Remember when I promised a tutorial of how to paint brick and how to paint metal window trim on the exterior of your house? No, I’m sure you don’t. That’s because I just looked back at that post with the promise, and I said the tutorial would be “soon”. Apparently, in my world, two months is soon. Well “soon” is now “now” people. So let’s do this twofer tutorial (I love me some alliteration).
Before launching into this tutorial, here’s a before shot so you can see how painting brown brick and brown metal trim is not just a good idea, but can be a real necessity. And this pic is even with our new front door. Imagine it with our old brown door (of course it was brown, what other color would it be in this brown-on-brown-on-brown house of ours?).
How to Paint Brick
A few things you should know before starting to paint:
Painting will take longer than you think. Even if you are an interior painting pro, or even an interior brick painting pro, painting exterior brick is a whole different beast. Beast.
- Brick absorbs more paint than you thought possible.
- It is important to fill very single crack and crevice – leave no crack behind.
- Prep is more important than just about anything else you will do.
With those words of
wisdom warning behind us, let’s get started.
Step One: Prep your Area
Before starting, it is helpful to put down some tape and paper or plastic for a couple of reasons – one, to protect areas from getting goobed up with paint, and two, to keep grass and other debris from leaping into your new paint job.
For tape to adhere when working outside, get the special tape that is for concrete and masonry – it sticks so much better. You should also sweep up your hard surfaces so your paintbrush or roller doesn’t pick up debris and so your tape sticks. A little prepping of your space will make the rest of the job go much easier.
Step Two: Prep your Brick
Brick prep includes pressure washing and priming. Start with pressure washing – do not skip this step. You need to pressure wash your brick to get rid of any and all dirt, grime, moss, or anything else that could interfere with paint adhesion. But don’t get carried away with the pressure washing – if you do, you will end up with no mortar between your bricks. So use a low setting. The goal is to end up with mostly clean bricks and mortar.
Once your brick is pretty clean, allow it to dry for at least 48 hours. Brick is porous people, it absorbs water. That water will hinder your paint job. So be patient and wait for your brick to dry thoroughly before the next step. But don’t wait too long or you will have to pressure wash all over again. After you’ve pressure washed and given your brick time to dry, use some sort of primer or bonding agent that will help your paint stick. Here is what I used:
Use it. To apply, you should use a roller for the larger areas and a foam brush (or a paintbrush) for the edges. Beware: this stuff is like water, well, sticky water. It will run like crazy so start by applying it slowly and with only little liquid before you get the hang of it. Once you’ve gotten it down, you’ll see that it goes on milky and dries clear. Here is how it looked when I freshly applied it to the left section and it had just finished rolling the right like two seconds beforehand.
So once that is done, give it time to dry (24 hours is great) and then move onto paint.
Step Three: Paint your Brick.
Gather your supplies.
You will need a large nap roller and while this pic doesn’t show it, you should also have a smaller roller (7″) that has a large nap as well (3/4″ is great). My brick has lots of crevices, is totally uneven, and some of the bricks have weird gouges in them so I found that the smaller roller worked even better than the larger roller. Be sure to work the paint into every single crack and hole. No crack left behind.
You also will need to use a paint brush for the edges and to get into hard-to-reach-for-roller areas, like this:
You need to do two coats to get complete coverage, but that should be it!
How to Paint Metal Window Trim
Our window trim is made of metal – maybe aluminum? Or galvanized metal? I really don’t know so figured I should keep the description at “metal”. This process is easier than painting brick, but involves the same basics: prep, primer, and paint.
Step One: Prep Your Trim
Pressure wash your trim, just like you did with the brick (see above). Next you should prepare your metal to accept any paint, including primer, by using something to “etch” it. Muriatic acid is one option, but I went with this product from Drylok:
I like how it said “etch” on the label. So clear, so basic. Follow the directions on the back, which includes mixing some of the powder into warm water and applying it to your metal with a stiff brush. Wear gloves! Wait 30 minutes then remove with warm water. I did not want to bring out the pressure washer again so just used a warm washcloth, which worked just fine. Next, apply primer. I chose oil-based primer to get really good adhesion.
I used a small brush but depending on your area you can use a roller, if that would be easier.
Step Two: Paint
This one’s easy, just brush your paint onto the trim, do a second coat, and that’s it. Celebrate finishing the windows (but obviously not the brick) with a glass of wine, especially if you finish this after 9pm (hmmm, that may be my glass of wine that snuck into this photo).
Final notes on window trim paint. I prefer to use a semi-gloss finish – easier to clean and it looks so semi-shiny and lovely. Also, I mostly freehand painting the windows, but in a couple of tricky spots used tape to protect the surrounding area. Especially when using oil-based paint, beware that any stray paint may not be removable later.
Then just enjoy your hard work!
Anyone else have good tips for painting brick or metal trim? How about trying out different rollers until you see what works best for you? Feel free to share any good tips in the comments…