How to Refinish Interior Brick Floors

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Exuding warmth and earthy allure, interior brick floors are not only highly durable and long-lasting but they also add a certain old-world charm to a space. Despite their popularity, brick tends to be dark, and the orange, red, or pinkish-brown tones don't always work well with sleek, modern home décor.

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If you are looking to lighten or update the look of your brick floors but don't want to completely paint over them (producing an opaque, two-dimensional result that can chip or scratch off easily), a technique called whitewashing is a great solution. By rubbing watered-down paint into porous pavers or tiles, you can refinish brick floors while letting the natural texture and rustic beauty come through.

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Things You'll Need

How to Whitewash Brick Floors

Step 1: Clean the Brick

Thoroughly sweep or vacuum the area to be whitewashed to remove loose dirt, hair, and dust.

Step 2: Remove Wax or Grease

Remove any wax, grease, or polyurethane from the brick with a product such as trisodium phosphate (TSP). Put on long pants, gloves, safety glasses, and a mask or respirator. To strip, mix a solution of TSP in a bucket with warm water according to the label's directions and scrub the bricks well with a sponge. Rinse with clean water and let them dry completely.

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Tip

Save your knees from hours of kneeling on the hard brick surface by using a yoga mat or garden kneeling pad.

Step 3: Apply the Paint Mixture

Pour a small amount of watered-down paint into a shallow cup or container and do a spot test to find the right ratio of water to paint to achieve the correct opacity. You can choose from acrylic, chalk, or grout renewal paint in white or off-white. Working in small sections (no more than two or three bricks at a time so the paint doesn't dry out), apply the wash mixture into grout lines with a paintbrush or old toothbrush. Using a damp cloth, rub the paint into the grout and then wipe the paint over the entire surface of the brick.

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Step 4: Go Over the Bricks With a Dry Cloth

Go over the bricks with a dry cloth to smooth out areas where the paint is uneven.

Step 5: Repeat the Process

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until every brick (and grout line) is whitewashed to your satisfaction. Touch up where necessary and allow the whitewashed brick to dry.

Step 6: Coat With Protective Sealer (Optional)

Apply a water-based, protective polyurethane sealer in matte, satin, or semigloss using a paintbrush or paint roller.

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