! Thanks for the warning (and the good advice).
Apr 11, 2013, 08:00 AM
Don't forget before and after pics!
Aug 28, 2013, 03:05 PM
I personally would use an oil based primer. A concrete paint is not the right tool for the job. If the bricks looks nice without paint don't use any Big Grin

B&B in Brighton
Aug 30, 2013, 02:30 AM
Chuck Steak
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