Painted brick homes are pretty and trendy. They’ve been featured on countless interior design shows, and you’ve likely seen some in your neighborhood. Before you commit to painting your bricks, beware of potential maintenance issues. Brick repair gets much harder with paint in the way.
Painted Brick Is Difficult to Repair
Tuckpointing is a common way to repair bricks. This involves removing old mortar and filling in new mortar. Mortar is more susceptible to wear than bricks, so you may need to replace it periodically.
Paint on top of the brick-and-mortar complicates this process. The brick masons must remove the paint, then remove the mortar and replace it. If the paint has been on for more than a few months, it has likely faded in some areas. It may be hard to find matching paint, even if you color match. You can’t enjoy the beauty of seamless brick repair like you could with natural brick and mortar.
Brick Painting Can Hide Mismatched Bricks (There’s a Catch)
The potential upside to painting brick is that it covers differences in colors. If your home has noticeable brick repairs with patches of mismatched brick, paint may make it look cohesive. Proceed with caution, though. The downsides outweigh the good, as you’ll discover in the next section.
Why Brick Painting Isn’t a Great Idea
Bricks need to breathe. Paint prevents that from happening. Painted bricks look great at first, but they could create problems after a freeze/thaw cycle.
Paint may also mask the warning signs of damage. You may not notice small cracks until they become large ones. At that point, you’re spending more on repairs and even more because the bricks are painted.
Alternatives to Painted Brick
Hate the color of your brick? You could stain it! Brick stain does not shield the same way paint does. Staining is tedious, and you won’t have the flat color finish you’d get with paint. Nevertheless, it is a safe way to change the color of brick.
Another option would be to stain or change the grout color. This could change the way the bricks look by bringing out new undertones. If you have other siding materials near the brick, changing their colors could impact the brick’s appearance. Test color swatches next to your bricks to see the color shift.