Painting Your Brick Exterior – What You’ll Want to Know

House with painted brick exterior

To paint or not to paint your home’s brick exterior, that is the question. It is at least the one perennial and raging debate you will find on any home renovation blog or show.

Fierce battle lines have been drawn with one side fully in the natural all-brick-all-the-time camp and the other willing to do whatever it takes to cover their bricks.

Do you have your mind set on freshening up your home’s traditional brick exterior? What are your options?

This is when paint comes in handy. It’s affordable, it’s relatively easy and straightforward, and it makes brick as customizable as wood siding. But there are caveats.

Let’s take a look at pros and cons of painting your home’s brick exterior and alternatives.

Before You Paint Your Home’s Brick Exterior

Before you paint brick, you should consider some things.

  • It is important that you are confident of your decision. Painting brick is like getting a tattoo. Once the brick is painted, it is nearly impossible to remove.
  • The preparation process for painting exterior brick must be done properly to ensure the best results.
  • Your climate could affect the paint job and its longevity, so you need to take certain precautions.
  • You will be committing to increased exterior maintenance. Painted brick exteriors will need to be maintained.
Partial brick house in the process of having brick painted
House in the process of having brick painted

Alternatives to Painting Brick Exteriors

There are options besides paint that may do the trick.

Clean It

You will have to wash the brick anyway before you paint it, so why not see if cleaning does the trick?

A wire brush, a brick cleaner, and some water coupled with a lot of elbow grease can bring an old brick wall back to life. You might just find yourself eyeing your brick exterior with a new appreciation.

You can enhance this look with a few coats of matte varnish. However, never use high-gloss varnish.

Camouflage It

 Interior brick is easy to cover with artwork. However, it may take a little bit more imagination to do so on your home’s brick exterior.

Would updating your trim work and gutters do the trick? Coupled with a wash and a varnish, new trim may be all you need. Adding some wood elements with a front porch or some corbels would be much cheaper than covering your brick. 

If the trim work doesn’t help, can you use plants to your advantage? Consider window boxes, trellises with climbing plants, and large pots by your front door to soften the effect of all that brick. 

Whitewash It

Whitewashing is just one of several that can yield beautiful results on your home’s brick exterior. It is all cheaper and better for your brick than painting. 

Important Considerations

When All Else Fails

Ultimately, when someone wants their brick painted, they will do it.

Be sure to take into consideration that you may end up having to pay someone anyway if your DIY fails. It is important to consult a brick painting professional before you tackle this project. 


New brick shouldn’t be painted. It’s too porous, and it needs to weather and for the alkali from the mortar and efflorescence (white spots you sometimes see) to leach out of the new brick. 


Old paint should be removed first, and the brick should be cleaned thoroughly with brick cleaner or a pressure washer. It needs to dry for 24 hours before the next step


Any crumbling masonry should be repaired and repointed before painting.

Use the Right Products

Even smooth bricks are not flat, and they need to be sealed before they can be painted.

Count on at least two coats each of sealer and primer before any paint is applied. Each layer will have to dry before the next coat is applied, which takes 4-12 hours. 

Masonry Paint

Use high-quality masonry paint. If it’s humid where you live, you will need a paint that is rated for severe weather if you want it to last. Even then, you will have to repaint your brick at regular intervals. 


When painting your home’s traditional brick exterior, it is important to consider the pros and cons. It is also important to consult with a professional for best results.

If you have any questions and live in Southeast Michigan, please give us a call. We’re here whenever you need us!

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