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Carssson 06-17-2009 08:13 PM

Paint the brick or not? Redo walkway? ADVICE PLEASE!
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Hi! I would really appreciate some advice. I have provided a pic.
So here is what I am debating and have in mind:
To paint the brick or not? We recently painted the trim and gutters an off white... looks fresh. So, as for the brick, should I paint at all? And if so, what color? I was thinking a grey to go with the trim the way it is. All the houses are ranch style in our neighborhood, and our neighbor was the first to paint his house. They did a cream color with black shutters, with a slate walkway... they modernized it and it looks great. We shouldn't match there color though.

Beyond that, I want to dig out all the monkey grass. I would like to take out the azaleas and move them to the backyard. There is a walkway behind the azaleas, I am going to take that out. Basically I will have an entirely new slate to work with. I am going to curve a walkway from the driveway to the front entrance. If we keep the brick I am going to use a flagstone sandstone/clay variation stone. I am going mortar it to the concrete base leading up to the door, and then the walkway will be dry set... just gravel and sand.

We have a narrow driveway, so we need some stepping stones along the side (we have slate right now, which doesn't go with the brick).

So my main questions:
1. Paint? What color?

2. What color stone would you use if I did paint? My flagstone would be great with the brick, but should I look into slate or something for the walkway if I paint the brick. Would that be too much grey if I went with grey paint?

3. Should I make the walkway go along the entire driveway for when we get out of the car? Or just use the same color as the walkway and just have stepping stones along the driveway? (I know that would save material). Should I use a pea rock to go in between the stones? Or just gravel/sand

4. What plant them should I go with? Japanese maple, azaleas, ?

5. What would you do?!

Thanks a lot for your time, any opinion is appreciated.

Sorry the pic isn't the best.


glennjanie 06-17-2009 09:11 PM

Welcome Carson:
In my experience brick is the only maintnance free siding. Once it is painted it has to be repeated every 8 years at the most. And, brick doesn't hold paint well; it chips and peels like crazy.

locknut 06-21-2009 05:17 AM

Why people paint brick is beyond me. I do not know of a better siding than brick in its natural state. I'd be content with a poured concrete walkway, but for looks I'd go for a matching brick one.

PortlandTradesmen 06-21-2009 10:26 AM

As much as I agree with the above posts on the maintenance aspect. I think that in your situation I would want to paint the brick. I rented for a while in a neighborhood that was all brick ranch homes. Had I owned I would have wanted to be able to add a more personal touch and modern look.

As far as the painting goes. you'll want to make sure that you use a good primer. Go to a real paint store (not home depot or lowes) and ask them for a recommendation. If your spraying the paint make sure you back roll. This is an important step any time you use a sprayer but especially when you paint brick. You really want to work the paint into the brick. Also don't procrastinate in the future when it's time to repaint. Brick is much more difficult to prep once it starts to peal.

As far as the color goes that's a personal choice. I would just start noticing the houses you like the color of. maybe look at some home magazines. Seeing the color on the house and liking it is a much better indication than seeing a little color swatch under the florescent lights at the paint store.

Good luck.

Nestor_Kelebay 06-21-2009 11:12 PM

Please don't paint that brick.

As you are already aware, brick is a maintenance free surface. Why in the world would you want to paint over a maintenance free surface only to replace it with a painted surface that you'll need to repaint periodically. The people that designed your house with a brick exterior had good heads on their shoulders too, and I agree with their reasoning that a brick exterior would make for a good maintenance free surface.

If you do ultimately decide to paint, use a "masonary paint" intended for use over exterior masonary walls. Masonary paints are latex paints that use an acrylic binder that allows water vapour to pass through the paint, but not liquid water. That way, moisture that gets into your exterior walls (by seeping through electrical boxes or under baseboard moldings) and condenses to form water will be able to evaporate out of the exterior wall through the brick and paint coating.

If you use an ordinary exterior alkyd paint over that brick, then you could very well seal the exterior surface of your house, thereby trapping moisure in your exterior walls. If that happens, and you live in a latitude where water freezes in winter, you very well could ruin your house. That's because moisture would accumulate as frost in winter behind that impermeable alkyd paint during the winter. Then, come spring when that moisture melts during the day and freezes at night, you could have "spalling" of your bricks.

Spalling is what happens to brick (and all masonary) when it's wet and the water inside it freezes. That water wants to expand as it freezes, but the weight of the house on top of the wet brick or concrete helps prevent any vertical expansion of the masonary. The result is that the masonary cracks where it's weakest, which is near the exterior surface of the masonary where there is no force pushing on the masonary to prevent it from cracking. The result is that "flakes" of masonary break off the surface of the concrete or brick.

Thus, by painting the exterior of your house with an inappropriate paint, you're merely sealing the moisture into your exterior walls, and that moisture will continue to accumulate until your bricks are wet enough to start spalling in spring and fall when night time temperatures fall below 0 degrees C. The result being that small "flakes" of painted brick will fall off your house into the shrubbery below.

And, that's a truly excellent way to drop the value of your house to any prospective buyer who doesn't know why that's happening and how to prevent it.

So, don't paint. But, if you do paint, at least use a proper masonary paint that will allow the moisture that accumulates in exterior walls to evaporate out through that paint.

Post again if you want to know how masonary paints can allow H2O vapour to pass through them, but not H2O liquid.

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in solidarity with the freedom fighters on the streets of Iran

slownsteady 06-23-2009 05:58 PM

Dude, i'm for the brick. Give your house some personality with the trim; maybe put up a trellis, some fancy shutters, an interesting fashia.

before you take out the azaleas, cut them way back and see how they grow in. It could look fine as a nice, low trimmed planting.

Is it a concrete driveway?

Carssson 09-08-2009 04:50 PM

Okay guys, here is my before and after! I appreciate the advice. I know I was pretty broad with my ideas... but this is close to what I had in mind. If you can think of anything else (plants, etc)... let me know. I did this completely by myself. It was a lot of hard work (tile work on the stairs took the most time)... I used slate from a backyard patio to do the walkway. I spent about $250 for slate tiles and materials. I transplanted the maple tree from our back yard (just did it, waited for cooler weather)... probably spent around 200 for plants.

So this transformation cost me about $500!

The pinestraw around the tree and plants is going to add a lot I think... not quite done!

I would help anyone around Atlanta do this for a fourth of the price you would pay a contractor. I'm in college!

I also ruled out painting, thank god. Thanks for the advice and let me know what you think!


slownsteady 09-28-2009 02:56 PM

Awesome Job!

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