How to Stain Brick: A Comprehensive Guide from a Professional Painter

Bob Thomas


Are you looking to give your brick exterior a fresh look?

Staining brick is a fantastic way to update the appearance of your home or any brick surface without the hassle of painting. 

As a qualified painter and decorator, I've stained brick surfaces many times, and I'm here to share my expertise with you.

In this step-by-step guide, I'll cover everything you need to know about staining brick, from selecting the right stain to applying it like a pro.

Quick Summary

Staining brick involves cleaning the surface, choosing the right stain, preparing the area, applying the stain, and sealing it for long-lasting results. With patience, attention to detail, and the right tools, you can transform your brick surface into an eye-catching feature.

Why Stain Brick?

Staining brick offers several benefits over painting, including:

  • Preserving the natural texture of the brick
  • Allowing the brick to breathe, which prevents moisture issues
  • Lasting longer than paint and requiring less maintenance
  • Offering a wide range of color options to suit your taste

What You'll Need

Here's a handy table of materials and tools you'll need for this project:


Brick stain

Paintbrush or paint sprayer

Trisodium phosphate (TSP)

Protective gear (gloves, goggles, mask)


Painter's tape


Drop cloths

Sealer (optional)

Ladder (if necessary)

Clean the Brick Surface

Before staining, ensure the brick surface is clean and free of dirt, mold, and efflorescence.

  1. Mix a cleaning solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) with water, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Scrub the brick surface with the TSP solution using a stiff brush.
  3. Rinse the surface thoroughly with water and let it dry completely.

Choose the Right Stain

Select a brick stain that's specifically designed for brick surfaces.

Brick stains are available in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that complements your home's style.

Remember that staining is semi-transparent, so the final result will depend on the original brick color.

Prepare the Area

To ensure a clean and precise job, take the time to prepare the area before staining.

  1. Cover any nearby surfaces with drop cloths to protect them from accidental spills or splatters.
  2. Use painter's tape to mask off any adjacent areas, such as windows, doors, or trim.

Apply the Stain

Now it's time to apply the stain.

You can use a paintbrush or a paint sprayer, depending on your preference and the size of the area you're staining.

  1. Stir the stain thoroughly to ensure even color distribution.
  2. Start at the top of the brick surface and work your way down to avoid drips.
  3. Apply the stain in a thin, even coat, ensuring full coverage.
  4. Let the first coat dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. If necessary, apply a second coat for a deeper color.
  5. Allow the stain to dry completely.

Seal the Brick (Optional)

Sealing the brick surface can enhance the stain's durability and protect it from weather and UV damage.

If you choose to apply a sealer, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Personal Experience

One of my most memorable staining projects was for a friend's house with a brick exterior that had become dull and discolored over the years.

I suggested staining instead of painting, as it would enhance the natural texture of the brick and give it a new lease on life.

We chose a warm, earthy tone to complement the surrounding landscape, and the final result exceeded their expectations.

It was amazing to see how a little effort could make such a significant difference.

Another experience that stands out is when I was tasked with staining an old brick wall in a commercial space.

The owners wanted to retain the character of the space while giving it a modern touch.

 We opted for a slightly darker stain to accentuate the wall's texture and create a striking backdrop for their artwork.

The transformation was incredible, and the owners were thrilled with the results.

In my years of experience staining brick, I've learned a few important lessons:

  • Always choose a high-quality brick stain designed specifically for brick surfaces. This ensures that the stain will adhere properly and last for a long time.
  • Test the stain on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure you're satisfied with the color and coverage. This way, you can make any necessary adjustments before committing to the entire project.
  • Patience is key when staining brick. Take your time to apply even, thin coats, and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before proceeding. Rushing through the process can lead to an uneven appearance or poor adhesion.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. Can I stain brick that has already been painted?

  A: Yes, but you'll need to remove the paint first. Use a paint stripper or a pressure washer to remove the paint, ensuring that the brick surface is clean and free of any residue.

Once the brick is restored to its natural state, you can proceed with the staining process.

Q. How long does brick stain last?

  A: High-quality brick stains can last up to 15 to 20 years, depending on the product, environmental factors, and how well the brick surface is maintained.

Staining generally lasts longer than painting and requires less maintenance.

Q. How much does brick staining cost?

  A: The cost of brick staining depends on the size of the area, the type of stain used, and whether you're doing it yourself or hiring a professional.

On average, DIY brick staining can cost between $0.50 and $2.00 per square foot, while hiring a professional may cost between $4.00 and $8.00 per square foot.

These costs include the stain, tools, and labor.

Q. Can I stain brick a lighter color?

  A: Yes, you can stain brick a lighter color, but it might require multiple coats to achieve the desired result.

Since brick stains are semi-transparent, the original color of the brick will still show through to some extent.

Keep in mind that the final result will depend on the original brick color and the stain used.

Q. How do I remove brick stain if I'm unhappy with the result?

  A: Removing brick stain can be challenging, as it penetrates the surface of the brick.

You may be able to use a chemical brick stain remover or a sandblaster to remove the stain, but these methods can be time-consuming and may damage the brick.

Alternatively, you can consider staining over the existing stain with a darker color to achieve a more satisfactory result.

Q. Can I use regular paint to stain brick?

  A: No, regular paint is not suitable for staining brick.

Brick stains are specifically formulated to penetrate the porous surface of the brick, allowing it to breathe and providing a long-lasting finish.

Regular paint can seal the brick's surface, potentially trapping moisture and leading to damage over time.

Q. How long should I wait for the brick to dry after cleaning before applying the stain?

  A: It's crucial to let the brick dry completely after cleaning to ensure proper stain adhesion.

This can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, depending on the weather conditions and the brick's moisture content.


In conclusion, staining brick can breathe new life into your home or any brick surface, offering numerous advantages over painting.

By following this comprehensive guide and learning from my personal experiences, you can achieve a stunning, professional result that will last for years to come.

Suggested Products:

Dyebrick Brick Stain: Dyebrick Brick Stain is a highly-rated, permanent, and weather-resistant stain specifically designed for brick surfaces. It allows the brick to breathe while offering a wide range of color options to match your preference. This stain can help you rejuvenate your brick exterior and give it a fresh and updated appearance.

Klean-Strip TSP Substitute: is an effective, phosphate-free cleaner that helps to remove dirt, grease, and grime from brick surfaces. It is a safer alternative to traditional TSP and can help prepare your brick surface for staining, ensuring optimal adhesion and a professional-looking result.

Wooster Pro Nylon/Polyester Flat Paintbrush: The Wooster Pro Nylon/Polyester Flat Paintbrush is a high-quality and versatile brush that provides excellent control and precision when staining brick surfaces. The brush's nylon/polyester blend bristles make it easy to apply stain to various areas, ensuring a smooth and even finish.

Wagner Control Pro 130 Power Tank Airless Paint Sprayer: The Wagner Control Pro 130 Power Tank Airless Paint Sprayer is a reliable and efficient tool for applying brick stain quickly and evenly. Its adjustable pressure settings and easy-to-clean design make it a great choice for staining brick surfaces, ensuring a professional-looking result.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}