If your to-do list includes painting brick or concrete, keep in mind that masonry requires some special treatment.
Listen to ON PAINTING MASONRY, or read the text below:
Start by making sure any loose and flaking paint is removed according to your state's regulations on paint removal. Brush or hose it clean, checking for loose mortar and spalled brick as you go. Seal any gaps and make repairs, allowing plenty of time for new mortar to cure before you paint.
Don't skip the primer, even if you're just painting the basement; priming helps you get more even coverage with less paint. Tinting the primer close to the paint color you plan to use, may mean you only need one finish coat. To seal the surface completely, use a waterproofing masonry conditioner or primer.
Sealing moisture into a wall, however, can cause paint to bubble later, so in damp areas, you might consider a breathable water-based masonry paint containing sodium silicate to let vapor in or out as needed.
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For more on masonry, consider:
Cold, Masonry, and Brick Chisels
New Brick Basics: Maintenance, Care, and Cleaning
Repurposing Brick to Make a Walkway