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Can You Paint a Brick House? (Expert Painters Weigh In)

December 1, 2021

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If you’re a homeowner asking the question, can you paint a brick house, the short answer is yes! Painting a house no matter its materials is a big job and requires certain tools and techniques, but exterior brick can be painted successfully. Not only can you repaint brick an entirely new color such as white or slate gray, but you can also touch up the color of faded red brick, making it look new again.

To paint a brick house, use a primer and a breathable exterior paint meant for brick or masonry. Ensure you’ve washed the surface thoroughly and allowed it to dry before painting, and invest in specialty paint rollers meant for brick surfaces.

As with any other home improvement project, it’s vital that a homeowner know all the steps involved in painting exterior brick before tackling this job. You’ll also want to invest in high-quality materials including name-brand paints, so you’ll end up with a finish you’ll love.

painting a brick house

A homeowner might also note some precautions about painting brick and especially if you’re thinking of taking on this job yourself. All of this information will ensure you make the right choice for your home and any painting project you’re considering!

What’s the Best Way to Paint a Brick House?

The best way to paint a brick house is by calling an experienced house painter! Their expertise and workmanship is worth your investment. Leaving this job to the pros also means not having to sacrifice your precious free time.

painting the outside of a house

However, if you want to attempt painting exterior brick on your own, note a few tips for ensuring a high-quality finish.

  • Start with a thorough cleaning. Rinse the brick with a garden hose, ensuring you get all the nooks and crannies around roof eaves and other hard-to-reach spots.
  • For stubborn stains, mix 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate in one gallon of water. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub this mixture onto the stained area, and then rinse thoroughly.
  • Avoid acid solutions or high-pressure rinsing as these damage brick easily. If you cannot remove stubborn stains, hire a soft wash pressure washing contractor.
  • Cover all doors and windows as well as anything else you don’t want to be painted with two sheets of newspaper, using painter’s tape to keep it in place. For electrical outlets or fixtures, use plastic sheeting rather than paper, for added protection.
  • Use acrylic caulk to repair cracks before painting! First, insert a scraper into a crack and clean it out, then add caulk and allow it to dry according to package directions. Press the caulk flat against the brick with a putty knife, for a smooth surface.
  • Prime the brick with a masonry primer. Use a paint roller meant for brick; these will be thicker, with longer threads or gaps, to reach into all those pits and pores of brick surfaces.
  • Add an extra coat of primer on areas of brick exposed to harsh sunlight, as this will help protect your new paint from fading.
  • Use acrylic latex paint meant for outdoor brick or masonry. Latex paint offers added adhesion over other paint types, and exterior paints will withstand harsh weather and sunlight.
  • As with a primer, use a roller brush with a thick nap, so the paint seeps into brick surfaces.
  • While you might be tempted to spray the paint, especially for larger surfaces, note that a sprayer might not offer the thick coverage needed for brick. Using a roller also helps ensure a more even application.
  • High-gloss and semi-gloss paints accentuate details more readily than a flat paint, which helps brick look more natural.
  • Once you’ve painted as much brick as possible, go over any surfaces missed by the roller with a thick paintbrush.
  •  Wait 24 hours for the paint to dry thoroughly before deciding if it needs a second coat.

Priming Brick Before Painting

It’s vital that you prime brick before painting, as a primer will help provide a smooth surface for paint. This ensures a more even coverage, without your paint dripping into all those pits and pores along brick surfaces.

Primers also keep paint from fading as easily over the years. This is especially vital for outdoor surfaces exposed to sunlight, strong winds, and other harsh conditions! The few extra dollars you’ll spend on primer and the added minutes it takes to apply it are well worth the investment, providing you with a finished result you’ll love.

Is It a Good Idea to Paint a Brick House?

As with virtually any other home improvement project around your property, there are both pros and cons to painting a brick house. Considering both will help you decide if it’s the right decision for your home! Note a few considerations to keep in mind and don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns with a house painting contractor near you.

Why paint a brick house?

After so many years, brick might fade and start to look worn-out and downright drab. Painting a brick house can then provide a fresh new look.

A new exterior paint color can also make your entire house look more modern and stylish. Crisp white exterior walls provide a perfect backdrop for landscaping flowers, letting flower colors “pop,” while slate gray brick creates a stately look. Even a creamy beige can be a welcoming change from standard red brick walls.

Painting a brick house can also help hide imperfections or create a more cohesive color. Natural bricks vary in color from piece to piece, which can sometimes look a bit cluttered or busy, especially on larger walls. A single, solid color is sometimes preferred by homeowners than all that variety!

When to avoid painting a brick house

One reason to reconsider painting a brick house is that it’s a permanent change! A homeowner can touch up the faded brick with a variety of red paints applied to each brick piece, but restoring all the brick along a painted exterior wall is typically impossible.

painting a house made of brick

Exterior paint also does fade over the years, so you’ll need to repaint your house a few years after the initial color is applied. Remember to consider this added expense when deciding if repainting brick walls is the right choice for your property. 

Add Value to a Brick House Through Painting

Painting a brick house can definitely increase curb appeal and, in turn, add value to your property! Old and faded brick might make your entire home seem rundown and dingy, which detracts from its appearance and potentially lowers its value.

A fresh paint color, on the other hand, can make your house seem brand new. Painting brick is also an excellent choice if homes in the neighborhood are somewhat modern, making a brick house seem outdated. Charcoal tones, off-white, and other more subtle colors can create a house exterior that seems more fitting with the neighborhood, increasing its value.

Minor repairs you make before painting can also help improve or at least protect your property’s values. Cracks along exterior walls let in moisture and can get larger over time, which can then lower a home’s value. Patching up those cracks eliminates this risk and helps keep your home in tiptop shape.

One word of caution, however; a poor-quality paint job, overly bold color, or not making repairs before painting might actually lower a home’s value! Remember that property values are based on how much a potential buyer might pay for a house. Buyers appreciate high-quality property improvements that enhance a home’s appearance, not detract from it.

What Is Whitewashing Brick?

If you love the look of natural brick but know that your home’s exterior walls need an update, consider a whitewash! Whitewashing brick refers to covering those walls with watered-down or translucent white paint. This process allows the brick texture and some of its natural color to show through, while still covering it in a light white color.

One advantage of a whitewash is that each coat is applied lightly, offering maximum control over the final result. If you’re not sure how much natural brick color and texture you want to show through, start with a very thin, diluted whitewash.

Note how much coverage that initial coat offers and then add more coats as needed. You can also skip some bricks entirely, or add more layers over random bricks, for a more natural look that preserves more brick color and texture.

painting contractors

If you want to attempt DIY whitewashing, use latex-based and not oil-based paint, and mix it 50-50 with water. Lightly mist the brick and then apply the whitewash with a standard paintbrush. Wait 24 hours for the wash to dry and then apply an additional coat as needed.

Can You Paint a Brick House Yourself?

While a homeowner can paint a brick house on their own, remember that this is a big job and often takes far longer than property owners realize. Covering windows and other items you want to protect, as well as washing those walls, can mean hours of work before you even start to paint! This project is also physically taxing as it means lots of bending, stooping, and reaching.

A homeowner might also note that applying paint evenly, without thin spots or “glops” of paint, is not as easy as you might assume. Professional painters often train for years with another painter before going into business themselves, so they can learn how to apply paint properly and evenly.

Note, too, that a professional painter can offer a wealth of advice on the right paint to use and even the best color for your home’s style. He or she might caution that certain colors end up much lighter or darker than you expect, or can suggest painting techniques that preserve the look and feel of brick while still offering a stunning new appearance.

Life Expectancy of Paint on a Brick House

If you invest in high-quality, durable paint for your home and apply a primer before painting, you might expect painted brick to last 15-20 years. Paint’s longevity is affected by sunlight and harsh weather exposure, and can fade from power washing, acid rain, and other elements.

finished house painting

To ensure you’re always happy with your home’s exterior color, you might plan on repainting it every 10-15 years. This will keep the paint color fresh and vibrant, and give you the opportunity to patch up cracks and other minor damage along outside walls.

How to Choose the Right Color to Paint a Brick House

Since painting brick is often a very difficult job, you’ll want to choose the best color before you begin! Even the highest-quality tools and techniques won’t compensate for a color that seems drab, too bold, or otherwise unsuited for your home.

First note if you want to highlight the brick of your home’s exterior walls, or conceal its texture and appearance. Lighter colors or even a whitewash are best for letting the natural look and feel of brick show through, while darker colors conceal the brick and any imperfections you might want to hide as well!

It’s also good to note other colors around the house and property overall. For example, if your house has a gray slate roof, a charcoal gray brick color might be too monotonous and just look dull and drab. A crisp white will offset that roof much more effectively.

Painting a small, unobtrusive spot on your home’s exterior walls can also help you choose between colors. You might decide that eggshell or another off-white color looks too bland once you see how sunlight affects its appearance, or find that a certain gray or soft black color is too dark. Testing colors this way ensures you make the best decision for painting your brick house, and that you’ll be happy with the final result for years to come.

house painters

The Kansas City House Painters is happy to bring this information to our readers, and hopefully, it answers the question, can you paint a brick house? If you’re ready for a stunning new color inside or outside your home, call our expert Kansas City painting contractors. We offer FREE consultations and price quotes and guarantee our services to last. To get started, just give us a call today.

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