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The guide to painting your brick exterior

For thousands of years, bricks have been a common building material. Bricks are made to last, and so are brick structures. They also have color baked into them. There’s nothing wrong with traditional brick homes, but there’s also nothing wrong with updating the look of those homes with a coat of paint. 

However, if you’re going to do it, you want to make sure you do it right. Otherwise, you could cause damage to your brick and/or end up regretting your decision. 

To paint or not to paint?

There are a number of factors to consider before you opt to paint your home’s brick exterior.

Painted brick doesn’t blend in

If you’re hoping to make your brick home stand out from other homes and its natural surroundings, painting it is a great choice. A shot of color or even a clean white slate can differentiate your home from others and contrast against trees and shrubbery. 

Paint is permanent

Once you paint brick, there’s really no turning back. Yes, you could technically try to remove the paint with chemicals or sandblasting, but doing so could damage the brick and make it look worse. So, before you decide to paint your brick, you need to be confident that it’s what you really want to do. Just because it’s permanent, that doesn’t mean it has to be daunting. Change can be a good thing and, if you’re ready for a change to your home’s exterior that can give it that wow factor, a paint job can certainly fit that bill.

Repainting required

If you paint your brick home, keep in mind that you’ll need to repaint it at some point. This doesn’t have to be seen as a negative. It’s a chance to change things up if you’d like. How often should a brick home be repainted? Factors such as substrate, exposure, and color choice affect that answer. Generally speaking, though, a good paint job should last at least seven years. 

You’ll need to keep it clean

Once you paint or treat your brick, you’ll need to keep it clean. Dirt and mildew that was camouflaged by the traditional brick color will be noticeable now. You can clean your brick as often as you’d like, but you shouldn’t have to do so more than once a year. When cleaning painted brick, do not power wash it. Instead, scrub it with a commercial brick-cleaning solution or a natural solution like a 50/50 vinegar and water mix.

Before you paint brick

Prepwork is paramount

Before you paint brick, it’s important to check for cracks or structural problems that could require repointing or another type of professional attention. Painting over such problems will only exacerbate them. Brick must also be clean and dry before it is painted. Finally, you want to make sure that paint does not get on anything that you don’t want painted. Professionals know prepwork inside and out, making it one of many reasons to consider hiring someone to paint your home.

Pick the proper paint

Brick “breathes,” meaning it naturally repels moisture. Using the wrong kind of paint and/or primer will prevent brick from breathing, and the moisture will have nowhere to go but into your home. Alkali-resistant primers protect against moisture, as well as UV radiation and heat. Mineral-based and silicate paints are designed to be breathable. They are also durable and weather resistant, so they are the perfect choice for painting exterior brick. 

Consider the color

White is, by far, the most popular color for painted brick. It instantly livens up the look of your home with a fresh, clean finish. Unlike other colors, it won’t fade in the sunlight over time. On the other side of the scale is charcoal gray. However, if you choose this shade, be sure to use premium paint with high quality pigments and UV protectants to prevent fading. In between those two extremes, are colors like light gray, cream, and beige. Or, if you prefer a bolder color, you could pick yellow, green or blue. 

Customize with accent colors

No matter what base color you choose, you can add some personality and contrast with accent colors. For example, you could go with black shutters on a white house or white trim on a charcoal gray house. Just be sure to pick a color you’re confident in, as the wrong color can look tacky. Then, apply it to aspects of your home you’d like to accentuate.

Upgrade the curb appeal

When choosing primary and accent colors, don’t just think about what you like. Consider what choices will increase curb appeal, especially if you might sell your home in the near future. It may be tempting to go with a bold color scheme, but you may want to pick something a little more subtle that will appeal to the masses. 

Alternative options available

If you’d rather not paint your home but you are looking for a change, there are many alternatives. Lime washing, also known as white washing, is an option. Instead of coating the brick, lime washing penetrates it. This provides a fresh look and protection from the elements. Brick stain is another alternative that penetrates brick, so it can never chip, bubble, or pull away from it. Cityscape Painting has developed a “fogging” process, lightly misting paint onto the brick, giving it a stained look.

Don’t cut corners

Whether you’re painting your home’s brick for the first time or it’s time for it to be repainted, you want to make sure it’s done right. From picking the right type and color of paint to prepwork and application, there are a lot of things you can do wrong that could prove costly in the long run. Avoid those mistakes by hiring a professional painter. Cityscape Painting crews have the experience and expertise to answer your questions and the skills to paint your home the way it should be painted. Contact us for a quote today.

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