Painting your home’s exterior brick is a quick solution for many homeowners wanting a change—but is it the best solution?
Painted brick requires continued maintenance after a few years, so it may not be the best option.
Before heading to the hardware store and adding all kinds of brushes and paints to your cart, you should understand the limited pros and cons of painting exterior brick and brick surfaces.
Painting a brick house is a complex task that requires the right tools, materials, and techniques to achieve a professional and long-lasting result.
Brick houses are known for their durability and natural beauty. Still, sometimes they may look tired or outdated, and a fresh coat of paint can do wonders. However, painting a brick house is more complex than applying paint to a stable wall surface. Bricks are porous and have a rough texture that can make the paint adhere unevenly or peel over time. Therefore, it’s essential to prepare the surface properly, choose the right color and primer, and follow the proper steps to ensure a good outcome.
On the other hand, staining a brick house can be a better option than painting it because it highlights the natural color and texture of the bricks while protecting against weathering and fading
. Moreover, stains are designed to penetrate the surface, which means they are more resistant to peeling and flaking and require less maintenance. So if you’re considering giving your brick house a new look, consider staining it instead of painting it for a more natural, durable, and low-maintenance finish.
Comparing Brick Staining and Painting
When it comes to revitalizing the exterior of a home, homeowners often find themselves at a crossroads: should they opt for painting a brick house or choose brick staining? Both methods offer a transformation of your home’s appearance, but they differ significantly in terms of application, durability, maintenance, and overall impact on the bricks. Understanding these differences is crucial in making an informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals for your home’s exterior.
Painting a Brick House
: Painting brick is a relatively straightforward process. It involves cleaning the brick surface, repairing any damage, applying a primer, and then painting. The paint sits on top of the brick, creating a layer that changes the texture and look of the brick surface. This process can be done DIY or by professionals.
: Staining, on the other hand, is a more nuanced process. It involves applying a translucent stain that penetrates the brick, preserving its natural texture. The stain seeps into the brick, which requires a more careful and deliberate application. Professional application is often recommended to ensure even coverage and optimal results.
Durability and Maintenance
Painting a Brick House
: While painting can give your home a fresh and modern look, it doesn’t last as long as staining. Paint tends to chip, peel, and fade over time, especially in harsh weather conditions. This means more frequent touch-ups and potential repaints every 3-5 years.
: Staining is more durable than painting. It doesn’t peel or chip since it’s absorbed into the brick. This means less maintenance over the years, saving time and money in the long run. Stained bricks retain their color longer, even under environmental stressors.
Impact on Brick Health
Painting a Brick House
: One of the significant drawbacks of painting brick is moisture retention. Paint can trap moisture in the bricks, leading to potential long-term damage like spalling or mold growth. This is particularly concerning in areas with high humidity or frequent rain.
: Stains are typically vapor-permeable, allowing the brick to breathe. This reduces the risk of moisture-related damage and helps maintain the structural integrity of the brick over time.
Painting a Brick House
: Painting offers a uniform, opaque look that can significantly alter the appearance of your home. It’s ideal for homeowners looking for a drastic change and a wide range of color options.
: Staining enhances the natural beauty of the brick, allowing the original texture and variegation to show through. It’s perfect for those who wish to update their home’s look while maintaining its traditional brick character.
Pros and Cons of Painting Brick
- Aesthetic appeal: Painted brick homes are popular. White is one of the most sought-after colors, making it easy to match with other elements of the home’s exterior.
- Cost-effective: Painting brick is usually an affordable home improvement solution.
- Conceals damage: Paint can hide existing damage, such as chips, cracks, and discoloration.
- Easier to clean: The smoother surface of painted brick can make it easier to clean.
- Maintenance: Painted brick requires regular maintenance, including touch-ups for chipped or peeling areas and regular cleaning for lighter-colored painted brick.
- Limited lifespan: Paint can start to bubble, blister, chip, and peel within a few years.
- Moisture problems: Most paint is not vapor-permeable, trapping moisture within the brick, leading to potential damage.
- Difficulty in changing colors: Changing the hue or tint of painted brick can be difficult and expensive.
- Required touch-ups: Painted brick requires regular touch-ups and should be repainted every 3-5 years, depending on the climate.
Why Staining Brick is Better?
While painting brick is okay, we don’t promote doing so. This is because the cons of painting brick far outweigh the pros.
Instead, we feel that staining brick is better. Although it may be more pricey upfront, it does save you money in the long run and is well worth the cost.
Staining Brick is Environmentally Friendly
Brick, made of shale and clay, is widely available and is natural. This makes it easy to recycle and easy for other DIY projects
around the house. The materials we use to stain the brick are all-natural, eco-friendly minerals that do not cause harm to the brick, people, animals, or nature. In addition, staining brick has a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) count, which means fewer chemicals and toxic materials are released into the environment.
Staining Brick is Less Maintenance
Unlike paint, which can bubble, fade and peel, Stayntech®
brick stain does not require re-application as much as painting brick does. Instead, it soaks into the brick and prevents water from getting into the brick’s pores while letting the brick breathe. This helps prolong the lifespan of the brick itself, too.
Staining Brick is Fire and Weather Resistant
Painting brick doesn’t do well in extreme weather and elements, as well as fires. Paint is highly flammable
, while brick stain is mineral-based, which can withstand extreme temperatures and weather. Unfortunately, Colorado’s weather wears down brick paint, causing it to peel and fade.
While painting your brick home seems like a fun DIY project, it is best to leave changing the color of your masonry to brick-staining professionals. Your weekends will then be free to work on other projects around the house instead of identifying and repairing flaws in the paint.
Climate Considerations in Painting Brick Houses
When contemplating painting your brick house, it’s crucial to understand that not all climates are created equal, especially concerning exterior paint jobs. Different weather conditions can significantly impact the longevity and aesthetics of your painted brick, necessitating specific types of paint or additional protections. Below, we delve into how various climates affect painted brick and discuss the best practices for ensuring a lasting, vibrant finish regardless of where you live.
Hot and Humid Climates:
In areas with high temperatures and moisture levels, such as the southeastern United States, paint on brick houses is particularly susceptible to mildew growth and peeling due to the constant exposure to moisture. High-quality latex paint with mildewcide additives is recommended for these climates, as this paint type is less likely to trap moisture and is more flexible during temperature changes. Furthermore, a high-quality primer that resists humidity is crucial to prevent the paint from bubbling or blistering.
Cold and Wet Climates:
In regions that experience harsh winters, frequent rainfall, or both, such as the Pacific Northwest or the Northeast, the main concern is the freeze-thaw cycle. Water can seep into the brick and then expand as it freezes, leading to cracking or flaking paint. Here, the use of elastodynamic paint can be beneficial due to its ability to contract and expand with the brick during weather changes. Additionally, using a breathable, high-quality primer is vital to allow any moisture that does penetrate the brick to evaporate, preventing damage from the freeze-thaw cycle.
Dry and Sunny Climates:
In arid areas like the Southwest, where homes are exposed to strong sunlight and minimal precipitation, UV radiation can cause paint to fade, while the lack of moisture can make brick more susceptible to cracking. In such climates, it’s advisable to use paint with high UV resistance to maintain the color over time. Acrylic latex paints are often recommended due to their resistance to UV rays and their ability to withstand the high temperatures common in these areas.
For regions experiencing significant variations in weather patterns across seasons, the paint needs to be versatile enough to handle all possible conditions. A premium 100% acrylic latex paint is often the preferred choice here, offering great adhesion, flexibility, and breathability, essential for fluctuating temperatures and moisture levels.
- Always ensure the brick surface is clean, dry, and free of defects before painting. This might involve power washing and making necessary repairs to the masonry.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast before starting the project. Avoid painting on rainy days or when rain is expected within 48 hours, and try not to paint in direct sunlight or extremely hot temperatures.
- Consider the advice of professionals. Local painting contractors will have a wealth of experience regarding the best products and techniques for the area’s specific climate challenges.
Stain Your Brick With BrickImaging
Remember that last step in how to repair spalling brick? The best thing you can do for your brick is give it a protectant, like a staining.
BrickImaging has been permanently staining brick homes, apartment buildings, office buildings, retail plazas, schools, banks, hotels and more since 1976.
The company is the oldest masonry staining firm in North America and its proprietary Stayntech®
brick stains look natural, do not block the evaporation process of masonry, and will never bubble, chip or peel.
is available in 12 exclusive colors
with custom colors available upon request for an additional fee.
BrickImaging – Commercial and Residential Brick Staining
Family-owned BrickImaging was founded by Bob Homolka in 1976 after he invented the firm’s proprietary Stayntech®
masonry stains. The company is the oldest block, stone, mortar, and brick staining contractor in the country. It is still operated today by the Homolka family.
BrickImaging specializes in staining single-family homes, office buildings, warehouses, multi-family housing, retail plazas, banks, hospitals, courthouses, schools, churches, and hotels, among many others.
Modernizing your home’s exterior with BrickImaging is a smart investment in both aesthetics and property value. Our brick staining expertise, combined with our meticulous approach, ensures you get the modern look you desire.
Contact BrickImaging today
to start your journey toward a modernized and captivating home exterior that you’ll be proud to show off.
nize your home’s exterior.
We can give free estimates and tips on updating your home’s look.