Brick: To Paint or Not to Paint

white painted brick fireplace

When you’re out walking or driving, have you ever noticed a house and said to yourself, “That house would look so pretty if they would only _____________” (fill in the blank)?  Or you think, “well, it could be pretty if they would…do something” (but you don’t know what that something is).  I do this ALL the time.  Sometimes Brittany, Cheyenne, and I play the “what’s wrong with this house” game.  It could be anything, but most of the time if the issue isn’t poorly done or misplaced shutters, it’s the brick.  Brick on historic homes almost always stands the test of time, but not so much on more recently built homes.  Do you ever wonder why that is?  Do we skimp on architectural details?  It seems today, in the age of cookie cutter tract homes, the answer to that question is yes.  Many new homes today lack the intricate details and superb craftsmanship that historic homes possess.

painted brick transformation
Photos from That 1 Painter

What do I do if I do not Like my Brick House?

Let’s go back to the brick issue.  What is the fix for unattractive brick?  Should you throw some siding over it?  Heck, no!  You should consider painting it.  People ask all the time, what are the pros and cons of painting brick.  In my opinion, the only real drawback, if you can even consider this a drawback, is that once you paint your brick you can’t go back to the original.  Paint technologies have come a long way, so using latex paint is no longer your only option.  Today, there are paints designed specifically for brick, which allow the bricks to breathe.  When moisture gets trapped behind the paint, damage to the bricks can occur, so it’s important to choose the right paint.  

There are definitely die-hards out there who cringe at the mere thought of “defacing” brick with paint, but many more people are open to the idea after seeing dramatically beautiful transformations.  Dark brick tends to look heavy and dreary; creamy white brick, on the other hand, looks fresh, bright, and renewed.  Trends always come and go and have a shelf-life of about five to ten years.  We believe that white brick is as classic and timeless as a white kitchen, and will never go out of style.

Pros and Cons of Painted Brick

Pros of Painted Brick:

  • Timeless beauty that never goes out of style
  • Dramatically transforms an exterior for minimal expense
  • New paint technologies allow brick to breathe
  • More color options (can change shutter/front door colors easily)
  • Enhances curb appeal
  • Conceals discolored areas of brick
  • Painted brick has a lovely texture
  • Long-lasting

Cons of Painted Brick:

  • Keep clean by occasionally power washing
  • Trapped moisture (can easily be avoided by using the right paint)
  • May need to repaint/refresh after a period of time (usually many years)
  • May have to have homeowner’s association approval

Should I Paint My Brick House?

A better question is why shouldn’t you paint your brick house?

Should I Paint My Brick Fireplace?

If your brick is dated or you simply do not like it, by all means paint your fireplace.  If you have a large expanse of brick or a really huge fireplace that you are considering tearing out, try painting it white first.  You may be surprised at how much you love the final result.

white painted brick fireplace

When Shouldn’t I Paint My Brick Fireplace?

We think you should not paint your brick fireplace if you have beautiful handmade, oversized bricks that already have a whitewashed finish (like ours).  We’re not going to lie, we have been tempted many times to paint the brick, but it is absolutely gorgeous, and has an aged look that is hard to beat, and it is the same brick as the exterior.  We are suckers for white painted brick fireplaces, so it’s a struggle at times, but we manage to fight the urge.  Paul gave me a resounding “no” when I asked his opinion because he said he likes the contrast.  We tend to agree.

What Paint Should I Use to Paint My Brick?

Easy.  Romabio. Period.  Check out their website and their array of products and finishes.

“Romabio Paints has specially formulated Mineral Masonry Paints, so you can paint the exterior of your brick or masonry home with a highly durable, long-lasting paint that won’t peel or flake off, has high-UV resistance, is naturally mold-resistant, and has a beautiful, flat finish.” – Romabio Paints

Our Favorite White Paint Colors for Painted Brick Homes

People always worry that their house will be “too white”.  That is not one of our worries.  We love a fresh bright white farmhouse, even when the sun is hitting it.  There are definitely instances when bright white just isn’t right:  when you have bronze or chocolate brown windows, for example, in which case you will want an off-white to cream shade.  Here are some of our favorite Benjamin Moore picks in no particular order:

  • OC-61 White Diamond 
  • OC-117 Simply White
  • OC-17 White Dove
  • OC-59 Vanilla Milkshake
  • OC-45 Swiss Coffee
  • OC-122 Cotton Balls

Can I Paint My House in a Color Other Than White?

The answer is yes, but shades of white are our favorites.  If you choose other colors, be careful that the bricks don’t look artificial, as can be the case when brick is painted with red paint.  I have seen very dark slate gray done well, and in rare cases, very dark navy blue, like HC-154 Hale Navy, to almost black.  Be careful, as these dark shades are very on-trend now, but may not be as classic in 10 or 20 years.

Contact us for a Brick Consultation

If you’re not in love with your brick exterior or fireplace, don’t despair!  Give painting your brick some serious consideration.  We hope you found our advice helpful.  If you need additional help or want our thoughts on your brick, contact us to set up a consultation!

Happy painting!  Until next time…

From the HartLand with love,

Monica, Cheyenne & Brittany

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