Painting your brick home on the South Shore and in the Boston-area

Painting brick homes on the South Shore and in the Boston-area

There are some beautiful full and partial-brick homes sprinkled throughout the South Shore and Boston area. Lately, lots of people have asked us about painting and maintaining brick, so let’s dive in:

Painting brick homes in New England

Lately, lots of our Boston-area Clients have chosen to paint their brick homes white, cream or greige, and gray. Many homeowners are tired of the heavy “feel” and institutional look their unpainted brick home has. In fact, a quick search on designer sites like Pinterest and Houzz shows more painted brick homes than unpainted. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of making this change too:

Light house white brickPainting brick is a (mostly) permanent change

Yes, paint can be removed from brick, but since it’s such an arduous process, go into the decision knowing that painting brick is not easily reversible. If you feel a few years from now you’ll regret painting the brick, understand that removing the paint will be time-consuming and expensive, and the final look of your brick, since the paint will need to be sandblasted or chemically removed, will be different and more of a “worn brick” look than the original brick.

We’ve decided to paint our brick home; what do we need to know?

Trapped moisture can damage brick and cause paint to peel, so be sure to caulk any cracks or gaps, especially near doors and windows, so water doesn’t seep in.

The primer and paint applied to your brick need to be specifically formulated for masonry homes. Masonry paint and stain formulas have a different PH than regular wood coatings and allow the brick home to “breathe” when dry.

A painted or stained brick home requires maintenance that an unpainted brick home doesn’t require:  

  • The dirt and mildew are less noticeable when bricks are unpainted, and so dirt will stand out on lighter painted brick. On the other hand, now that you can see the dirt and moss and mold on your home, it’ll be easier to notice when your home needs to be power washed or cleaned – this is helpful for allergy sufferers.
  • Down the line, painted or stained brick will need to be repainted.

Good reasons to paint your brick home:

There’s nothing like a uniform and lighter color paint that freshens up the worn, cavernous look of a brick home. With paint, the brick and mortar “fade” to the background, and your whole house will look fresher. Because the bricks are dark and the mortar is light, unpainted brick homes an appearance that is “spotty” and “stimulating,” and by applying a uniform color to the brick and mortar, the visual overload is gone.

Brick house
The dark brick and light mortar often result in a spotty exterior appearance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beige brick home
Compare the lighter brick home to its “red brick” neighbors.

 

 

 

Painting brick also makes adding curb appeal to your home easier. Because unpainted brick exteriors tend to have the same tone and color value as surrounding trees, plants, and landscaping, it’s challenging to make your windows, shutters, doors, and trim pop against the unpainted brick. Because a critical element of good design is a mixture of contrasting elements, after painting your brick home one uniform color, you’ll notice your landscaping more prominently and be able to add pop by adding color to the front door and shutters, and outdoor planters.

 

 

 

 

While it’s difficult to remove the paint from brick in the future, you can easily paint the brick a different color down the line. In 2020, on the South Shore, we painted some white brick homes a creamier greige with great success.

Partial brick exteriors

Blue ranch home with brick
Painting the brick on this ranch would calm the visual overload of the exterior.

Many raised ranches and colonials in the Boston area have a partial brick exterior. This usually means their home has bricks on half of the house and either shingles or clapboards on the other half. After painting or staining the brick the same color as the wood, the whole house will seem updated and the choppiness of the home disappears.  As a result, the brick on these homes tends to fade so much into the background that it’s hardly noticeable anymore, especially from the curb.

 

 

 

Besides aesthetics, painting your brick home acts as a sealant to protect your brick home from our harsh New England climate while still allowing the brick to “breathe.”

What color should I paint my brick home?

While it’s important to be sure that the color you paint looks good in the light of your home. We offer a free, in-home color consultation with our designer to get the color just right for your home’s unique lighting and neighborhood, and this is time well spent because you’ll be living with the results for years to come.

Roof color is a significant consideration – you must make sure your roof color and your paint color do not contrast, or the whole home will look “off.” Look at the tones within your roof and choose the same tones in the paint your choose. For example, if your roof is a warm beige, be sure you choose a warm color for the brick paint.

 

Paint Colors that look good on brick:

Here’s a list of white, cream, gray and black colors that tend to look nice on brick homes to get you started exploring. Email [email protected] if you’d like large (8″ x 11″) color samples mailed to you for free (even if you’re planning on doing the painting yourself).

red door white home
The red door and planters wouldn’t pop nearly as well on a dark brick home.

Sherwin Williams Alabaster

Sherwin Williams Creamy

Sherwin Williams Keystone Gray

Sherwin Williams Gateway Gray

Benjamin Moore Stone Hearth

Benjamin Moore Gray Mist

Benjamin Moore Black (HC 190)

 

 

 

 

You also might like to read:

Our color consulting services

Colors of the South Shore

Which exterior paint is best?

If you’d like a quote on painting your brick home, schedule online or call 781-585-7245 to schedule a quote.