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To paint or not to paint the brick?

Jessica Hedges
February 18, 2019
last modified: February 18, 2019

We are updating the exterior of our 1960s colonial home in Missouri. I really want to paint the entire house white, including the brick, and add black shutters. However, I’m nervous about the upkeep and possible deterioration of painted brick. Should we go for it and paint everything, or should we just paint the siding and trim? If just the siding and trim, what color(s)? I’d also love to hear from anyone who has

a painted brick house...what’s the upkeep like? Thanks!!

Comments (19)

  • latifeh hammad
    There is a technique called white wash I don't think this will be affected with the weather changes check it out to you might like it
    Jessica Hedges thanked latifeh hammad
  • latifeh hammad
    Here's a picture
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  • mindshift

    Most brick is porous and moisture trapped under paint can freeze causing the brick to deteriorate over time. It is possible that your brick was sealed when new or that it is a non-absorbent type. Check this by splashing a cup of water onto the surface. If the water beads up and runs off you can paint the brick.

    If, it soaks in at all, you would be better off staining the brick to avoid freeze damage. You can buy brick stain directly from a company called PermaTint located in Canada. Another is Brickman's Stain Kit. A third is called Dyebrick. It is sold in the US and Canada, but has to be shipped from Britain. It is definitely intended as a DIY product. Most brick stain manufacturers do not sell directly to customers.

    There really are bad consequences to painting brick. Damage to the brick or mortar can go unnoticed due to the paint. Here are some links with more detail. Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

    Jessica Hedges thanked mindshift
  • softpunk

    Mindshift, this is why a lime wash or German schmear would also be good options since they're porous?

  • emmarene9

    It is a personal choice. Your brick is not ugly so I would leave it in tact. I would make the upper story a darker color.

    Most of your windows are too wide for shutters. I'd forget that part.

    If you do decide to paint there is special paint for brick. I'm sure someone else will remember the name.

    Jessica Hedges thanked emmarene9
  • Condo Home

    I would not paint the brick and trade maintenance-free for maintenance required. I really like the color that emmarene9 mocked up for the siding.

    Jessica Hedges thanked Condo Home
  • housegal200

    The current contrast between the brick and white siding may be what's bothering you about the brick. Emmarene's rendering is a wonderful and practical solution for your house. The gray echoes the roof and brings out the texture and color of the brick. Pick a charcoal gray that works with the brick.

    Have you considered spending your budget on new landscaping? Deeper beds and innovative landscape design would greatly enhance your house.

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  • smit2380

    I would not paint the brick.

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  • Jessica Hedges

    Thanks, everyone, for the feedback and info! I definitely think a darker color on the siding would make the brick look better. I like gray and am even considering a dark gray blue. Good point emmarene9 on the shutters. I wondered the same thing, but I hate how small the second level windows are. They need something. Maybe they need to be trimmed out more, or some sort of accent piece on the bottoms? I hadn’t considered doing anything more with the front landscaping. What you can’t see in the photo is a cement walk that runs in front of the landscaping and to the porch, so there really isn’t room to make it deeper. While I love painted brick, I won’t love constant maintenance, so I think I’ll keep it.

  • chloebud

    Jessica, your brick is nice...glad you're keeping it. I agree with no shutters due to your window sizes. Whether decorative or functional, each shutter should be half the window's width. Not a good idea with double windows.

    Your roof appears brown-ish on my screen. Is it actually gray? I ask since roof colors should be considered when choosing paint. A gray roof with your brick would ne nice....and easier!

    Jessica Hedges thanked chloebud
  • redsilver

    Don't paint your brick unless you want to repaint it...I know one home, has 7 layers of paint on it. Check out Brick Staining, online and on youtube, they have some videos about exteriors and fireplaces, inside.... A light whitewash, might give you what you want also, tho.... I think you would be happier...and it's not that expensive to do. The German Schmear is good for flipping a house. It too, will not allow the brick to release any moisture that accumulates.......Also, I watched somone on scaffolding spend almost a YEAR removing a single layer of white paint from a very old 3 story, full 3 story, building. Alot of WORK> pressure washing, just removes the mortar. They did it by hand. Good luck. I love your brick, just make the gutters and garage doors match the dominant hue that it has, than accent the eaves in a color that is not garrish. And use a similar soft hue color on the front door, that your brick is. In other words, don't use neon paint on your pretty home. !! LOL..... Good luck! Probably some creamy whites or warm tone whites would be very nice for the home trim, as you have a warm toned roof and brick hue, for the most part. If you want to make a big change, ask someone whose taste in putting together their home or their wardrope is very appealing to you. They will likely be honest enough to let you know what would be very pretty for your home exterior, and what might not look as nice as you think. Everyone's eyes see colors differently too, so allow for that...

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  • chloebud

    Sounds like redsilver also sees a warm-toned roof. If it actually is warm, I'd steer away from paint colors that are cool.

    Jessica Hedges thanked chloebud
  • kathleen MK
    Don't paint the brick! Our neighbors are going crazy with that trendy and it just looks flat and ugly. A warm cream or even pale ochre yellow would look good with your warm brick and roof. Cool greys will clash. Test lots of colors to get the right shade. White is always classic for siding. then pick a bright door color.
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  • Irene Morresey
    Paint the siding not the brick
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  • shead

    From what many professionals have told me, the longevity of painted brick highly depends on the caliber of prep work done and the quality of paint. Paint can make a wonderful difference in curb appeal. We painted our last house in preparation to sell it and the transformation was amazing. We totally wish we'd done it years earlier to have been able to have enjoyed it longer than a couple of months. Painted brick is very popular in our area, though, and buyers love it. I'd take into consideration your long term plans and whether you plan to stay in this house for a while. You might even consult a realtor (like we did) before painting it to get his/her opinion on the value added by painting, if any.

    Jessica Hedges thanked shead
  • Irene Morresey
    I would look at spending your money on improving landscaping, it’s amazing the difference that will make
    Jessica Hedges thanked Irene Morresey
  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Newsflash, they actually make products for brick that don't require a ton of maintenance and upkeep. There's no need to paint your brick w/paint meant for interior drywall.

    They make masonry paint, brick stain, brick lime wash, and many other products that don't hurt the brick.

    Rombaio Classico Lime Wash in Sherwin Williams 'Alabaster'

    if this is what you want to do, then do it. Use the right products and your brick will be just fine.

    Taupe, black and white trim

    and a few other examples of doing the siding in a darker color.

    Jessica Hedges thanked Beth H. :
  • groveraxle

    The brick paint's name is Romabio, made especially for brick. I still wouldn't paint them. And in the name of everything that's holy, do not put shutters on this house.

    Jessica Hedges thanked groveraxle
  • Jessica Hedges

    Our roof is a dark charcoal, almost black color. I have read about Rombaio but the few painting companies I have talked to have never used it, so before I went to the trouble of finding a pro in my area who had, I wanted to really be sure of how much of the house I wanted to paint. All of your feedback has really helped me in my decision, so thanks for taking the time to comment! Also, the feedback on the shutters was huge. Groveraxles comment made me lol. My husband is a graphic designer and doing some mock ups in photoshop, so I’ll post pics when I have them.

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