Should I Paint My Brick Home?
Painting a brick home remains a popular means of dramatically enhancing its appearance at relatively low cost. But is it right for you? Some advise against painting brick, as it is naturally maintenance free and any application of paint (which degrades over time when subjected to the elements) will then necessitate periodic repainting. Additionally, to paint brick is to make a more or less permanent change, as removing paint from brick is very time-consuming (and therefore costly). For these reasons, painting your brick home is not a decision to take lightly. However, for many owners of brick homes in Toronto these considerations are outweighed by the significant benefits, not least of which is that given the value of real estate today, a quality brick paint job can represent tremendous “bang for your reno buck”. Following are some reasons you may want to consider painting your brick home – and if you choose to proceed, some brick painting process details to be aware of.
Reasons to consider painting your brick home:
- To inexpensively and dramatically update the look of your home’s exterior, perhaps to complement a new roof, windows and/or other trim elements, or to prepare the house for sale.
- If you dislike the colour of your brick. Many owners have brick homes which tick all their major boxes but fall short on the exterior aesthetics, generally because the brick’s colour has faded or simply become dated.
- With the ongoing boom in home additions comes the near certainty that a new brick addition will be mismatched with the rest of the home’s brick. In these cases, painting the home can be a simple way to make it appear more substantial and visually harmonious.
- If repainting previously painted brick. In this case, it’s no different than repainting wood, stucco, or any other exterior material – periodic repainting will maintain its appearance and extend its longevity.
Things to keep in mind if painting your brick home:
Age – you should not paint brick one year old or newer, in order to allow for adequate weathering of the brick prior to painting. On the other end of the age spectrum, very old, degraded, or damaged brick and/or mortar should be repaired, and any cracks filled prior to painting, to help avoid problems such as efflorescence (see below).
Brick Type – certain types of brick (e.g. glazed) are not good candidates for painting. If you’re unsure, your preferred painting company can provide advice based on your home’s particulars.
Preparation – Conscientious preparation is critical to maximizing the lifespan of a brick paint job. The brick should be cleaned using an appropriate, neutral pH cleaner/degreaser prior to coating application, using a scrub brush and hose or power washer depending upon the specific situation and according to the product manufacturer’s instructions. To ensure the brick is fully dry, you should wait 2-3 days prior to applying coatings. If present, efflorescence (whitish deposits of water-soluble salts on the brick surface) should be evaluated carefully prior to proceeding. If it reappears soon after cleaning, there may be structural integrity issues to address prior to painting.
Products – as with preparation, brick painting product selection is key to achieving a beautiful and lasting outcome. With unpainted brick, application of brick conditioner or primer is advisable prior to painting, to counter the alkalinity of brick mortar and improve paint adhesion, both of which will help to maximize coating longevity. In terms of paint selection, thinner exterior latex paints are generally a good choice, as their breathability helps to prevent any moisture passing through the brick from building up between the brick surface and the paint coating. Other more specialized coatings may be appropriate or desirable depending upon your specific circumstances. Regardless of the paint you choose, you can expect to repaint some or all surfaces every 3-5 years, perhaps slightly longer depending upon your local conditions.
Painting your brick home can be a terrific and time-tested way to completely revamp its exterior on a modest budget, but to set yourself up for long term satisfaction, you should understand the proper process and speak with a reputable painting company regarding the specifics for your home, including colour selection. Consulting support can be of significant help, particularly when trying to visualize multiple brick and trim colour combinations. Please contact us to discuss any questions or ideas you may have – we would be very pleased to help!
For more information on quality painting in the Toronto area, please review our Interior Painting Pricing Guide and Residential and Commercial Case Studies, and call or book online with the best painters in Toronto for a free, detailed estimate. We would be very pleased to get into the finer details of your project, to help define the best value scope for your budget, and bring your home improvement project to life!