Spray paint is a useful way to cover a large area quickly and can make DIY projects a lot easier. The only problem is that spray paint won’t work on every surface, and if you’re painting a brick wall or structure, the last thing you want is to ruin the look of it with a dodgy coat of paint. Well, don't worry, because in this guide we’ll explain definitively whether you can spray paint brick and how to do it properly to get the best results.
Spray paint is different from traditional paint because of the dispersal method. Liquid paint is stored in a pressurized canister which is completely airtight. There's a button on the top, and when pressed, the paint is released through a nozzle on the front of the can. Changes in pressure forces the liquid paint to change to gas so that it sprays out as an aerosol. The aerosol spray paint then lands on the surface you're painting and transforms back into liquid, covering the object.
Transforming the paint from liquid to gas to liquid again helps get the paint all over the surface you're painting. This generally provides a more even coverage than traditional painting and can dramatically improve the look of objects. The spray method is also a lot quicker, and you can cover large areas quickly.
Spray paint is commonly used in DIY because of its simplicity and speed. It’s often used on old items to give them a fresh, modern look and in refurbishment. Many DIYers use spray paint for old furniture, fixed structures, or walls.
The only issue with spray paint is adhesion. Spray paint has to stick to a surface in order to be effective. Unfortunately, it won't adhere to all surfaces, and some can be more challenging than others. If the spray paint doesn't stick evenly, it can end up patchy and even make things look worse. In some cases, there are steps you can take to prepare the surface beforehand and improve the adhesion, but for some objects, you'll just need to use a different paint.
The good news is that you can use spray paint on almost all styles of brick. It should adhere to your bricks, but it can be slightly different depending on the area you’re painting:
Brick Home Exterior
The external brick on most homes is called landscaping brick. This is perfectly safe to spray paint, but only if it isn’t completely new. Brand new landscaping brick will have a powdery substance on it, making it really chalky. This can stop the paint from sticking and make it a messy project. You should try to avoid painting the landscaping brick in the first 4 weeks after it’s laid, and always prepare the brick beforehand.
Brick Home Interior
Interior brick is usually made from the same material but often has protective coatings or paint already on it. This shouldn't be an issue, and you can spray paint it as long as you prepare and prime the brick first. Just make sure that you use the spray paint safely with proper ventilation, and cover up all of your other furniture because spray paint can get everywhere.
Spray painted brick chimneys look amazing. Brick chimneys are masonry, which is porous, so it's a great surface to spray paint. The spray paint should stick to it really easily, and it's definitely the best method to use when painting your brick chimney.
Brick fireplaces are usually a mix of masonry or landscaping brick. The internal part of the chimney should be reasonably porous, and spray paint will adhere to it. Plus, it's protected from the elements, so it's an easier DIY project. The external part of the fireplace is spray paintable too, but you will need to prepare and prime the brick first.
Weeping Mortar Brick
Weeping mortar brick is brick with exposed mortar that runs over the sides of the walls. It's common in older homes and can be a bit unsightly, so it's really tempting to spray paint it. Unfortunately, the spray paint won't really adhere to the mortar, so it will need to be chipped away before you can paint the wall. This makes it a more complex project, but certainly not impossible.
Spray painting most types of brick is fine as long as you clean, prepare, and prime it. Just make sure you do it safely with proper ventilation, and always test a small area first, so you know how it will look before starting the full project.
How To Prep And Spray Paint Bricks
Spray painting brick can be really easy, but it all comes down to the prep work. Here are some of the key tips to follow:
- 1Safety First
Spray painting is easy, but it can be hazardous, so you should take your safety seriously. You need to spray paint in a well-ventilated area, ideally outside, so that you don't risk inhaling too much of the paint. You should also try to wear a mask to reduce inhalation and gloves so that you don't irritate your hands. It's also a good idea to wear protective overalls, so you don't ruin your regular clothes.
- 2Use The Right Materials
Getting the correct paint is key because all spray paints are slightly different. You should look for a masonry paint if possible because this will adhere to brick really well. You should also look for interior and exterior paints depending on your project. Exterior paints tend to be acrylic and are tougher against the elements, so the paint should last for longer.
- 3Prepare The Brick
This is one of the most important steps if you want to paint your brick evenly. You'll need to clean the brick with a pressurized hose to remove all the dirt and dust which will have built up over time. You'll also need to use a thick brush and some bleach to remove any mildew. You'll then need to sand down the brick to make sure it's as even as possible and help the spray paint to land evenly.
- 4Apply A Primer
Brick is porous and will absorb spray paint well, but applying a primer will give an even surface for the spray paint to land on. Ideally, you'll get a spray paint primer that is the same brand as your masonry paint, and look for a specialist masonry primer if you can. Some brands like Rust-Oleum and KILZ offer a masonry paint with primer included, and this can save you some time and money if you can find it.
- 5Protective Coatings
A good spray paint job on brick will last 15-20 years, but it depends on the environment. Very hot, cold, or wet environments could mean your paint gets damaged over time and could mean you have to repaint sooner than you'd like. However, you can buy specialist protective coatings to cover your painted brick and keep it looking good for longer. Most of these protective coatings are polyurethane, and applying 1 or 2 coats will give it a more even and shiny look.
Spray Paint Vs. Regular Paint On Bricks
Spray paint can make some people nervous, but it actually offers a lot of benefits. The aerosol paint will stick to the porous brick well and give you a thick, even coat if you apply it properly. It’s also really quick to cover large surfaces because you can literally just point and spray.
Some homeowners prefer to use roll-on paint on their brick. This takes a lot longer but will give you a more even texture, particularly on external brick. This is down to the differences in the different types of paint, and regular paint is a lot thicker than aerosol paint. Spray paint can also be a bit challenging indoors because it can go everywhere, so there’s a far greater risk of spray painting something you didn’t mean to.
Spray painting brick is much quicker and more efficient than regular paint. Regular paint does allow you to be more precise, but we’d recommend spray paint for your outdoor brick painting.
Does brick need primer before paint?
You technically can paint brick without a primer, but for an even coat of paint, you should always use a primer first.
What happens if you paint brick without a primer?
If you paint brick without a primer, it can lead to uneven coverage. It can also impact how well the paint lasts, and could mean that the paint starts to crack earlier.
Can you whitewash brick with a paint sprayer?
Yes, you can whitewash brick with a paint sprayer by watering down the paint and spraying it on the brick.
How much does it cost to spray paint a brick house?
Depending on the paint you use, you should expect it to cost between $1.50 and $4 per square foot. This means that a whole brick house could cost anywhere from $3,500-$10,000, depending on the area being painted.
Spray paint works well on porous brick and can be used to cover large surfaces quickly. The texture will be different compared to traditional painting techniques, but it should still give you a thick and even coverage. Hopefully, this guide has helped explain the benefits of spray-painting brick, and you now feel more comfortable doing it yourself.