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How to Stain Brick

You want to update the look of your brick house, but have heard the horror stories about why you shouldn't paint brick. Luckily, brick staining is a natural, eco-friendly solution that won't harm your brick or decrease your home value. Let's dive in on how to stain brick, the permanent way.

Step #1 - Make sure your brick is stainable

A true brick stain is long-lasting because the pigments embed themselves into the masonry pores, like a tattoo would on your body. If the masonry is sealed or has low absorption, our brick stain will not be able to chemically bond with it well, and we do not recommend using our product.

To check your masonry's absorption, pour a little water on the wall. If the water beads off it and doesn't darken the wall, you have low absorption. If the wall absorbs the water, and the wall darkens until it is dry, you should be able to successfully stain brick.

How to test if your brick can be stained
Successful Water Test for Brick Absorption

Reasons for low brick absorption: You may have some form of sealant applied to your surface. We recommend trying to remove any sealant with lacquer thinner. Repeat the water test, and if your surface retains moisture, your wall can be stained. However, some sealants may be too strong, so you can repeat the process with a commercial grade brick or concrete sealant remover to remove any sealant. If the wall still does not retain any moisture, then, unfortunately, a brick dyeing product may not be right for you.

Step #2 - Identify your brick stain goals

Now that you know your brick can be stained, what are you trying to achieve? Whitewashing brick, or black brick with black mortar stain? There are endless colors of brick stain to choose from. If you're not sure, do some research on different brick homes for inspiration.

Next, how large is the area that needs stained? This can be an entire house brick stain, or it can be something as simple as one small exposed wall, or a brick fireplace stain. The amount of area will define which kit/how much pigment you need.

Step #3 - Develop brick stain colors

A true brick stain is translucent, so the original brick color affects the final result. The life and texture of the brick will remain, so think of the brick stain and the brick as two colors you're mixing for the final brick stain color. There's no set brick stain color chart with a true, permanent brick stain.

Example: To change red brick to burgundy, you’d add blue.

Other helpful hints:

2. Take notes on the brick stain color you like so you can accurately recreate the recipe

3. Start small with 1/2-1 level teaspoon of brick staining pigment. You can always add more, but can’t take it out after it’s been added.

Step #4 - Create a brick staining test panel

Coming up with the right brick stain color for your project is a process of trial and error. Because of that, we highly advise that you create a test area in order to test out both recipes for your brick stain colors, and to get a taste for what the end result will be. Using painters tape, tape off a section in a low visibility area that includes at least 10 brick. Once you're happy with the color in the test area, you can move on to completing your project.

Step #5 - Apply the brick stain

Tips for Brick Staining:

1. Make sure to drain your paint brush well! Think of it like the brick is drinking the stain - it needs to absorb into the pores to be effective. Very little brick stain is required to make a significant color change: don’t slap on the stain like you're painting brick.

2. Stain the whole brick in one smooth stroke to avoid creating lines from overlapping brush strokes. The side of the brush can be used to touch up parts that you miss with the single stroke.

3. For a tighter range of brick tint color, you’ll most likely stir, dip and drain the brush every 1-3 brick. For wider ranges of brick dye colors, you’ll only stir, dip and drain every 4-7 brick. Re-dipping too often and not draining well enough are the leading causes of the product being applied too heavily.

4. Keep a wet cloth nearby to quickly remove excess product if you applied it too heavily, or in case you accidentally stain something you don’t want to.

How To Stain Masonry Videos:

Are you ready to stain your masonry?

Masonry Cosmetics offers a full line of do-it-yourself kits for your brick stain project, no matter the size. Shop DIY Kits

Still have questions? Contact us for a free consultation, and our professional color specialists will help you every step of the way.


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