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Pros and Cons of Painting Exterior Brick

Below is our guide to the pros and cons of painting exterior brick including its maintenance, sealing ideas, and tips before you paint exterior bricks on a home.
A quaint row of townhouses with painted brick exteriors, and windows with exterior shuttersPainting a house is a great way to give your house a new look. But what if your walls are made from bricks, is painting still a good solution? 

Before even thinking of picking up painting supplies and adding them to your cart, it’s best to read about what the experts say on the matter because there are some pros and cons that you need to take into consideration.

Painting Exterior Brick Pros

Facade of a modern home with painted brick exterior, balcony, and porch with columnsCreate an Extra Layer of Protection – When your exterior is painted, and most especially when it was professionally done, it will help protect your brick exterior. Choose elastodynamic or 100% acrylic latex paint for that extra layer of protection.

These film coats will protect your bricks from water seeping through, and other weather conditions that can wear down the structural integrity of your bricks.

Revitalize the Overall Look of Your ExteriorSometimes it only takes a fresh coat of paint to boost your home’s curb appeal.

While paint acts as an extra layer of protection for your exterior bricks, it is also effective in hiding surface damages such as color fading, chips, and cracks. 

Rear view of house with brick and concrete patio, and landscaped bushesA Quick and Affordable Fix – As mentioned, painting your exterior bricks can revitalize the look of your property, and that’s without expensive, complex, and time-consuming renovations.

Another great thing about painting your exterior brick is that it can be a DIY project if you want to cut down on costs. 

Ease of CleaningUnpainted bricks are porous, which means water can seep through, or grass, ferns, and moss can easily grow on them. The roots of these plants can usually damage your bricks as it grows between cracks and crevices.

Accumulated debris in between the bricks can also harden and, with continuous exposure to moisture, can harbor fungi and molds. 

New Look Anytime – The great thing about painting and cladding is that you can change the color anytime you want to achieve a fresh look for your property without any major renovations. Check out some free paint color visualizer programs online for more helpful ideas.

Cons of Painting Exterior Brick

Street with row of narrow old brick detached houses with gables and different exterior paintsIt’s a Permanent Change – There’s nothing to compare with the rustic look of brick finishes, and when you decide to paint over your bricks, there’s no turning back. If you suddenly changed your mind, you might attempt to strip off all the paint, but your bricks will never look the same. 

A Need for Repainting – Like any other painted surface, you’ll need to repaint your brick surface periodically depending on how often damages may appear due to weathering conditions.

The temperature change and constant exposure to the sun are unavoidable, so you’ll need to repaint your bricks to maintain their pristine look and prevent water damage.

On average, it takes 5 to 7 years for significant fading to appear. But again, this will depend on your location, the type of paint, and the quality of the painting. 

Dirt and Damages are More NoticeableWhite and powder gray was popular exterior color when people started painting their exterior bricks back in the early 2000s. You’ll expect the exposed façade and walling for more noticeable dirt and debris from showing with these light tones.

Better to choose mid to darker tones when you live by a high traffic area or where dust and other debris can easily build upon surfaces. Although, there are self-cleaning paints you can choose that are both hydrophobic and oleophobic, which means it repels water and oil. 

Need for Pro-painters for Best ResultsWhile a homeowner with good experience on DIY home projects can achieve a good painting job, it is best to get professional painters to paint your bricks.

Pro painters are more experienced in spotting and dealing with cracks and gaps on your brick surface, which need to be filled with mortar or more advanced caulking systems. 

Another great thing about professional painters is that they choose the right type of paint to use to allow the brick to breathe while still sealing off the water.

The preference of having a professional painter becomes a disadvantage when it comes to exterior brick painting due to the higher labor cost. It can also be time consuming to search for a reputable professional painter every time you need to paint your brick exterior. 

Can You Paint A Brick House?

Narrow Victorian row houses with painted exterior bricks, porches, and gablesYes, anyone and the typical masonry brick can be painted, but before painting your brick house, be sure to know the pros and cons of painting your brick surface. Considerations on how well your paint will adhere to the type of bricks you have should also be noted. 

For instance, concrete blocks with mortar joints usually have Portland cement or lime that has strong alkalinity, especially with newly laid bricks, which can negatively affect your paint.

Another consideration is the moisture content of your bricks. The more water content your brick has, the more likely your paint will have a harder time adhering to the surface. 

It is still best to consult a professional, especially if you have little to no experience in painting on bricks. This will save you more trouble and money in the long run. 

Should You Paint Exterior Brick?

Typical American home with white brick exterior, driveway, and lawn with treesIf you’re in the midst of deciding whether to paint your exterior bricks or not, you should remember that once you’ve painted your bricks, you are now committed to repainting every 3 to 5 years. 

Your typical masonry bricks are made without the need for any surface finish as it is aesthetically pleasing due to their organic quality and their ability to withstand weathering for a long time.

Painting bricks is practical in the sense of worn-out or damaged exterior bricks. This is also most fitting for historical or heritage homes that want to preserve its architecture and structure while giving it a fresh new look. 

Though it still boils down to your preference, avoid falling short on surface preparation before painting your brick walls. 

Does Painting Brick Seal It?

As masonry is characterized as a porous material, you’ll need to seal off your bricks with a masonry sealer, as painting the surface does not guarantee a watertight finish.

In addition, you should check and fill in cracks or gaps that may be present on your exterior brick to completely seal off your bricks. 

Is Painted Brick High Maintenance?

Traditional two car wooden garage with wall mounted lamp, and white brick exteriorSince painted bricks are typically repainted every 3 to 5 years, in general, it is not considered a high maintenance finish. If you had done the proper preparation work before painting, used quality, and proper paint, and had professional painting work, it is more likely that your painted exterior brick can last up to 10 years.

There is a lot of masonry painting caulks, putties and paints now in the market that homeowners can use to prolong the longevity of your painted bricks. Check out our guide on the best finish for exterior paint for more painting ideas.

Although, when it comes to cleaning your painted brick surface, it can be challenging to keep the pristine look of a white surface or in any other light color.  

Visit our guide on the best paint colors that go with brick and brick stain vs paint comparison guide for more related content.

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