Brick: To paint or not to paint?

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Have you guys been following along with the amazing renovation/giveaway Andy and Candis Meredith have been doing? It is SO.GOOD. If you haven’t seen it, check out the videos on Facebook by searching “Win This House.”

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Their very last project in the series was a restoration of the exterior, and it did NOT disappoint! The late-1800s Victorian house has a brick exterior that was painted long ago, and instead of adding yet another coat of paint, the Merediths had it stripped down to the original clay bricks using chemical strippers and a lot of scraping. What a transformation. Here’s a before shot:

Remember a few years ago when painting a brick house seemed like a novel idea? Then Chip and Jo came along and won over all of us who were skeptical about painting a brick house. Now that painted brick is pretty ubiquitous, the Merediths did the reverse and stripped a house down. And again we remember why we liked brick in the first place.

The project reminded me of this house my uncle owns and rents out. When he bought it, the brick was painted, and he used a sandblaster to remove the paint. I had never heard of anyone doing something like this, and I was totally smitten with the idea.

I hope that someday someone will remove the paint from this sandstone mercantile called “the Merc” in the tiny town where I grew up. Sandblasting would probably be a bad idea for this building because sandstone is soft, but man! It would be beautiful if the layers were peeled back (including the boards covering those enormous storefront windows). Imagine a huge lighted tree peeking through at Christmas! If someone doesn’t save that building, it’ll be a real shame.

Sorry, I digress.

What are your feelings on painted brick? Are there some instances when it’s a good idea and others when it’s a no-go? What about brick inside? If it’s in the house, do you like it painted or not? I’d love to hear. •

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3 thoughts

  1. YES THE MERC! Love that it’s made an appearance.
    I love the look of white brick, but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to paint over unexposed brick. I assumed that would be undoable, so I’m amazed it can be done. Seems nerve wracking and like a lot of work to me!
    Question: Are there easy ways to refresh or clean exposed brick? Our exposed red brick fireplace is sooty in some parts and seems like it’s got a thin layer of white over other parts (maybe paint or dust from renovations). Actually, I should try a really good dusting and maybe just a quick wipe with a wet cloth – maybe that would help?

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    1. I would try wiping it with a damp cloth first. I don’t know what your brick is like, but when we are too aggressive with ours, the mortar starts crumbling, so that’s no good. The brick in your apartment is what dreams are made of!

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