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Thinking of Painting Your Brick?

5 Things To Consider Before Painting Your Brick Exterior

For almost a decade, "Should I paint my brick house?" has been, by far, the most frequently asked question or dilemma for homeowners across the country.

As an Architectural Color Consultant, a former Paint Store owner, and an expert in masonry paints, I can assure you, you’ve come to the right person for answers - and product and color recommendations. My goal is to always provide my clients with expert advice on Color options as well as the best products to use.

I know what’s happening. You’re seeing all the new higher-end homes being built with painted brick exteriors, and also many beautiful transformations of older brick homes with freshly painted facades on Pinterest - maybe even my Pinterest account - and you love the look.

You have a nice, traditional - but somewhat outdated - home, or are considering buying one that has a not-so-desirable brick color. It’s either orange, yellow, pinkish, brown or (my personal nightmare), the dreaded red brick with RED MORTAR!! (Not sure what builder came up with that one, but it’s awful). Your house has good bones but no curb appeal. But you can picture it with a freshly painted look that is more your vibe.

The more homes you search on Houzz, the more determined you are to

get that modern but timeless painted brick look - and put your own Before/After on Instagram.

You’re ready to hire the local painter but just need to settle on a color….. Well, there’s more to consider than just the right color.

While I am known as a color expert, I know the importance of using the correct product on all of the different surfaces - especially brick. So I’ve put together this helpful tip sheet for you to consider before pulling the trigger on your new, painted facade.


Here are 5 things to consider before painting your brick exterior.

1. What Finish Do You Like?

You need to decide if you want to do a lime-washed (antique) brick look, or if you prefer the more modern look of an opaque finish a full coverage masonry paint provides. These are two very different looks and processes offered by my preferred masonry paints and finishes supplier, Romabio. It’s important to note that not all masonry paints are created the same, so I will be continuously recommending Romabio Classico Limewash and Romabio Masonry Textured to most of my clients and in this post. (Both can easily be sprayed on but it is recommended to back brush using the Romabio Large Masonry Brush for a more authentic, European look).

Let’s first talk about the process of using Classico Limewash on brick. People have

also referred to it as German Smear, Mortar Washing, or White Washing. What I am referring to in this article is using a Slaked Lime product which will provide an Old World mottled look on the brick which will result in a partial covering of the brick. Finding a good applicator to do this process is key. See number 4 on this list.

Romabio Masonry Flat paint will provide full coverage, and an opaque look to

achieve that sought-after European-painted brick look. This process is easier for

the contractor (or a DIYer), and it is a clean, simple look that requires two solid coats. It is widely desirable for achieving a modern farmhouse, MCM, or simply streamlined look. Often contractors have used a primer and then a regular exterior paint to achieve this look, but that can really damage your brick. So my preference is the mineral paints that look so much more authentic, with a flat, high-end finish, and allow the brick to breathe (avoiding major problems with chipping, peeling, flaking, and mold down the road.

2. Is What You Want the Ideal Choice for Your Home’s Architecture?

Understanding the architectural style of your home and what you are trying to achieve can often drive the project or stall the project if those two details clash.

Due to its artistic flexibility, many of my clients feel Limewash is a great option because it is not a permanent commitment, and the brick would still show through, keeping some of the style of the home intact. By using a real limewash (Romabio’s authentic slaked-lime Classico Limewash), you can have the option to power wash the product off within 2 days of the application if you decide it’s not for you.

Or, if you like the look but want more coverage down the road (or even right after you apply it), you can go “all in” by applying another coat of limewash on top to give the look of full coverage. Just note that Classico Limewash is formulated to patina so even with two solid coats it will still naturally weather and age over time and with the elements.

For a more permanent change of heart - and style - you can paint a coat or two of Masonry Flat over the initial Limewash layer to achieve the completely opaque painted brick exterior if that is what you really want.

Just keep in mind that an antique limewash aesthetic will not work on every house. I can help you determine if it is the right product for you.

3. What Color Should You Choose?

The next important thing to consider is the color of the Limewash or

Masonry Flat. One of the best Whites in the Romabio palette is the Avorio White. It has a slight warmth and a good white for the outside, as colors change tremendously on the exterior and especially on a textured surface like the varying types of brick.

When I choose a brick color, I narrow it down starting from an almost white, light

grays and taupes.

I almost always choose a paint color and have the Romabio limewash custom tinted. This can usually be done at an independent retailer of the Romabio product, which is often a Benjamin Moore retailer, so choosing out of that palette is my preference.

4. Are You a DIY or DIFM?

Are you a Do It Yourselfer or is your home large enough that you’ll need a professional applicator? I’m here to tell you it’s OK if you can handle it yourself and you just need a little advice from me on color or finish, but there is also no shame in the Do It For Me game. This is the exterior of your home so hiring a professional applicator is completely acceptable.

So after choosing the color, the next step is choosing the right applicator that is not only familiar with Romabio products but knowledgeable about their masonry paints, the artistic application of Classico Limewash, and the different issues that can arise with all the variances in brick and masonry structures. Their artistic technique and knowledge of Classico Limewash is especially important as this is where their expertise and ability is needed to create a random and authentic antique brick look and not a distinct pattern.

5. What Do I Present My HOA?

Something I always ask my clients on our initial call is:

"Will it need to be approved by the homeowners association"?

What to do if you are the first home in the neighborhood that does the

limewash or Masonry Flat brick paint? How difficult will the process be to get


Masonry Flat Depiction
Recent Exterior Rendering

Often, this is a matter of submitting a color plan, as well as

pictures of similarly painted exteriors or get a before/after rendering

that will depict the finished outcome.

I provide all of these to my clients to ensure the project proceeds seamlessly.

I was a real estate agent and am very conscious of resale, so will never choose anything that can hinder a home from selling.

Bottom line is, whether for an HOA or your spouse, getting a workable plan for the exterior is important to be able to see the vision. Let me know how I can help!

Additional Resources

Best Painting Gloves



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Creating Color Plans for over 20 years. As a former Benjamin Moore Paint Retail stores in Atlanta, y knowledge of Paint and Color is extensive. My knowledge of many different paint coatings including Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Pratt & Lambert, Farrow & Ball and several secondary lines has been instrumental in conveying to my clients the relationship to the built environment. 

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