Exposed brick in a home can look great, but it can be hard to pull it off successfully. Striving for that loft-style look can be wishful thinking, as interior masonry and brickwork may need some help to look its best. In an ideal world, painting masonry indoors would be as easy as throwing some matt emulsion on the living room wall and letting it dry in.
Because masonry is a different surface entirely, if you make a slip-up when painting, you could be left with a paint job that needs touched up or reworked a few times to get right. You don’t want that.
Instead, you can avoid this entirely by getting to know what you should do if you want to paint masonry indoors. Let’s look at some of the key aspects to keep a note of and what will help your masonry look fantastic, especially if you’re trying to keep things bare and in good condition.
Have bricks? Wash them!
Before you even get to opening a paint can and dipping a brush in, you need to have a good check of interior masonry first. While masonry on the outside of your home is exposed to the elements, it has an easy enough time of protecting itself. It’s a slightly different story inside.
You always have to have it in the back of your head that bricks are porous and reactive to moisture changes. Sometimes water can get trapped in interior masonry if in a humid space like your kitchen. This can cause cracks and splits (which I’ll get to next!) and efflorescence to appear. If you have grey roof tiles or look over at a neighbours house, they may have some white chalky patches on slate and bricks. This is made up from salt left behind when water evaporates. While nothing to worry about outside, if you have areas inside showing efflorescence, it needs to be taken care of.
Get a wire brush and some soapy water (professionals use sugar soap) and give your brickwork a good clean. You want to remove any residue and let the wall completely dry before you paint or apply lacquer. If you are wondering what happens if you leave it be, your paint won’t adhere properly, and you could be left with visible lines and blotches.
Cover your cracks before you paint
If brickwork or masonry has had moisture get in, it may have caused some splitting over time. You would notice it as little lines and cracks. When using high gloss acrylic paints, you may get lucky and have the paint fill over the crack. But why take the gamble?
You can mix some sand and cement in there, or you can save time by using a reliable caulk or filler. Please don’t use the same products you might have lying around for grouting your kitchen counter or shower. Use a polyurethane caulk which will let you paint over afterwards, as some fillers take to paint like oil in water, i.e. not well at all.
Get a new roller
When you have masonry covering a large area, you will want to work to speed and get your primer and that first coat on as quickly as possible (if you are looking for a good deal on masonry primer, I recommend checking out The Paint Shed deals here). Many people make the mistake of buying the right paint without realising that the brush and roller play just as important a role in how well paint can be applied.
Most of us will have rollers with a short pile at home for working on interior surfaces. Shorter piles are great for flat surfaces like plastered walls as the roller’s shorter fibres hold less paint. This makes them a nightmare when working on masonry, as it has an uneven and deep surface.
Get yourself a long pile roller which can take more paint on the brush and help you work with rougher surfaces more easily.
Keep coats to a minimum
One final tip. Don’t go overboard with the number of coats you use on masonry. While you want the surface completely covered, even if you leave more than enough time for each coat to dry, anything above three is going to make it look thick on the wall. It can also end up with certain sections looking uneven the more coats you have on, as the roller will work differently.
If you are getting ready to paint masonry indoors, there is a good chance your room will need the skirting boards looked at too. Make sure you’re ready by reading this article on decorating tips and tricks for painting skirting boards.
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