Painting exterior brick - soft Mexican clay

samwich538November 6, 2012

My house in North Texas, built 1973, has a combination of 40-y/o wood siding (replacing in phases with terratone Hardie) and brick.

The brick is described as "soft Mexican clay type brick." It's pretty common in this area on houses built in the 1970s.

The brick itself is not attractive (don't picture beautiful weathered reddish-pink brick, this ain't that!) and I'm considering painting it. Because the exterior is a mix of siding and brick, the brick sections are fairly manageable as a series of DIY projects - say, 10' x 12' on average.

I'm very comfortable with interior paint, drywall, etc. Haven't painted exterior before, though.

The pic show you what it currently looks like. The white chalky stuff is thick and I think it's old paint that I will need to scrape off everywhere it's loose. Some of the bricks are also cracked as shown.

I'm thinking that I would tackle one section at a time as follows::

  1. hand scrub (nervous about powerwashing bc the brick's pretty soft)

  2. let it dry for several days

  3. repair any cracks in brick

  4. repair any missing mortar

  5. Apply 2 coats of latex masonry primer (Loxon?)

  6. paint with 100% acrylic elastomeric flat paint with combo of roller and brush

Some questions:

Does this sound like the right process? What steps am I missing?

What to use to repair cracked bricks?

One suggestion was to caulk minor cracks and use block filler for more extensive damage. Good idea or bad idea?

Appreciate any other tips and ideas, too!

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I'd recommend using a mineral paint/lime paint product. It breathes, will not flake off (bonds to masonry because itself is mineral) and of course is zero-VOC and a 100% natural product. Since the brick is unpainted, you can escape the never-ending maintenance ordeals of any oil or acrylic paint application.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:31PM
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Interesting idea - you mean like Keim? Are there other brands besides Keim?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Virginia Lime Works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lime Paints

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:55AM
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samwich538, what did you end up doing? i too am in the north tx area. house built in '69 with mexican brick which is showing it's age.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Definitely don't put an acrylic or latex product on soft brick. It traps a bit of moisture and the brick goes bad in a hurry.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 11:01PM
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