Spud Spikes for baking, grilling, and barbequing.

Treatments allow breathable water-repellent coating for bricks

QuestionWe recently purchased a home with a lot of brick work and it's "orange" in color. I don't want to paint it—only soften and gray the color. Are there any products available that will work? Please help me tone down this vivid color. Many thanks.

AnswerThanks for sending in the picture. I have to agree with you that the color is a little loud and outdated. The different color tones in the brickwork result from a combination of natural materials (clay composition), any added compounds, surface treatments, and firing temperature. I also noticed that color was added to the mortar. With all that going on, the walls look very busy, so softening the overall color could add new dimension to the home's curb appeal.

Tinting or staining brickwork is a common practice that has been used successfully for over 30 years. Tinting or staining bricks, however, is usually done by an professional.

Before beginning, it's important to prepare the brick and mortar. Because bricks, in general, are porous and can retain water, it's important that water from sprinklers not be directed at the walls. Also, do not allow snow during winter months to rest against the walls.

The bricks need to be thoroughly dry before beginning the project. Also, if the brick has been painted or has any other surface coating, the surface should be cleaned with a mild sandblasting or chemical treatment. I recommend having a professional handle this phase of the project. Examine carefully and repair mortar joints as needed.

The three products I recommend can be purchased through contractors' supply houses found under "Concrete Products" in the Yellow Pages. They should also be able to recommend a professional to handle your project.

  1. Nox-Carb is a penetrating, pigmented, water-repellant sealer/stain for interior and exterior concrete and masonry surfaces (www.nox-crete.com).
  2. Tamms Aquastain T-96 is a water-based, decorative, penetrating stain (www.tamms.com).
  3. Tamms Tammolastic is an elastomeric decorative and protective coating (www.tamms.com).

These treatments each carry a 10-year limited warranty and you can expect the finish to last at least 10 years. They all repel water and yet allow the substrate to breathe; if the coating didn't breathe, then during the winter months, water would migrate toward the (warm) interior walls. During warmer weather, water will be pulled to the (warm) exterior side causing the vapors to stain the surface and the coating (paint) to peel. It's very important to use a product that allows the substrate to breathe.

Penetrating stain products retain the natural texture of the masonry surface without leaving a "painted" look. Many standard and custom colors are available so ask for a color chart when you visit the contractors' supply houses. While penetrating stains will yield the color you seek, the uniformity of the overall color will be based on the existing color tones of the brickwork's surface, i.e., different color tones (light/dark) will be evident in the overall finished product. However, a protective coating will yield more uniformity than a penetrating stain when it comes to different colored bricks.

A primer is required before the finish coat can be applied. Tamms carries an H/P Primer specially formulated for concrete or masonry surfaces. It is milky white but dries clear with a slight gloss. It, too, creates a breathable barrier within the substrate surface.

Again, I recommend you contact a contractors' supply house for product information and that you contract with a professional for the project. I can't stress this enough, because if the job doesn't turn out as you expected, it could hurt the resale value of the home—and it could cost a fortune to correct.

Copyright © 2004, 2006, & 2007 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

[ Back to Top ]


C.R.S., Inc. · Spokane, Washington · USA

Copyright © 1998-2021 by C.R.S., Inc. and asktooltalk.com

AskToolTalk.com Tools and Articles