Pros and Cons of Painting Your Brick House
09/25 Design Tips

Pros and Cons of Painting Your Brick House

Our thoughts on painted brick!

You may have noticed painted brick homes are having a bit of a moment. You’ll even see it on the McGee’s Home! Brick is extremely versatile and enables houses to look both traditional and modern depending on its treatment. But how can you know if its right for your home?

Painting the brick on your house is a nice way to hit refresh without making major (structural) renovations. You’ll need to ask yourself if your house needs such an update, if you’re willing to put in some maintenance/finances, and what kind of style you’re going for.

WHAT ARE THE PROS OF PAINTING OR COVERING BRICK?

Painting your brick house is a relatively easy way to give your house a new look, especially if the exterior is looking outdated. Painting your house can add uniformity and a clean look natural brick can’t always do. If you do decide to paint the brick on your house, be sure to use a breathable paint such as silicate or mineral-based (more on that in the next section).

The McGee Home! Design by Killowen Construction .

The McGee Home! Design by Killowen Construction.

PAINTED BRICK INSPIRATION:

If you’re ready to make the jump here’s some painted brick homes that nailed it. This gorgeous Atlanta home employs a muted white color making it look both clean and classic.

Interiors by Betsy Brown Inc. Built by Nate Young of Mike Hammersmith Construction

Interiors by Betsy Brown Inc. Built by Nate Young of Mike Hammersmith Construction

The light color makes these plants stand out.

Design by Hoog .

Design by Hoog. White is definitely not the only acceptable color, it’s all about context and application like this home with a deep blue painted brick.

Photo from @xomrsmeasom

Photo from @xomrsmeasom

Our Denver Tudor exterior painted in China White by Benjamin Moore still has us drooling.

Design by Studio McGee.

Design by Studio McGee.

Noticing a trend? Greenery against white brick is a perfect match!

Design by Remodel Q .

Design by Remodel Q.

WHAT ARE THE CONS OF PAINTING BRICK?

The hardest part about painting your brick house is the amount of maintenance required to keep it looking good. As brick gets older, it can age, and that aging doesn’t always happen uniformly. Some bricks can start to fade quicker than others and your house will start to look spottier than a Dalmatian. Once you paint your house, there’s no going back (at least without a major headache). In fact, painted brick requires regular maintenance--touch ups for chipped areas, cleaning on lighter colored brick, and fresh coats every so often.

Moreover, painting your brick traps moisture and doesn’t let the brick breathe. This could potentially cause damage to the brick and the house structure especially in cold climates where the moisture can freeze, expand and erode the mortar.

WHAT ABOUT LIMEWASH?

If you’re looking for an alternative to painting your bricks, you may want to consider Limewash. Limewash is a method that has been used for centuries to protect bricks from weather and erosion. Through applying a solution over the bricks, the color is of the bricks is changed chemically and creates a lived-in look and feel. Much like paint, Limewash will need to be touched up over time. However, the process may be considered more affordable and environmentally friendly. For expert information on Limewash, read all about it here.

NATURAL BRICK INSPIRATION:

Some of our favorite inspirational brick exteriors that opt to go the “au naturale” route:

The exterior on this Tudor gives off makes it feel part of a time capsule.

Black trim pairs perfectly with the modern brick exterior.

Design by Makow Architects.

Design by Makow Architects.

Design by Diane Keaton

Design by Diane Keaton

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Studio McGee
    1. Good question! We are loving limewash right now, it is considered less maintenance but does create a different look and feel. We just added a section to the post with a link reference if you’re interested in learning more!

  1. Is the McGee home painted or limewashed? I’ve also seen a mortar smear over the brick or even stucco over the brick and it looks great!

  2. Such a beautiful inspiration post! Thank you!! I’ve got a red, 80s brick situation going on with some painted white and black. Not sure what to do!

  3. We used a product called Romabio on our brick. Highly suggest if you wanting to whitewash your brick. It’s totally organic and you’re able to adjust how translucent or opaque you want it. Painting brick seals it and the moisture has no where to escape. Romabio still allows the brick to breathe. Check it out!!

  4. So beautiful! Another option is to find white brick. Serena Thompson @thefarmchicks is building a new home with white brick exterior and so far it looks stunning. Looking forward to more reveals if the magnificent McGee home as well!

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