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Painting brick is a great way to mask bricks of lesser quality, and even ones that are damaged. It is safe to do, does not damage the brick, and is an inexpensive way to cover it up. Before you decide to paint it, ask yourself "Does the brick look good as it is?" If the answer is yes, consider deeply before you make the decision to cover it up. Once painted over, it requires a large amount of maintenance to keep it looking good, even though there are certain techniques and preparatory work that will assist it long-lasting.

If the bricks have white stains on them, this is called efflorescence. This is caused by salt deposits mixing with water. To remove this you can try to use a stiff brush on it, or diluted muriatic acid (although this does not always work). Be sure to protect your skin when applying this acid.

If you do choose to paint over the bricks, here's how:
. Scraper/Putty Knife
. Duster
. Acrylic/Siliconized Acrylic Caulk
. Bleach
. Stiff Brush
. Acrylic Paint/Elastomeric Paint
. Bucket
. Drop Cloth
. Paint Brushes (4in. Flat Brush, Rollers for large areas)

1. Eliminate efflorescence. Efflorescence is a white substance that builds up on bricks over time. Then with a scraper, widen any cracks that are there. Dust the area and the cracks. Use acrylic or siliconized acrylic caulk to seal the cracks.

2. If there is mildew, clean the surface with bleach. DO NOT SIMPLY PAINT OVER THE MILDEW! Let the bleach soak on the brick for about 15 minutes. Then remove the mildew with a brush.

3. Now you can prime the area as this will make the paint job look its best. Use a high quality exterior latex primer specifically for bricks or masonry surfaces, priming the efflorescence areas first (this may take a couple coats to cover up).

4. Get a high quality exterior acrylic latex paint. There are flat finishes, satin finishes, and semi-gloss finishes that may look nice. Elastomeric paint, a rubberized acrylic paint, is known for repelling water. Two coats of this works wonders!

5. If there is the possibility of lead paint on the surface/building, DO NOT SCRAPE OR SAND! Consult a lead specialist first.

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