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The 7 Pros and Cons of Painting Exterior Brick

Painting brick is considered a bit taboo in some circles—in fact, “Why you should never paint brick” is one of the first things that pops up when you search for advice on how to do that very thing. However, there are plenty of reasons why you should paint your brick, though it’s certainly not for everyone. Luckily, we’ve made it easy for you by listing all the pros and cons of painting exterior brick right here!

the pros and cons of painting exterior brick

What to Consider Before Painting Exterior Brick

When it comes to considering the pros and cons of painting exterior brick, be sure to take the condition of your exterior brick into account. Brick that’s molding, chipped, or otherwise damaged isn’t likely to take well to paint, and it may end up worse off than what you started with.

When it comes to choosing whether or not to paint your exterior brick, its condition may make the choice for you, so this should be the first thing you look into when making a plan. If your brick is in rough shape, but you still want to paint it, then you may need to power wash it or sand it down first.

Pros of Painting Exterior Brick

There are a lot of reasons why painting exterior brick could be a good idea.

1. Modern Look

Painting exterior brick can greatly modernize the outside of your home. Many people look at original brick as being old or run-down, and a fresh coat of paint can really catch the eye of buyers looking for a more contemporary vibe if you’re renovating with selling in mind.

painting exterior brick can give your home a modern look

2. Bright, Welcoming Exterior

Brick tends to darken the exterior of a home and can give the impression of being dull or dreary. By brightening the brick, you brighten the entire picture of your home, and no matter what your intentions are with renovating, it makes for a more welcoming view for buyers, neighbors, and guests alike.

3. Weather-Proofing

If done properly, paint can actually help weather-proof your exterior brick. The paint can seal out moisture and protect brick from the elements, but be sure to find painters who have dealt with brick before and know how to appropriately seal it.

4. Increases Value/Curb Appeal

Painting brick can greatly improve your home’s curb appeal and increase the value of your home. If you’re looking to sell, painting your exterior brick is a renovation you can take advantage of that would be fairly non-disruptive to your day-to-day life.

one pro of painting exterior brick is increased curb appeal

Cons of Painting Exterior Brick

While there are lot of reasons for painting exterior brick, there are a few reasons why some people choose not to do it.

1. Trapped Moisture Beneath Paint Can Damage Brick

While proper painting can seal out moisture and keep it from damaging the brick beneath, if there’s moisture trapped beneath the paint to start with (or if the paint job is done improperly), it can result in cracks in your exterior brick.

The last thing you want is a poorly-done coat of paint reducing your home’s value rather than enhancing it, so make sure you look into the company you hire. Try to find out if they’ve specifically worked with painting brick before, and do your best to look for reviews from customers who have hired them for brickwork.

2. Painted Brick Requires More Frequent Maintenance

Painted brick will show dirt or grime more clearly than original brick, and therefore will require more frequent cleaning. You also will need to touch up your paint when it chips or flakes, and you’ll likely have to re-apply a fresh coat of paint every few years.

3. No Going Back To Original Brick

Once you’ve chosen to paint your exterior brick, there will be no going back to the way it was, so be wary of buyer’s remorse! This isn’t a decision to make on impulse. Make certain you’re as sure as you can be about painting your exterior brick, because once it’s painted, it’s painted!

painting exterior brick

Best Paints for Exterior Brick

If you’ve decided to proceed with painting exterior brick on your home, good for you! Here are some of the best types of paint for exterior brick.

1. Elastodynamic Paint

Elastodynamic paint is high in elasticity, which makes it perfect for painting exterior brick since it both fills in cracks and prevents any more from forming. It performs well in any climate or weather condition, so no matter where you live, this paint is a good bet for keeping your brick in good condition.

2. 100% Acrylic Latex Paint

This paint is known for being especially long-lasting and resilient. It is particularly resistant to flaking or chipping, which makes it exceptionally well-suited for projects on the exterior of the home. Acrylic latex paint is also meant for multiple kinds of surfaces, so even though brick is notoriously difficult, this paint should be able to handle the challenge.

Alternatives to Painting Exterior Brick

If this pros and cons of painting exterior brick list has convinced you that painted brick isn’t for you, never fear! There are all kinds of alternatives to painting brick that can still increase your curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home. Some of our favorite ideas include:

1. New Landscaping

One of the classic ways you can spruce up the outside of your home is landscaping! You’ll be amazed when you see what adding some greenery or other arboreal/floral details can do to brighten up a brick home. Just be sure to avoid plants that will blend into the color of your brick, such as red or brown flowers or foliage.

A brick house with landscaping

2. Limewash

Limewash is a great alternative to painting exterior brick. It lightens the outside of the house in a similar way that white paint would while allowing some of the original brick’s charm to shine through. It’s a lasting material that doesn’t share the same potential for flaking or chipping that paint does.

3. A Good Clean Up

Sometimes all it takes to transform your original brick is to give it a good pressure-washing. Clearing off mold, dirt, dust, and other built-up grime can immediately improve the appearance of your brick and give your house a simple, low-commitment facelift.

Pressure washing brick can make it look brand new
Pressure washing brick can make it look brand new

You don’t even necessarily have to hire anyone for this one—just get yourself a good pressure washer and go to town! (Well, as long as you go carefully—experts recommend washing brick on low pressure to avoid damage like chipping.)

4. Fresh Coat of Paint on Other Exterior Home Features

Even if you’ve decided you don’t want to paint your brick, don’t count out the benefits of paint entirely! There are plenty of other ways to utilize paint on the exterior of your home without locking yourself into an irreversible decision by covering up your brick.

A fresh pop of color on your front door, window trim, shutters, porch railing, and/or other exterior features might be just enough to transform the entire atmosphere of your home.

Giving exterior brick a fresh look by painting the window trim
Giving exterior brick a fresh look by painting the window trim

5. German Smear

German smear, similar to limewashing, is a beautiful way to update your exterior while not entirely eradicating the appeal of the original brick. However, rather than pulling the effect off with limestone, you’ll be using mortar!

This is something you can definitely execute on your own, and there are many how-to videos on how to apply German smear to your brick. You can also use paint to achieve this effect, but if you’ve decided you want to avoid paint, mortar is the way to go.

Wrapping Up the Pros and Cons of Painting Exterior Brick

No matter which direction (or multiple directions!) you choose to follow while updating your exterior brick, you’re certainly spoiled for choice. Take your time deciding which option is best for you, but once you’ve made your decision, rest easy knowing that you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of painting exterior brick before committing.

Check out our Exterior Painting page for even more information on exterior painting, paints, and products.