Should You Paint Your Brick House?
Updated: Jan 5
Does your traditional brick house need a little exterior refresh? While there are a few pros to painting brick, they are outweighed by the cons. Here are a few things worth thinking about before painting your brick house.
The pros of painting brick will be mostly based on your personal aesthetic preferences. Reviving your home with a splash of paint can be an inexpensive and easy way to rev up your home’s curb appeal. A classic white coat of paint can give your home a clean, rustic look or you can go for a more daring color.
Paint is an easy fix for changing a home’s look. Not only will your home have a fresh new look but if you put in the effort to prepare, paint and seal properly, a high-quality paint job will help you protect the exterior brick from the elements.
Trapped moisture is the most problematic issue in the relationship between brick and paint. Brick is the ultimate “coat” for your home, protecting it from the elements. Your home’s brick exterior adjusts to protect your home from rain, sleet, snow and heat. Coating brick with paint is like encasing it in plastic. It’ll breathe no more. When you paint over brick, it begins to hold onto the dampness, and your bricks end up deteriorating and crumbling.
Because of this, the brick must be allowed to dry thoroughly for several days, even if it looks dry on the surface because if it isn’t, then water will stay trapped inside the brick. This will cause bubbling and peeling of the painted surface as the efflorescence emerges.
The process includes removing the efflorescence with a wire brush and then cleaning off dirt, mold, and mildew with a power washer and high-quality cleaning solution. If this does not work, you may need to sandblast to get an absolutely clean surface. Any residual mold will continue to grow.
You also need to fix cracks and make sure mortar is in good repair. If not, you will need to repoint and in certain cases, conditioner should also be applied and allowed to dry for several days.
Bottom line: Painting brick requires extensive preparation and physical labor. Before you pick up your paintbrush, you need to research the proper products to clean and coat the brick surface, which will be appropriate for the client and kinds of bricks you have on your home. Not every brick is created equal and each type of brick needs a chemically compatible approach for prepping and finishing phases of the painting process.
Things to Consider
Once you paint brick, you can never go back. Brick’s porous nature means it is going to soak up paint like a sponge and removing it later is highly difficult since residual paint remains in the brick’s pores.
Painting brick will require you to buy twice as much paint as you would need for a non-brick surface, along with all of the tools and accessories. High-quality products are the only way to guarantee the paint job will look good for a long time.
Advice: Consult a professional if you are unsure of the process and steps it will take to produce a good quality exterior brick paint job. Painting brick may look easy, but it can be a very complex project.