Friday, April 5, 2013

painting myself a "brick" porch

I've always loved the idea of a front porch.  I can just imagine a lazy afternoon spent sipping lemonade on my porch swing.  I do, however, have a spunky little toddler, so I'll settle for 30 seconds on the swing, 5 minutes playing ball, 5 minutes digging in the dirt and 5 minutes chasing the dog.   And we'll put the lemonade in a sippy cup.  Still sounds perfect to me!

Anyway, we're lucky enough to have a (little) front porch, but it just wasn't a relaxing place to be, so we never spent any time out there.  Here's a before pic.  Or check out this post for a WAY before pic.

We set out to create a space where we could sit and relax.  We live on a quiet street and it's fun to just watch the world go by.  First on my to-do list was to get rid of the boring concrete.  Our house has a lot of brick accents (which I love) so that was the logical choice.  But, we couldn't use real bricks because they would have added too much height to the porch.  I did find a great product called Thin Bricks, but we weren't willing to shell out the big bucks for this project.  We also explored faux brick panels (yuck) and some different tile options, but in the end they were all too spendy or just not what we envisioned.

So, I decided to get out my paintin' gear and get to work.  I bought 4 different shades of red concrete paint, some foam rollers and a 1" angled brush.  I already had plenty of paint trays and painters tape, so I was ready to get started.

I painted some practice bricks on a piece of plywood.  I tried using a sponge as a stencil, painting with the brush, painting with a normal 3" roller and painting with a 6" foam roller.  I decided that a combination of the brush and the 6" foam roller gave me the best outcome, so I grabbed those tools and got to work.
First, I prepped the concrete using this etching solution.  I can't say I really know what etching solution does, but apparently it helps the paint adhere, so I figured it was worth a little extra time.

Next, I measured my space and planned my brick layout (I decided on a basket weave design).  A normal brick is 4"x8" so I measured out an 8.5" wide strip across the concrete and put down a piece of painter's tape.  The tape was just to keep the bricks relatively straight, I did all of the bricks freehand.  I thought they would look more realistic if they weren't perfect (honestly, I really didn't want to take the time to tape them all off)!
I had four different trays of red paint (colors listed below) and two different rollers.  I didn't follow a pattern.  I just painted whatever color red I wanted, wherever I wanted it.  The more I painted, the more the colors mixed together (since I was only using two rollers in four trays of paint), but that just adds to the imperfect brick-like charm.
Here's my set up and my "boss" keeping me on (off) task.

 Here it is a few days into the project. 
And here I am finishing the last couple of bricks!  It took me a total of 6 days, but I only worked on it during naptimes (about 2 hours/day).
I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.  You really can't tell the difference between the real and the painted bricks unless you're standing on them!

Here is my materials list in case you've got some concrete that needs a makeover!
  • Etching Solution (I used this one because it's biodegradable)
  • A stiff bristled brush (to scrub the etching solution)
  • Foam paint rollers (usually called cabinet rollers)
  • a 1" angled paint brush (I always use Purdy brushes)
  • Paint trays (disposable liners are handy if you'll be doing this over the course of many days, like I did)
  • Red concrete paint (I used tintable Valspar porch and floor paint) in a few different red shades.
    • Valspar Molera Vaquero Red
    • Valspar Tropical Nut
    • Valspar La Fonda Antique Red
    • Valspar Hubbel House Pajarito Red 
  • A concrete sealer/waterproofer.  I haven't done this yet, but I need to this weekend! 
Next up,  front porch details:
Our "new" salvage yard swing, picket fence and super affordable bistro furniture!

Have a great weekend.  I'm hoping ours involves pancakes on the porch!


  1. Whitney,
    That looks amazing. I love the way it turned out and it really is nice having the "brick" porch as opposed to a plain concrete. Congrats on such a successful project!

  2. thanks! I held my breath and hoped for the best. Now I think I'll take on the back yard concrete!

  3. Thanks very much! Really pleased to hear you enjoy the blog.
    Basketweave Tiles

  4. Foaming specification has been expand here to specify overall characteristics of the foaming agent with the help of Foaming Agent Manufacturer in India..It should be use for enhancing the energy efficiency..Really i like this post.

  5. AMAZING! I painted my porch red, and I am going to re-do it like this.