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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.
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