What is Masonry Primer?

We work with a lot of clients who have brick homes. A lot of them are understandably nervous, partially because painting your home is a big change. However, many of them are also nervous because they have read or seen negative things about painting over brick. 

We always explain to them that a lot of the issues they see comes down to the primer being used. Many contractors will either skip priming the home before painting, or they won’t use a primer specifically formulated for masonry and concrete. 

Today, we will go over what makes masonry primer different and why it’s crucial to apply it before painting a brick exterior. 

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Masonry safe primer isn’t the same thing as a standard exterior primer. That’s because masonry primers are designed to better interact with the alkali in masonry and concrete. In simple terms, alkali has high pH levels and is commonly found in materials used for masonry. Alkaline metals are acidic, so if you use a standard primer it will burn through the paint job and ruin it. 

Masonry primers, on the other hand, counteract those pH levels and stop the alkali from discoloring the paint. Here’s an example of a home that wasn’t properly prepped with masonry primer:

pH burn has severely discolored brick painted green to a pale yellow.

Another benefit of masonry primer is its breathability. Brick exteriors retain a lot of moisture, which can lead to brick shaling or even a paint failure (if the job isn’t properly prepped). However, masonry primers allow moisture to escape the surface while simultaneously blocking more from coming through. 


We use a number of high-quality masonry safe primer and paints, including Sherwin Williams Loxon Masonry & Concrete Primer. This product seals the brick, preventing more moisture from getting into the masonry, and it prevents additional paint layers from being damaged by the alkali. 

Combined with Sherwin Williams’ Loxon XP, this is one of the best solutions to painting exterior masonry. The only real drawback to this combo is that it’s hard to come by as of late. There is a global paint shortage at the moment, and Loxon XP is especially tough to come by.

Another good product is PPG Perma-Crete, which offers similar sealing properties and prevents burn-in. Your exterior brick home will look great for years to come using either of these products. 

If you want to learn more about painting your brick home, fill out the form below for a free estimate from Heritage Painting. Our consultants will be able to walk you through exactly how we prepare the brick and show you some excellent examples of our prior work. The quote is free, but our schedule is quickly filling so secure your spot today. 

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