Bricks are one of the inevitable parts of the construction. Bricks have evolved vastly through time, from sun-dried mud and straw bricks to concrete bricks today. One of the most common construction brick types is the fire burned clay brick. Clay bricks have been the preferred choice for a long time, their rustic red color (try brick stain) providing a rustic and vintage look to buildings.
Bricks are much affected by the weather and age, with numerous changes occurring as they age. There is also a probability that you get bored with the natural brick coloring. For overcoming these problems, you can go for a brick stain or paint the bricks.
What is the difference between the two? And which one should you prefer?
Here, we shall answer these questions and learn all there is to know about the brick stain and its benefits.
What Is Brick Stain?
A brick stain is obtained when you change the color of the brick with a staining solution. Staining is done such that the brick is evenly stained and the stain penetrates the brick deeply.
There are two types of brick stain available –
- Water-based brick stain
This is the more popular option and easier to use. It provides a breathable coat of stain that prevents the buildup of water.
- Brick stain with Pre-mixed Sealant
This variant provides a water-proof seal and prevents the entry of water or moisture. However, it can have opposing effects. It is more suited for old bricks, which have greater breathability than newer bricks, especially for patching small spots.
Why Do You Need Brick Stain?
Staining your brick enhances its features and helps you retain the brick’s original characteristics while allowing you to customize with your choice of color. It is one of the most cost-effective, long-lasting, and versatile options for covering up repairs and getting your preferred color on the brick. Apart from these effects, brick staining is also a great way to elevate the curb appeal of your property.
Advantages of Brick Stain
Bricks need to breathe to prevent the accumulation of moisture inside the pores. If water seeps into the brick and gets trapped inside, it could freeze and expand, causing cracks in the brick. The water-based stain works like a dye and penetrates the brick, ensuring better breathability while also giving you a choice to choose your preferred color.
When you use paint or a sealant, you apply an airtight seal over the brick, which covers the pores and traps water or moisture inside the brick.
Cost is one of the main factors you consider, especially when it comes to home renovation solutions. You want to choose something affordable yet does not compromise on quality. With brick stain, the longer life when compared to paint makes it a cost-effective option.
While it may cost more depending on quality, you will not have to invest in staining for the next 5 or 7 years at least, making it worth the money spent.
Brick staining is offered at a wider price range, and the cost depends on multiple factors such as the area to be stained, the quality of the brick stain, and your region. For a better outlook on the value of getting a brick stain, check out the 2020 Brick Stain Cost Overview.
Fast and Easy
Brick staining is a fast and easy process, making it favorable among many. If you need to patch up a small spot or crack, you could always do it yourself easily, like many other homeowners. If it’s a complete home project, you could hire professionals who could get it done within a day. Thus, with the easier and faster staining process, you save up on time and money.
Lasts Longer Than Paint
A brick stain lasts for 7 to 10 years. With the ideal climate, it may last up to 20 years, fading away with age. Paint needs constant maintenance and lasts between 2 to 5 years. Then on, it starts chipping away, disturbing your construction’s aesthetic.
Retains the Natural Characteristics of the Brick
Today, many people prefer to use bricks purely for its rustic aesthetic appeal. Painting over the brick surface defeats this purpose, as the paint is a thick coat that takes over the natural texture and appearance of bricks. With brick stain, the thin solution penetrates the brick and retains your brick’s natural look and texture, regardless of the color used.
Brick Staining Vs. Painting
There are quite a few differences between staining and painting the brick. While paint lies on top of the brick, the staining solution penetrates the brick. Paint tends to cover the pores and traps water/ moisture inside the brick.
This water may freeze and expand to cause cracks in the brick. With staining, there’s better breathability and no clogged pores.
When we compare the life of brick stain and paint, staining is preferred as it lasts at least seven years and as long as 20 years. Paint lasts for a maximum of 5 years and eventually chips off. This creates an undesirable look that makes your building look older and unappealing. Whereas with brick stain, you are dealing with a slow fade over the years.
The lifetime also affects the cost in more ways than you expect it to. While both staining and painting can be expensive, over time, staining is the more cost-effective option as it lasts longer. With paint, you will need to replace or repaint more frequently than you would with stain.
Also, the staining solution covers more areas than the same amount of paint would do. This means you can even invest in a higher quality of brick stain for the same amount you would invest in paint that would last for approximately five years.
Overall, painting requires constant upkeep and maintenance as it is subject to decay. Brick stain lasts much longer, making it a better choice. For a detailed comparison of brick staining and painting, click here.
How To Stain Bricks?
There are two main parts to getting started with staining, the first is to ensure the necessary prerequisites, and the second is to apply the stain.
Prerequisite Steps –
Check the Water Absorbency of Brick
Splash some water on your brick. If the water runs off in beads, you cannot apply the brick stain as there may be a sealant used, or your brick may belong to the non-absorbent types of brick.
Remove the Sealant
If a sealant is applied, you need to remove it by applying lacquer thinner or commercial brick stripper. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to paint the brick instead of staining it.
Clean the Bricks
Wet the bricks well with water and scrub with diluted mild detergent. This helps remove dirt, stains, and mildew. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry fully before applying a brick stain. Hire professional help for pressure washing larger surfaces to prevent scarring and damage.
If your brick is heavily discolored, use gentle chemical cleaners. Avoid unbuffered muriatic acid for this purpose.
Ensure Ideal Weather and Temperature
Before beginning, make sure the brick is dry and clean. The ideal temperature for applying brick stain ranges from 25 to 110°F. Read the label as certain brick stains cannot be applied in hot or cold weather. Make sure you are not in an extremely cold or extremely hot setting.
For external brick surface staining, choose a day that is not windy to prevent dripping. More wind may also cause uneven drying.
Choose Your Preferred Brick Stain
There are two ways to purchase a brick stain, a local hardware store, or online. When buying in person, test samples and choose the perfect color of your liking; when buying online, choose a kit that comes with multiple colors so that you have the option to mix and get your desired shade.
There are two types of brick stains available, as discussed earlier. The water-based brick stain is recommended due to easy application and more room to breathe. Brick stain with pre-mixed sealant is essentially a water-tight coat over the brick.
It is suitable for small areas that experience prolonged exposure to water and for damaged bricks. In other cases, they tend to intensify eater damage.
Shield From Splashes
Protect yourself by wearing old clothes, gloves, and safety goggles. Keep a bucket of water close by or stay near a sink so that you can quickly rinse off any spills. Use soapy water for spills on the skin. If the stain gets spilled on your eyes, flush with water for 10 minutes.
If there are window sills, door frames, or other areas that you do not intend to stain, seal them off with painter’s tape. You can seal off mortar lines as well if you wish.
Mix the Stain
Find a suitable disposable container that can fit your brush for mixing the stain. Measure the right amount of water and add the stain to it in small amounts until you get the right shade. Stir in the pattern of number ‘8’. If you’re using multiple colors, note down the exact amount you use from each so that you can mix another batch if needed.
Application of Brick Stain –
Test Before You Apply
Before applying the brick stain, test it on a spare brick or at a corner and let it dry. Observe the color and make sure it’s the color you are going for. Since stains are permanent, this is a key step as you want to get the color right.
Dip and Drain Method
Use a paintbrush that is as wide as a brick. Dip it in the stain and press it against the container’s side, which drains any excess stain. When pressing against the wall of the container, use the wall nearest to you. Using the side opposite to you will cause splashes.
You can practice with water as a water-based brick stain has a similar consistency. If the surface is large, you can use rollers or sprayers, which will stain the mortar.
Applying the brick stain varies for brick-and-mortar type and a brick surface with no material between them. For the latter, use overlapping strokes to cover the surface twice. For the brick-and-mortar type, complete one brick in a single motion.
The recommended method is to stroke from left to right for right-handed people and goes from right to left for left-handed people. Any minor gaps in staining need to be touched up using the corner of the brush.
Dip and Stir
Every third or fourth stroke, dip and drain your brush. Dip and stir to ensure that the color is even. Do not stop staining midway for a brick unless necessary, as it will lead to an uneven coating.
Follow a Scattered Pattern
If you stroke brick stain in a row, you will get a darker shade at the beginning and a lighter shade towards the end. Row by row, staining leads a lighter shade by the time you finish your container. To avoid this disparity and for a better natural look, apply brick stain in a scattered fashion.
Always Clean Up Drips Immediately
Keep a damp rag in handy to clean up drips. Drips need to be wiped off immediately as they leave behind dark streaks once set, and these are hard to remove. To reduce drips, drain the brush at the side of the container.
If you were planning to stain the mortar a different color and the stain drips over it, you could scrape it off gently with a screwdriver.
Dry the Stain
The time taken for the stain to dry depends on humidity, temperature. Make sure the surface gets a good airflow as it accelerates the drying process.
DIY or Pro Service?
You could always fix up small spots and cracks by staining the brick and take it up as a DIY project. The easiness of handling a brick stain makes this possible. If you’re interested, you could even do the entire area as you wish.
For a better outcome and fewer labor efforts on your part, you could always hire a professional to do the job. This is the fool-proof method to ensure a mistake-free staining job.
Brick staining is a great way to retain your brick’s natural look and texture while getting your choice of groovy colors to select from. While people are often conflicted between brick staining and painting, it must be clear that brick stain is undoubtedly the better option. It lasts longer, provides better breathability, and comes in different colors. Brick staining also reduces water damage when compared to latex paint.
If you want a combination of rustic and modern, a brick stain is a perfect choice!
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