Brick is a popular building material but can sometimes be challenging to work with. But brick doesn’t always look its best after years of wear and tear or when it has been stained by the elements. Although there are many different ways to refresh your bricks, none is as easy as blackwashing them.
Well, the critical question is, how can you black wash brick? The easiest way to black wash brick is to purchase a rust converter, which can be applied with a paintbrush. A rust converter changes the surface of new or weathered red bricks so that they appear darker. It’s essential to use one without lead, as it could produce toxic fumes during application.
So, if you want your bricks looking fresh again, you can blackwash your brick in your next project and get that vintage aesthetic look without all the hassle of painting. Before that, let’s take a look at what blackwashing is.
What Is Black Washing?
Blackwashing is the process of applying oil-based paint to bricks that will turn them from their natural color to dark gray or charcoal. It’s very similar to staining wood.
This technique has been used in Europe since medieval times for both aesthetic and practical purposes. In fact, it has turned out to be great for warding off insects like mosquitoes or giving the building protection against fire, moisture, and wind damage.
The key steps are: cleaning the brick with soap and water (or use baking soda), sanding down any rough spots on the surface of the bricks, using a wire brush if needed, then drying it off with a towel. Sounds easy enough, but we’ll make it even easier for you with a step-by-step tutorial in the following section.
How to Black Wash a Brick Fireplace
There are many ways to blackwash a brick fireplace. One way is to use paintbrushes, dish soap, water, and blackboard paint. First, paint the brushes with the soap and then dip in the water and brush across the brick surface three times before stroking it with paints until the desired effect has been achieved.
Blackwashing is becoming increasingly popular as it provides homeowners with the opportunity for inexpensive DIY projects. It’s a great way to give your fireplace a rustic yet modern look without having to spend the time or money on an expensive makeover.
With just some basic supplies found around the house, anyone can turn their old brick fireplace into something unique and special. So, here is a step-by-step guide to how anyone can blackwash their fireplace with ease.
- Drop cloths
- Brush or scrub
- Black interior flat paint
- Chip Brush
- Lint-free piece of clothes or rags
- Disposable gloves
Step 1: Clean The Brick
The brick needs to be cleaned before using black wash. This will seal in the mortar, protect the bricks from etching and rusting, and remove dust and dirt particles. Therefore, you’ll first need to use a damp sponge or brush and white spirit, which helps dissolve oil-based soot.
Further, the soot is then washed away with water by scrubbing with your sponge or brush in circular motions while applying pressure. Finally, when finished cleaning the whole fireplace, don’t forget to rinse it all off with fresh water thoroughly. This helps you get rid of the residue left on areas you may not have reached while cleaning.
You can also apply a chemical cleaner to kill the bacteria or break down grime if you wish. Whatever way you choose, make sure to wait for it to dry before you begin to apply paint.
Step 2: Apply A Coat Of Paint
To blackwash a brick fireplace requires very fine paint. You’ll want to use oil-based paint and make sure it’s the highest quality. Oil-based paints are best for touching up grime or chipping on any kind of surface.
While painting, our best advice is to apply a small amount of the paint to one brick and wait. Paint that runs off or dries on the brick will not be able to cover the face of all those bricks unless you use really thick coats of paint, so a patch test is a great way to make sure your paint is up to the task.
The drying time for some paints can take 24 hours, so by waiting until it’s dry, you’ll know if more needs to be applied.
Apply the black paint mixture to bricks using a chip brush. Moreover, this entire process must be done in two-foot sections since it can be difficult for larger areas. However, keep an eye on how much water you add to your acrylic-based paints.
If you add too little, they’ll dry up before application. Alternatively, if you add too much, the mortar will reduce the absorption capacity. After you have finished with the coating, dab the excess paint off with a lint-free cloth.
Step 3: Let Dry For 24 Hours
It’s never a good idea to apply more than two coats of paint consecutively on any surface. Then, of course, you’ve got to let the paint dry completely overnight, but don’t worry; even if it feels dry right away, bricks are porous and will continue to absorb that fresh coat of paint for a while.
So make sure you give your workspace one more look over before deciding whether or not you want another layer on top. If you decide you want a second coat, know that it will go on much quicker than the first.
Step 4: Apply Sealant
Applying a clear coat of sealant or wax on top of the paint after it’s dry can protect it from damage that will likely occur over time. However, paints may chip and scratch during daily use. Moreover, having a hard scratch-resistant surface is worth the extra money to avoid this type of frustration and extra work later.
It is also helpful for covering minor imperfections or missed spots in your paintwork. Not to mention, clear sealants also create a surface resistivity that prevents the absorption of dirt and oils by the brick.
Finally, wait for one or two days to let it dry. You will get the desired blackwash fireplace without investing a lot in the products.
How to Black Wash a Brick House?
The idea behind any blackwash is to absorb the light being reflected off the brick’s surface and therefore darken it. This can be done with black acrylic or latex paint. However, ordinarily, people choose to use masonry paint that has been diluted with water so that it does not build up too dark on top of the bricks.
Not to mention, the first step will always be to grab a power washer and go over the brick with a concentrated spray of water to clean it.
Blackwashing your brick house can offer many benefits. It protects it from corrosion, updates the look with just one coat of paint (or more), makes it easier to clean, and helps you save money on future repairs.
Furthermore, it’s essential to realize that this process can take time because it needs 24 hours after painting for the blackwash to dry entirely before the rain hits it. Otherwise, water may penetrate porous bricks and cause more damage than just discoloration from wetting.
Blackwashing a Brick House
It’s essential to first identify whether your brick needs a black wash in order to hide the mortar separating the bricks that form the joints. Therefore, scan your house for any cracks or missing bricks and repair these before applying a black wash.
Check the brick color to see if you need to cover stains completely. The more area required, the bigger the brush size will be. Dip a moist sponge into the blackwash paint and then apply to your brick wall or another surface.
Work on one section at a time and use a scrubber pad (such as an old rag or paper towel) submerged in clean water for any stains that can not be reached by brush.
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