Brick Stain Vs. Painting Brick

If you are looking to refresh your brick fireplace or the brick exterior of your home, you may be considering staining or painting the brick. Before you get started, it is important to understand what all is involved in brick staining versus brick painting and to make sure you have the right tools and materials to get the job done and achieve the desired results.

Brick Stain Facts You Need to Know

Before you get started staining, you will need to determine what type of brick stain is right for your project. You will then need to gather all the necessary tools and materials you need to get the job done. In most cases, the hardware store will provide you with stain samples so you can test and mix products to ensure you get the right shade for your brick.

The two main types of brick stain include:

Premixed stains with sealant – With this type of stain, you will get a watertight coating. This may sound like a great idea, but over time it could lead to water damage. This is recommended for small areas or for damaged or porous brick. When you add a sealant to brick, it creates a vapor barrier and traps the moisture in the bricks, in the winter when the water freezes, it can cause the brick to crack if the water can’t evaporate.
Water-based stain – This stain is recommended for the majority of projects. Water-based stains are easy to apply, allow for breathability of the brick, and prevents water build-up.

Painting a brick wallOnce you’ve chosen the type of stain you want to use, you will need to gather materials such as:

  • Drop cloths
  • Rags
  • Paintbrush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Hose
  • Power washer
  • Soft brush

How to Use Brick Stain

To get started, you will first want to clean the brick and check if there is any existing sealant that needs to be removed. You can do this by throwing a cup of water onto the brick’s surface and looking to see if it beads up and runs off. If it does, you will need to wash away the existing sealant before you stain the brick.
The sealant can be removed using lacquer thinner. If there is no sealant, you will still need to wash the area down with a mild detergent and water before staining.

Once you have washed the area down, put down drop cloths to protect the surrounding area and make sure to put on protective clothing and safety glasses before you get started. BE sure to put painter’s tape over areas that you do not want to stain.
If you are mixing the stain colors to get your desired shade, be sure to carefully measure and write down the amounts of each color to ensure your color is consistent across the area you are staining.

Now that you’ve prepped the area and mixed your stain, you’re ready to get started. You will want to apply the stain using a brush in a single smooth motion across each brick. If you are painting a brick surface that has no material in between the bricks, brush in overlapping strokes to cover each surface twice.
You can use the corner of the brush to touch up spots as you go, and for more consistent color, be sure to stir the stain each time you dip the brush in. You also want to brush the stain onto the bricks in a scattered pattern, rather than all in a row for a more natural look. If you make a mistake or you have drips, be sure to clean them up immediately with a damp rag.

Should I Stain or Paint My Brick?

Staining brick is a straightforward process, but you may still be wondering if painting your brick is a better option for your home. If you have decided to stain your brick, but you’ve realized you can’t remove the sealant from the brick, painting the brick could be your only option.
If you are set on staining your brick, consult with the professionals at MasterBrush Painting today. Our team of professional painters has the expertise and the skills to remove the sealant for you and help you achieve the stained brick look you desire.

Let the Professionals Handle all Your Staining and Painting Needs

Don’t worry about the hassle of trial and error with staining or painting, let your local Pittsburgh experts at MasterBrush Painting handle all of your brick staining needs. Contact us today to learn more!

Henry Weber
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