Faux brick panels offer decorators and homeowners a way to bring an exterior finish to an interior room. These panels add texture to the room, but with age often look the worse for wear. A fresh coat of primer and paint can update the look of these panels, saving you from having to remove them completely. It also somewhat hides the fake look of the bricks, leaving the brick texture intact, but covered by paint. The trick to painting over brick starts with a thorough cleaning.
Match the paint color for your faux brick panels to your decor scheme and color palette for the room. While bricks are traditionally red, you can choose a different color when you want to paint over the faux bricks. Painting over the brick panels with a different color can actually make the faux panels look more real, as most faux brick panels have a bogus look to them.
Tape the ceiling, side walls and along the floor to protect these areas from paint overlaps and holidays. Apply painter's tape along the edge of the faux brick panel where it adjoins the ceiling, floor and walls. Add a tarp, plastic sheet or dropcloth to the floor. Assemble the paint supplies.
Clean the surface of the faux brick panels thoroughly. Vacuum the faux brick panels with the brush and hose attachment on your vacuum. Remove all dust and debris from the surface of the panels. Faux brick panels have multiple small indentations and holes on the surface where dirt and dust often settle. After vacuuming, combine 1/4 cup liquid dishwashing or laundry detergent in a gallon of warm water. Swish the mixture to create suds. Clean the entire surface of the panels using a clean cotton cloth. Use a small brush or toothbrush to clean the grout areas. Rinse with a clean cloth dipped in clear water. Refresh the rinse water often. Let the brick surface dry completely before painting.
Dab the surface of the faux brick panels with a tack cloth to remove lint and debris left by the cleaning process.
Apply a primer coat to the surface of the faux bricks using a paint roller with a nap meant for textured surfaces. Paint the primer onto the surface by applying the roller in the form of a "W" along the wall. Paint across the "W" with the roller until the paint fills it in. Work in 3-by-3-foot sections. A thicker nap on the paint roller allows the paint to get into all the cracks and crevices in the faux brick. Select a light-colored primer when the final paint color comes from a neutral color family, such as tan, beige or eggshell. Use a bonding primer so that it adheres to the brick surface. Let dry.
Paint over the primer coat once it has thoroughly dried following the same method used to prime the brick panels. Apply the paint to the brick face using a paint roller or paintbrush, which can take longer. Paint the brick face first if you use a thick nap roller, then paint the grout lines in a darker or lighter color as desired, using the artist's paintbrush. Touch up the brick face where needed. Let dry.