Ok, I am not sure if anyone else has this problem. I have a actual brick wall in my bedroom that does not go with any ideas I come up with when it comes to redecorating it. Can I plaster over it and smooth it out to I can paint it. Or do I really have to put sheet rock over it?
Hey there Sheri,
Thanks for joining our community!~
No, you're definitely not alone on this one! = ) We've had a couple discussions about re-vamping fireplaces on here before and I think we've got just the solution for you.
Brick certainly doesn't go with every decor style and I'm sure that you might have a style that calls for something a bit less "rustic" shall we say. Now while you could technically cover it up with drywall and hide it, I've always found that brick makes an awesome accentuator for any decor. Brick is an automatic attention-grabber, even if it's been painted. You walk into the room and *bam* thats what you see first. I've found it's best to use this to your advantage, and place something you really want to highlight, like a shelf or picture, on the brick. That way it becomes the focal point of the room, while distracting everyone from the brick as well! = )
As far as getting it painted, there are a few key steps you'll want to make sure you follow. I've done a whole write up on the steps in our topic, Painting brick, so you can view the complete listing there. Make sure that you clean the walls well; the tsp solution that I call for in the topic works great for this. That's key because you need good adhesion, especially on brick.
Second, I like to keep the character of the brick, even if I'm painting it. What I mean by that is, if you have a multicolor brick with some lighter and some darker, you may notice that it takes a bit more paint to cover up that darker color. For me personally, I like to keep the slightly un-uniform tones if at all possible. Now this shouldn't be taken as "skimp on the paint and make it thin," but if you notice that happening on your 2nd coat...take a minute to step back and see how it looks...you may end up liking the slight variation!~
I hope this helps you out!~ = ) Give us a shout if you have any other questions on it or to let us know how it goes.
To answer you question of whether you can "plaster" directly to brick: it is not generally a good idea. Plaster has little insulation value and it might be a problem if the wall does not have a good vapor barrier integrated in it. I am assuming that this is a solid brick wall and not merely a veneer of brick someone put up. Also, for you to do this as a DIY project is not as simple as it seems. Should you want a smooth wall, it would be better to fur it out and integrate ridgid foam insulation into the wall. In the end, it would be no more work and result in a far better wall. I am also assuming this wall is above grade and exhibits no past moisture problems.
I suspect that what you really object to is the "heavy" dominance of this wall, probably largely due to its color. If this is the case, lightening the wall up with paint would make the wall less dominant.
Assuming that the brick is not covered with years of soot or nicotine, the brick can be primed with a general water based primer such as Kilz2 and then painted with an interior acrylic wallpaint, after a good vacumning. You don't indicate that this is a fireplace wall. Washing the brick down should not be neccessary. It would probably take two finish coats over the primer to get a nice even look.
A nice white brick would look nice in contrast to any color on the other walls. If the other walls have a distinct , relatively strong color, it might be interesting to give the brick a slight glaze coat, taking a little of the other walls color to tint the glaze. A glaze is typically made by mixing one part paint into 4 parts glazing liquid. It is then rolled/brushed on. It can be applied evenly and left as is, or it can be wiped off with rags, allowing the glaze to get trapped in all the mortar joints and uneveness of the brick.
Of course, the brick may be painted with the other walls if you wish to de-emphasize it. However, I personally feel the wall is a decorating asset. It would make a great backdrop for pictures and other wall hangings. Track lighting shining down on the wall would both highlight your pictures or items of interest and cast interesting shadows from the texture of the brick.
It might be a case of taking a "lemon" and making lemonade!
Just one more thought in response to your question, "Can I plaster over it and smooth it out so I can paint it. Or do I really have to put sheet rock over it?"
The steps required to cover this wall with plaster expose you to extensive labor and the results are often not an even wall, but an irregular surface.
The way I read your question, it appears that your main goal is to "smooth it out."
The quickest way to create a smooth, paintable surface is to attach a framed wall to the brick and then cover it with sheetrock.
Based upon your project goals, this will most likely meet your expectations, complete quicker, and stay within your budget.
NOTE: This approach also maintains the original quality of the brick and could be a future sales point ... Imagine yourself saying to a prospective buyer, "There is a brick wall behind this sheetrock that could be easily revealed if you wish."