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.
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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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.
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.
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.