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lucymiella 11-03-2012 10:35 AM

Painting exterior brick - soft Mexican clay
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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 pix show you what it currently looks like.

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) apply a coat of Zinsser Gardz
4) repair any cracks in brick
5) repair any missing mortar
6) Apply 2 coats of latex masonry primer (Loxon?)
7) paint with 100% acrylic elastomeric flat paint with combo of roller and brush

Some questions:

1) There is a fairly thick white layer on many of the bricks, like in picture B and D. I'm wondering if it's an old paint layer. It seems much too thick to be efflorescence.

If it's loose, I'm sure I need to get it off before I do anything else. Best way to do this? I'm thinking stiff putty knife?

If it's solidly attached, is it OK to leave it there? Can I sand it down if it's really bumpy but still firmly attached?

2) What to use to repair cracked bricks? (like the one in picture A)

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!


Brushjockey 11-03-2012 11:31 AM

First- Gardz is for interior apps, don't use outside. But there is a similar penetrating clear made for outside work called Peel Stop ( not Peel Bond- also a great product, but works completely differently)
The white looks to me like old paint, you have the basic idea of how to deal with it.
A hose and a brush on a stick, maybe like a car washing brush, should get old dust and dirt off without causing damage.
Cracks- since you are not in a heavy freeze thaw area where water in there would help them fall apart- if you get some of that Peel Stop into them to seal them up it might not be needed to fill. But that becomes more aesthetic- your call.
The masonry primer is a different idea that the Peel Stop. Masonry primer lets the brick breathe more, the PS seals it. Use one or the other.
Elasto would be fine- might be overkill- but I think there are going to be better informed opinions on that than I have- Don't do much ex anymore.

lucymiella 11-04-2012 11:44 AM

Yep, the white stuff comes off in thick solid flakes so I have to think it's paint or another coating applied over the brick.

OK, I've used both Peel Stop and Peel Bond for different projects, so I understand the diff. Hadn't even thought about Peel Stop when I mentioned Gardz.

It's very dry here most of the year, and we really don't have intense/frequent freeze/thaw cycles with lots of moisture (AKA snow/ice/sleet) involved - I'm wondering if masonry primer wouldn't be better than actually trying to seal the brick.

Any ideas?

Also - what's my best bet product-wise to patch cracked or missing grout?

Any technique suggestions?

Brushjockey 11-04-2012 12:56 PM

I might think the Loxon might be the way to go. Its made for porous materials. If you have a high ( over 50% ) amount of space covered with the paint, it is no longer so porous, so that might change things.
Not sure what to tell you about the grout, other than some patching cement or just grout. Since you are painting, doesn't matter if the color doesn't match.

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