Brick Staining vs Paiting

Many times each year we are asked to paint or stain brick. Interior and exterior. Let’s discuss brick staining vs painting.


I like the look of brick but sometimes change is good. I must admit, I still cringe a bit when asked to paint or stain a customers brick. Whether you stain or paint your brick bear in mind either approach should be considered a permanent decision.

Whether painting or staining, much of the approach is the same. The first step is to determine if the brick has a sealer on it. The easiest way to do this is by putting some water on the surface and see if the water beads up. If so the brick likely has a sealer on it. This you will want to remove. Easiest way to do this is by using lacquer thinner. You will want to wear eye protection and chemically resistant gloves. We often use scratchy pads and the lacquer thinner. It is easiest to do it a brick at a time and then wipe with a clean rag.

If staining the brick, you will need to decide if you want a water based or solvent based stain. The water based is easier to work with. The solvent based often has a sealant as part of it.


If painting the brick, you will want to use a primer first. On exterior brick we power wash the surface prior to using the primer. I like some of the better water based primers like Gripper. We use this product often.

When staining you will want to apply a uniform coat from top to bottom. It is also a good idea to give the stain a stir from time to time because the stains tend to separate. When painting you will want to apply 2 coats after priming. It is a good idea to scrub the coating in by brush into the porous areas like the mortar.

Between the two systems, brick staining vs painting, painting will prove to be more durable. It is also easier to change the color by repainting if you like.

Residential Painting

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A commercial property must always portray its best qualities

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