Should You Paint Your Exterior Brick?

I know it must be springtime, because I’m having lots of requests for Exterior Paint Color Consultations!  More and more people are realizing that they no longer have to live with their dated brick exteriors if they don’t want to, but it can be difficult to take the plunge and actually paint the brick.  

 should you paint the brick

 

 

Last week, I worked on some Virtual Exterior Mock-Ups for a local client who needed a visual to help her make the decision:  to paint or not to paint the brick exterior of her home.  This is her home in its current condition:

dated brick exterior Brick Exterior – Before

 

When I met with her at her home, we talked about possible paint color schemes and placement on the exterior of the house and looked at paint samples there on-site.  But nothing beats a Virtual Mock-Up to help determine whether or not to take that big step of painting the brick.  Here are a few we both liked:

 

painted brick exterior

Dark Charcoal on Siding, Off-White on Brick 

 

The siding on the left side was painted out like the brick color, because it just chopped up the facade when we tried to do all the siding the same color.  The mock-ups helped us see and correct that.  Since my client didn’t like the small windows, I added window boxes to make them appear larger:

exterior paint color mock up

Exterior Paint Color Mock-Up by The Decorologist

 

 

I also had my graphic designer mock the colors up in reverse – dark on bottom, light on top. Here’s the result:

painted brick house

Light Wood, Dark Brick

 

You may notice that all the options included dark gutters.  Did you know that gutters can be painted, too?  I added in window boxes here, too, so we could see it both ways:

painted brick

Virtual Paint Color Mock-Up by The Decorologist

 

So, do you think my client should paint the brick exterior?  And which option is your favorite?

 

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Colleen
Colleen
7 years ago

I definitely like the last picture, light wood, dark brick with the window boxes!

Cindy Gray
Cindy Gray
7 years ago

Well, I think either is good. I like the window boxes. And with some fresh landscaping, a very refreshed look. I think the white chimney bothers me a little. I think I would make it the gray color. Also, on the left where I think it’s either an addition or garage door, maybe I’d like to see something to break that up, esp on the version where that is the light color. I have no idea what that would be. I think the mock ups are the best way to “see” what the overall look of house color changes would… Read more »

marissa
marissa
7 years ago

i can’t decide which i like better! i’m so excited you posted this though, i’ve been wanting to paint the brick on our house. the current brick isn’t even terrible, but the house doesn’t look that interesting. there’s no angles in the front or anything. and i love how modern painted brick looks.

Beverly
Beverly
5 years ago
Reply to  marissa

I like the one with all the brick painted dark and the white on the siding. The window boxes really add a nice touch.

Suzy
Suzy
7 years ago

I have to be a negative here — I’m sorry! — but I actually like the brick the way it is. It’s the landscaping that bothers me the most about the look of this house. I like the way the brick helps it blend into the landscape better. But that’s just me (and I LOVE The Decorologist!!!)

Cherie
Cherie
7 years ago
Reply to  Suzy

You aren’t the only one, Suzy. I like the brick just as it is!

teresa
teresa
7 years ago
Reply to  Suzy

You are so right! The color is not the main issue-it is the landscaping.

sherry
7 years ago

How about some thoughts on NOT painting the brick, but painting the wood parts in something more exciting?

Chez
Chez
7 years ago

I prefer the light wood and dark brick. The dark underneath anchors the look more. The other feels like the bottom is floating to me. Love the mockups! So much easier to visualize the end result. Wish I knew how to do that!

Patty
Patty
7 years ago

If the client really must paint the house, I would choose the second mock up but keep the chimneys darker to blend with the roof. I actually wouldn’t paint the brick at all…it looks like a decent, and these days, an expensive old brick (hubby is a builder.)

Tami
Tami
7 years ago

I would probably leave the brick as is and just paint the siding. I would also change the roof colour to black when its time comes.
Out of the above pics, I like the last one best. However, those window boxes would be a major pain to plant, water, and maintain way up there.

Chez
Chez
7 years ago

I prefer the light wood and dark brick. The dark underneath anchors the look more. The other feels like the bottom is floating to me. Love the mockups! So much easier to visualize the end result. Wish I knew how to do that.

ceil tarwater
ceil tarwater
7 years ago

Def the light paint color on top and dark color on bottom! Window boxes are great idea.

Paula
Paula
7 years ago

I can’t wait to see what you and your client decide. The mock ups are very helpful for those of us who really need the visual images. It’s would be hard for me to decide on color changes with that big clump of shrubs in the front that seems totally out of place and much too tall for the horizontal shape of the house. I really don’t mind the way the house looks the way it is except that it seems to need brightening up and contrast which I guess is what you are trying to do:) Love your blog!

Kristin Long
Kristin Long
7 years ago

I like the last one but have to agree with a few others. I would possibly try painting all of the siding and the trim, to lighten the outside. Add then add the window boxes, and put smaller bushes in. Maybe even shutters on the 2 windows on the siding and the smaller one on the brick. (FYI- We just had this dilemma about painting the brick on a lake house that we are going to sell. I had two different friends say they WOULD NOT buy a house with painted brick because of the maintenance. Just something to consider.)

Charisse
7 years ago

They are both nice, and each leaves an entirely different impression. If it were me, I would also paint the chimney on the left (maybe even the one on the right) the same darker color if she chooses to do the bottom one, no matter so that it disappears instead of looking like a hat. Your eye goes right to it. The color you chose is close to the roof shingle color, so it would work. It looks like the chimney is covered in the same siding as the house, so for continuity that would be my choice.

Diane Heisner
Diane Heisner
3 years ago

We painted our brick , and it is the best thing we ever did. It has lasted much longer than thought – at least 8 years now, and still looks like it was just done! We did a Clay color (med. gray). I get so many comments, you can;t even tell it’s really brick until you’re close up! Paint – definitely!

Diane Heisner
Diane Heisner
3 years ago

The first one is my favorite – off white on the lower brick – it really makes the home looks larger, even if it may get dirtier – it can easily be washed. The dark grey on top – great combo. Now I want to try the off white color on my home!!

Amy White
Amy White
7 years ago

Of those shown, I prefer the last one, but what about more tone on tone with the colors instead of the sharp contrast of dark and light? It’s more soothing and makes the large box-like portion on the right less looming. I also think the chimneys need to stay dark – too noticeable in white. I always have an opinion! Don’t you love this crazy decorating world – there are about as many right answers as there are people with opinions.

cecili
cecili
7 years ago

I’d get all those hedges out of there (screams 1970 to me) and add some interesting taller trees (well, small by tree standards) to either end and than a small, more ornamental tree in the middle (maybe a slow growing magnolia?). Plant with perenials in the gardens in front of the house (with a tree on each end of the house). It’s a very beautiful house and I might be the only one that says “HELLS TO THE YES, paint that brick!!”. Just like wood paneling, it was a good idea at the time….but now it looks dated. Another plus… Read more »

Diane Heisner
Diane Heisner
3 years ago

I tore out my old junipers (dated landscape), and that’s what is going on here – old dated landscape! Even though I loved my junipers, it really opened up the front of the home. Definitely tear out those old hedges – they block the view of the entrance – not very welcoming! Replace with a few smaller trees and shrubs. I planted a boxwood, and some Azaleas that bloom twice (once in the spring and again in the fall), and maybe a nice Japanese Maple would really accent the home. For shade – try some shade loving hostas and astilbe.… Read more »

Ursula
Ursula
7 years ago

Another reason to avoid light color on the lower brick is that it’ll show dirt from splashes from rain and watering–especially ugly if the clients have red clay in their soil.

Diane Heisner
Diane Heisner
3 years ago

Maybe that’s why I love my medium gray painted brick – it doesn’t show any dirt. It’s the color of potter’s clay (wet slip -they call it). Looks great on the brick texture, lots of positive comments. And any color looks great with it.

Amy White
Amy White
7 years ago

What about a triple trunk birch grouping where the right “hedge” is? That would give some height and the colors would be great with the house. Is this the street view?

Paula Van Hoogen
Paula Van Hoogen
7 years ago

H Kristie, I’m in agreement w/dark brick,and DARK chimneys, light wood. I am not a landscaper, but I do know that she needs, at least, a small-midsize specimen tree at the right hand corner of the 1 1/2 story part of the home. The box woods are fighting with the architecture. If she’s already purchased them (new?), I would move them to another part of the yard—(near a driveway?) Soft large grasses also, if her growing zone handles them would soften up the hard lines of this home. I could see perennials in white and purple/lavender for seasonal color and… Read more »

Paula Van Hoogen
Paula Van Hoogen
7 years ago

O—1 more comment–the front door is getting lost….any chance of changing that color?
Also what ever she does with the landscaping should make a curving path to the front door to make it more inviting!

cecili
cecili
7 years ago

DEFINATELY the first one (light brick, dark gray paint siding). Our fixer already had a bad coat of paint, so we painted it again and it makes the house look so fresh! The reason I do not like the dark painted brick is, it still looks like brick (from a distance). The first option looks very “now” and fresh.
And window boxes, definately, window boxes.

Veronica Tostado-Domurat
Veronica Tostado-Domurat
7 years ago
Reply to  cecili

agree!!

cecili
cecili
7 years ago

And I definately like the chimneys in white. I’ve had mine white for 3 years and there is no staining/soot that you can see from the ground. It also reminds me of Blake Shelton on “The Voice” with him pointing his finger to his own head when he wants someone to pick him…it would be like the house saying “Look! I have 2 fireplaces!!”

Carola
Carola
7 years ago
Reply to  cecili

😀 so true

Arell
Arell
7 years ago

There are stains available that can do wonders for brick and since it is a stain, it looks mores natural. It can make a home look warmer or more modern. It is time consuming, but in my opinion worth it.

Arell
Arell
7 years ago

I also like the darker bottom.

Paula
Paula
7 years ago

Ditto the idea of a grouping of birch trees and something tall and bushy on the corner in order to hide the downspout. It’s fun to see how many ideas and opinions are out there!

Melanie
Melanie
7 years ago

Another vote for dark brick and chimneys and lighter siding. I also thought the landscaping needed something and there have been some good suggestions on that.

Veronica Tostado-Domurat
Veronica Tostado-Domurat
7 years ago

I will paint the brick white!!! It will look so light and clean and whatever flowers or pots she adds on they will pop and stand out, it will be the biggest change for her house, on humble my opinion 🙂

Carola
Carola
7 years ago

Well done! TOTALLY IN FAVOR OF PAINTED/white washed BRICK!!! I definitely like the 3rd pic.
The white siding makes the house look heavy and dreary where as the lighter brick – and brick only – gives it a lift and more contemporary look.
How about painting the window frames as well the gutters in black!? Front door maybe a LadyBugRed!? 🙂 Absolutely loving the window baskets! And yes, the landscaping – Spice it up! Let nature thrive in color! 🙂

Rose
Rose
7 years ago

I’m all for painting ugly brick, but I wouldn’t paint the brick on this beautiful home. The landscaping, plant window, and wreath are dating it. The shrubs are very top heavy and accentuate the horizontal lines of the house because of the way they are planted. Right now she has the perfect back drop for repeating some rich colored flowers. White blossoms will make you notice the white in the brick more. Chartreuse foliage would lighten the look. A few taller dark evergreens would look beautiful. Also rhododendron, dogwood, Japanese Maple, Cherry Tree, or Redbud. Birch are beautiful, but messy… Read more »

Cheryl McLaughlin
Cheryl McLaughlin
7 years ago

Firstly, the most helpful thing for this home is to LENGTHEN the windows on the upstairs part of the house. LONG, LONG windows or french doors. Obviously, the french doors would require French wrought iron grills since there are no balconies but,,, this could take the house in an interesting direction. Long long windows would be more cost effective and achieve the same result. The paint color will support this, also. Best to paint the house siding AND brick, including ALL foundation in SAME color,,,possibly Dior Gray-Ben Moore or Suede Gray-Behr Paints (goes toward taupe, and beautiful up). All trim… Read more »

Stephanie R.
Stephanie R.
7 years ago

I like the window boxes idea. I also like the dark color on the bottom. The chimneys need to blend in with the roof. But I think the biggest help would be to move the bushes in front of the house that are hiding the door. From the street, those bushes give the impression of “Go Away”. The brick on this home is not a bad color. The other colors on the house just need to be brighter, fresher (not sure what word to use here). Shutters would be great also. Just my 2 cents.

Mary
Mary
7 years ago

I can’t decide which one I like either – but I LOVE painted brick! And the window boxes are a must! Before reading anyone else’s comments, I thought that the front door needed to pop, and that bulky, middle hedge needed to go. I see a weeping cherry there or something similar…and what about incorporating a partial decorative picket fence in the plan somehow to minimize the dated split level look?

bonnie clifford
bonnie clifford
7 years ago

What a shame it would be to change the colors on this house! I think the brick adds lovely pattern and texture. Two solid colors together appear bland to me. I would change the front door color. The window trim could be the same color as the siding. Window shutters in a lighter gray. Landscaping could totally transform this home. Take the hedge out for a start. Otherwise a lovely home. Bonnie

NEVER PAINT AGAIN UK (@Neverpaintagain)

Hi i really enjoyed the article but you reminded me of a blog posts we did some years back where we found a very different way of preparing the brick walls before applying paint or some other exterior wall coating. The info is here, i hope it is ok, to post the link here? Thanks http://www.neverpaintagain.co.uk/blog/exterior-brick-wall-re-pointing-the-easy-way/

JJnstn
JJnstn
7 years ago

I love the house the way it is. I think someone else mentioned this …invest the time and money on landscaping. Do the landscaping first and then see if you feel the same about painting the house.

Mandy
7 years ago

Gosh …. so many comments on this one!!!! Window boxes: Yes but custom built and large! And, if homeowner already has a sprinkler system in place have them added to system (just means irrigation tubing which is tiny will need to be painted same color as house and run discreetly along siding grooves. Dark on top, light on bottom: That is my choice. Not initially but then why bother to paint the brick if it is going to be painted a dark color? ADD A THIRD COLOR: I would add a third color to this composItion: Something muted that ties… Read more »

Mike
7 years ago

Personally I hate painting bricks, its the same with wood, I feel its a natural product and I like the natural look of wood and brick, it has an eco feel about it. As I am in the Exterior wall coatings business I do obviously get commissioned to do many jobs like this, unless the bricks are severely damaged I always mention a clean up to the customer as an alternative. I have been an employee of JAG Exteriors for years and my experience shows that a pressure wash and clears shield coating can make all the difference and leave… Read more »

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Claire Guthrie
5 years ago

An alternative to painting bricks is to cover the walls with a resin based wall coating. Not only will this improve the exterior aesthetics of the property, it will provide a number of other benefits. An exterior wall coating will protect the walls and insulate the walls.

Why would you just settle for painting over the existing brickwork ?

Patti
Patti
3 years ago

Definitely the grey brick and white siding – and adding window boxes really elongates the windows – it totally updates the house, making the smaller, dated windows look larger!

Tina beena
Tina beena
2 years ago

I say “no”. The brick is a classic dark red color. Change the siding to light on top. Maybe the window boxes.

Makes the same visual as dark painted brick w light top mock up. Save yourself cost & maintenance of painted brick. Leave it alone.

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