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If you currenlty have a house that is part brick and part siding (as opposed to all brick)... paint it. If it's all brick with only wood trim accents, get a designers opinion. If painting, be sure to use a premium bonding latex primer (like Gripper) and finish coat. It'll make the house appear bigger and cleaner. Most moisture will work its way through premium latex finishes and if it's enough moisture coming through the wall to deteriorate brick or cause your paint to peel, you've got a bigger issue to address.
It is perfectly fine to paint brick. Here are some things to consider. You need to clean it fiirst. I recommend a thorough power wash with a 25 degree tip. Keep the nozzle back at least six inches while you are doing this. Then, you need to rub your fingertips across the brick and mortar. If a lot of particles are dislodged, you need to apply a masonry conditioner. This will help bind the particles together. If no particles, or very few, are dislodged, then apply a masonry primer. Remember to let the surface dry for at least three days after the powerwash. You are forcing water throught the brick and it will take a few days for it to dry. After the primer or conditioner has dried, apply a high quality latex or elastomeric paint. You will enjoy your work for many years.
One proviso: Do not paint the brick if it is horizontal like the top of a planter. That will peel and very quickly. However, painting on brick on sidewalls is perfectly fine.
I woulld consult with a professional painting company for more information., however in my experience when encountering brick chimneys which have been painted, I have seen cases where moisture was trapped behind the paint causing the brick to deteriorate and flake off. Again, a painting company may be able to recommend a specific paint that will be appropriate for this application. Hope this helps!
Eric Consuegra, Arocon Roofing and Construction, LLC
What is the wall construction of the home?
Before making a recommendation about painting, you have to know what the vapor permeance and structure of the wall is. Improper placement of a vapor retarder can have disatrous implications.
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