Homeowner Jane wants to paint her dark red brick home. Hubby Josh insists that brick, like stained wood, shouldn’t be painted. But over the past ten years we’ve seen enough before-and-after photos to prove that painting stained wood is an excellent idea in most homes, and that there’s no reason to shy away from it.
You’ll see quite a few on a Google search as well (and all those unpainted brick homes that come up are perfect candidates for a paint transformation!).
Given a choice to keep a home red-brown or change it to white or cream or greige, many, if not most people will choose to update. I’m a pretty big fan of painted brick houses myself, so just to get the practical considerations out of the way, I’d like to start with the “cons”.
(Moisture concerns aren’t an issue if the brick is inside your home, such as a fireplace or feature wall.) How do you make sure that water won’t seep under your paint and damage your brick over time? Pro painters are usually more eagle-eyed than homeowners about spotting any cracks or gaps that need to be caulked or filled. They’ll also use the proper primer that is pH-balanced for masonry, and the right paints that will protect the brick while still letting it “breathe”.
All that dirt and mildew that you never noticed before because your brick was a medley of various red and brown tones? On the positive side, if you’re not thrilled with knowing that your porous, unpainted brick home is like a giant lint trap for dirt and debris, you’ll feel much better with a freshly painted exterior that is easy to keep clean!
If painting your brick house is the right choice, don’t let its permanence scare you. Painting your brick exterior can make a dark, dismal home look fresh and lovely like nothing else can .
Whether classic or modern, palatial home or small cottage, there’s nothing like the curb appeal of painted brick.
If your home is historically significant, you might have to leave the brick alone and do minor tweaks like painting the shutters, pediment, and front door.
If you no longer (or never did) like that design choice, you don’t have to live with a mottled red home forever. It’s the pleasing mix of light and dark elements, including the landscaping, that gives a home much of its curb appeal.
Or a blue beach house with lots of fresh white woodwork such as windows, porch railings, and shutters. The classic Mediterranean look of white stucco homes with a red tile roof.
You have to work really hard to make features such as doors, windows, and landscaping pop against a mid-range brick exterior. Now that you can really “see” all those leaves and branches in front of your house, you might decide to do some trimming or clearing, or plant some flowers for a pop of color that actually has a chance of being noticed! Shawna Percival of Styleberry Creative selected Sherwin Williams “Shoji White” for the facade, and “Inkwell” for the doors and shutters. Paint acts as a sealant to protect your home from precipitation and other seasonal weather changes, while still allowing the brick to “breathe”.
Here’s an example where the design features like the pediment, the framing around the door and windows, and the shutters all carry enough weight to alleviate the expanse of brick. (We painted the woodwork on this Alamo Heights home in Benjamin Moore “Pure White”, and the shutters in Sherwin Williams “Tricorn Black”.) And here’s an example where the design features like the columns contrast nicely with the brick, but the homeowner preferred a lighter, brighter look. The result is a front facade that is every bit as grand and beautiful as before, and a back patio that feels much more fresh, open, and welcoming. And this home in Alamo Heights looked pretty ghastly when it was just an expanse of solid red brick: Take a look at our exterior project gallery and you’ll see that whether those homes were made of brick or stucco or wood siding, the most significant impact comes from the color itself.