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Exterior House Painting Tips: Brick and Cinder Block Painting

Exterior House Painting Tips: Brick and Cinder Block Painting

Have you ever had the experience of watching a true expert perform some task, making it look effortless and simple, only to find the process messy and difficult when you tried it yourself? Maybe it was a recipe, or a sport, or a nifty Pinterest craft. Exterior painting can be a similar experience. When you watch someone who really knows the process, you might be tempted to think, "How hard could it be?" It takes skill, knowledge, practice, and patience, however, so be careful not to race ahead! Take the time to learn and practice, so you can get the results you desire. Here are some tips for painting exterior bricks, cinder block, and other masonry surfaces.

Step 1: Only Paint What Is Clean and Dry

One of the best ways to ensure disaster is to paint a wall that is dirty and/or wet! 

If your exterior wall is only dirty with a bit of dirt, cobwebs, and similar dry matter, it is probably sufficient to give the wall a thorough sweeping. Start from the top and work your way down. Be systematic so you don't miss any spots, and make sure you get all the mortar lines in the joints between the bricks or blocks.

In many cases, exterior brick, concrete, and block walls have material on them that is harder to remove, such as mildew, lichen, bird droppings, and so on. In this case, the best plan is to spray the walls with a fungicidal wash, use a scrub brush to clean the dirtiest areas, then rinse it all off with a pressure washer. This is best done by a professional, as an inexperienced do-it-yourselfer can end up hurting somebody or damaging the surfaces.

After washing the exterior walls, give them a good amount of time to dry before painting. Since a pressure washer drives water into the pores, it may take 2-3 dry days before the walls are ready.

Step 2: Apply the Proper Primer

Typical exterior house paints will never adhere to masonry surfaces, such as bricks or cinder blocks. Instead, you must begin with a block filler primer. This thick, goopy paint soaks into all the pores and seals them, so that you have a solid, durable surface that your exterior paint can adhere to.

Use a good quality exterior paint roller with a thick nap (meaning long fibers) and apply the primer in a thick layer. However, be careful not to make it so thick that it drips and puddles. Use a wide exterior paint brush to prime near edges and in areas where the roller has trouble filling in the recesses. 

Step 3: Apply the Top Coat

Once the primer has dried, you can choose an elastomeric top coat, or a regular exterior acrylic/latex paint. The elastomeric paint offers the advantage of being highly flexible and thoroughly waterproof. This offers better protection where seasonal changes cause expansion and contraction, and where water is a concern. On the other hand, acrylic/latex paints are also flexible, and are designed to stand up well against the forces of nature. Whichever you choose, go with a premium quality line of paints for the longest lasting results.

For large areas, a paint sprayer is the most effective and efficient application technique. Many home improvement and tool rental companies offer these at a reasonable daily rate. Just be sure to use a brush near the edges, and use tape and plastic sheeting to protect anything you don't want to get paint on!

Whether you use a brush and roller, or you spray on your exterior paint, it is better to apply multiple thin layers than to try to do it all with one thick coat.

Williams Professional Painting

If you live in northern Virginia or the Washington, D.C. area, we would encourage you to get a free painting estimate from Williams Professional Painting. There is no pressure or commitment, and that way you can have all your questions answered, allowing you to fully consider all your options. Having your home professionally painted offers you more convenience and time savings, as well as more reliable, enduring results.

Williams Professional Painting has been serving Alexandria, Virginia, and the surrounding area since 1979. We have built our reputation on excellent customer service and superior painting results. Call us today - you'll be glad you did!

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