Painted Brick Houses

painted rowhousesRight or wrong, there are some things I feel VERY strongly about. One of these is that if you are lucky enough to have a home that is unpainted brick … YOU DON’T PAINT IT!

I’ll concede that there are occasions when painting a brick building are a good option. Some of these situations could include:

1) If the building has already been painted,
2) If there has been a fire and the damage can’t be entirely repaired, or,
3) If you build an addition to the existing structure, and it is impossible to match the brick.

These scenarios aside, I can’t see why anyone would take a perfectly good brick house and paint it. Once you start the cycle of maintenance you have to keep it up. It also impacts neighbors aesthetically if you live in a rowhouse, as many of these homes are intended to read as a unit and not as individual structures.

Now, why is this on my mind??? Because my house is not painted and a relatively new neighbor of mine has asked me no fewer that four times when I will paint my house. One of the first things he did when he moved in was paint his pristine home, because it made it look fresh.

Now, I haven’t told him that I think what he did was wrong. Its his home, and he has that right. But, he doesn’t own my home. I don’t pay him rent. And, my home is two blocks away from his. Don’t you think he should let it go and stop forcing his passive-aggressive “suggestion” upon me? I will never paint the brick of my home.



11 Responses to “Painted Brick Houses”

  1. He shouldn’t tell you to paint yours. It’s none of his business. But I sure as hell will paint mine (a vibrant, pastel color most likely) when I own my own rowhouse.

  2. I agree with both of you, no one should tell you to paint your home. My choice would be not to have to maintain a paint job every 7 years and enjoy my time in the garden instead.

  3. I am thinking that I’ll paint mine one day, only because the brick on our block isn’t all that nice. And with paint, my house would really “pop”, as the kids on HGTV say.

  4. You shouldn’t paint brick because it might damage the brick and cost thousands to repair later.

    If someone paints with “elastomeric” or “vinyl” paints (and many do because those of the paints advertised as 100% water proof) then you are sealing your bricks, essentially, with a rubber membrane that then traps moisture against your brick. The bricks then dissolve.

    Natural, unpainted brick and mortar is great because it allows water vapor to pass from the inside of your house to outside without doing damage. But when you paint brick with elastomeric paint, etc. the water vapor hits the inside of the paint, condenses into water and is then trapped there by the paint. Eventually it will dissolve the mortar. It will freeze and thaw and pop chunks of brick off that then tears the paint. Now your paint is ruined and so are the bricks. Big trouble. It only takes 5 to 10 years to do permanent damage.

    The only paint that should ever be used are mineral based paints or silin paints. These paints are formulated out of minerals to be compatible with brick and masonry. They will bond better with brick and are VAPOR PERMEABLE thus allowing water vapor to pass harmlessly out of your walls.

    So, don’t paint your brick house, unless you know what you’re doing. And most people don’t know what they’re doing.

    If you want your neighbor to shut up about painting your house, ask him what kind of paint he used. You have a good chance of pointing out he made a big mistake. Then he’ll never bring it up again.

  5. […] complete history that they published on Dec. 8, 2008. As for me, people who read my earlier post on painted brick buildings know that it is something I completely disagree with. The thought of a multicolored and […]

  6. To each his own. Some people may like the look, some not. I’ve seen some very nice looking painted brick homes…it’s all a matter of choice by the homeowner.

  7. Hi – I’m going through the same dilemna – have heard all the reasons why not to paint brick, except we live in a brick house with not so nice colouring – 80’s yellow/tan and dark brown. I have grown ivy up over it to cover much of it. Now it’s time to paint the other parts of the house so we’re deliberating about painting the brick too – to try and make the house front not so “busy” looking. Any feedback appreciated!

  8. @ Al – Honestly, if your house has already been painted, or, if there has been an addition or repairs over the years that used different colored bricks, I would think that repainting it would be your better option.

    If you have natural brick, and just don’t like the color, here’s what I did with ours. My house is a tan/light brown brick. Not my favorite color. So, to take attention off the brick, we trimmed it out in a dark chocolate brown and used burnt cinnamon as an accent. The effect was that is lightened the look of the brick and gave it a strong sense of closure. It actually worked very well and the neighbors have given us a lot of positive feedback.

  9. Painted brick is a great way to update the look of a house. Red brick looks dated. I can’t wait to paint my brick gray, and the door burgundy. It will look like a new house! That is my two cents 🙂

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