Painting Interior Brick

Painting interior brick can significantly brighten up a room. Painting brick requires the same basic fundamental steps as most other materials:

  • Wash/Preparation
  • Prime
  • Paint

Cleaning a Brick Wall

A brick wall, like other surfaces needs to be free from contaminants before primer and paint can be applied. In many cases, a careful cleaning with a broom and vacuum may be sufficient. If a brick wall surrounds a fireplace opening, it most likely needs a more thorough cleaning. Either tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) or laundry detergent is an effective cleaner for removing smoke and soot. Both products can be mixed at 64:1, warm water to cleaning agent or ¼ cup of cleaner per gallon of water. A nylon scrub brush works well for scrubbing uneven surfaces such as brick. Use one or more dampened knit rags to wipe away the loosened soot. Frequent rinsing may be necessary for areas with excessive smoke deposits. Care should be taken to protect all adjacent surfaces from damage. Some painter’s plastic is a good way to shield the floor from water stains.

Priming Brick

Once the cleaning has been completed and the brick is completely dry, the primer coat can be applied. It is best to use a good quality, all purpose acrylic primer on masonry surfaces such as brick. There are many quality all purpose primers available. We often use ICI Gripper or Devoe Primz 220 for this type of application.

Prepping Brick

After the primer is completed, inspect the brick wall and especially the mortar joints for cracks and loose mortar. It is much easier to see any damage after the primer has been applied. Loose mortar can easily be chipped away with a hammer and small chisel. Use quality elastomeric caulk to fill cracks and areas where loose mortar has been removed. Be sure to wipe away excess caulk with a damp cloth. You may want to use foam backer rod for cracks wider than ¼ inch that are too deep to fill with caulk. Big Stretch caulk also works well for larger cracks.

Painting Interior Brick

When the caulking has completely dried, the paint coats can be applied. A quality interior latex paint is a good choice for properly primed brick. In fact, you may decide to use the same paint on the brick as you use on the other walls in the room.

A brick wall can be primed and painted with either a paintbrush and roller or an airless sprayer. An airless sprayer equipped with a 015 spray tip is a good choice for this type of application. If the job is relatively small or you do not have access to a sprayer, a paintbrush and roller will get the job done. Use a 2-1/2 or 3 inch nylon/polyester paintbrush and a combination lambskin/synthetic roller ranging from ¾ inch to 1-1/2 inch depending upon the roughness of the brick wall.

Return to interior painting

Return from painting interior brick to house painting advice


Professional Painting, Inc. is a full service painting company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988.