Design Decisions, New House

Painted Brick: Exterior and Interior

painted brick house

Today, we’re going to delve into a topic that has been popular in home decor circles for quite some time now – painted brick. Whether it’s adorning the exterior of a charming English cottage or adding a rustic touch to an interior fireplace, painted brick is a timeless choice that has evolved with design trends over the centuries.

History of Painted Brick

The tradition of painting brick buildings dates back to the 18th century, primarily in colonial America. Brick was considered a premium building material, but not all bricks were created equal. Some were irregular, discolored, or simply unattractive, leading homeowners to paint them in an effort to achieve a more uniform and appealing look. Fast forward to today, painted brick has become a design choice that allows homeowners to customize their space, create different moods, and highlight architectural features.

But what will people think?

Going into this, we are aware of all of the different comments we will hear from friends, family, and other random people throughout the building process:

“You’re going to do what to the brick?”

“Why are you going to paint perfectly good brick?”

“Once you paint that brick, there is no going back!”

Having been through the building process a few times, we are used to all kinds of unsolicited advice. There is good advice and bad advice, and some of it will cause you to doubt your decisions. But in the end, it’s important to do what makes you happy and completes your vision for your home.

For us, there aren’t many pretty brick colors, so painting just makes sense. We get the texture of the brick and the color of our choice. I think it is such a classic look.

Pros and Cons of Painted Brick

Painting brick can drastically change the look and feel of a space, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Here are some pros and cons to consider.


  1. Aesthetic appeal: Painted brick can add a touch of elegance, a rustic charm, or a modern twist to a home, depending on the color and application method.
  2. Flexibility: With a multitude of paint colors and finishes, you can personalize your home to match your style.
  3. Damage concealment: Paint can help cover up stains, discolorations, or minor damage on older brickwork.


  1. Maintenance: Painted brick requires regular maintenance, including cleaning and retouching, to keep it looking its best.
  2. Irreversible: Once painted, it’s almost impossible to revert back to the original brick without damaging it.
  3. Potential damage: If not done properly, painting can trap moisture in the bricks, leading to potential damage over time.

Photo credit: Willow Homes

Photo credit: David Anderson

Photo credit: The Fox Group

Photo credit: Dixon Kirby

Cost of Painting Brick

The cost of painting brick depends on several factors including the size of the area to be painted, the type of paint used, and whether you’re hiring professionals or doing it yourself. On average, professional painting can range from $1.50 to $4.50 per square foot, including labor and materials. DIY costs would primarily include paint and tools, possibly running a few hundred dollars for a typical project. Personally, we have only DIYed the painting of the exterior once, but have painted several brick projects on the interior. The exterior of a home can be very time-consuming when DIYing.

Maintenance of Painted Brick

Maintenance is key for painted brick. Regular cleaning, at least once a year, can help keep it looking fresh. Use a mild detergent and a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the surface, and rinse with water. For minor touch-ups, use a small brush to apply paint only to the affected areas.

Painted Brick on the Interior

Utilizing painted brick on the interior of a home can introduce an element of sophistication and charm, serving as a unique design feature that blends both contemporary and rustic styles. One popular application is a painted brick fireplace which can transform a traditional hearth into a stunning focal point, whether you opt for a clean white, a bold black, or a vibrant hue. The choice of color can dramatically alter the mood, from cozy and welcoming to sleek and modern. A painted brick backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom is another brilliant way to incorporate this design trend. The texture and depth of the brick, combined with the color of your choice, can enhance the overall aesthetic, creating a captivating contrast with smoother surfaces like countertops and appliances. Regardless of the application, remember to use paint that is appropriate for the surface and conditions, such as heat-resistant paint for fireplaces and water-resistant paint for backsplashes.

How Long Does Painted Brick Last?

The lifespan of painted brick largely depends on the quality of the paint used and the preparation and application process. High-quality, acrylic latex paint designed for masonry can last 15 to 20 years on brick surfaces if the brick is cleaned, prepped, and primed properly before painting. However, environmental factors such as extreme weather conditions, moisture, and sunlight exposure can impact the paint’s lifespan. Regular maintenance can help extend the life of the painted brick.

What Color to Paint My Brick and What Type of Finish?

There are many options out there for exterior paint colors. Personally, we feel it depends on the style of home and location, but we love both! Darker exteriors are bold and truly make a lasting statement. While a lighter exterior is a little more subtle and timeless. Using a mixture of dark and light on the exterior can be the perfect contrast and combination.

On our current home, we chose to do a combination of painting the brick a lighter color, Sherwin Williams White Duck, and the back porch area Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. I feel like we couldn’t have chosen any better exterior color combination. We chose to do a flat finish on our painted brick exterior. Some may argue this, but we love it! The reason we chose this is that we felt as if any glossy finish made it look like plastic. This was not the look we were going for or wanted.

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  • Reply Erica Childs

    Your inspiration photos are the home style of my dreams! My husband and I have been searching for home plans with this type exterior to no avail. I’m not sure what style home to call it, but it is perfection! Any places you think I should search for this type of plan? We are planning to build in the next year. After we find the perfect plan. Thank you for so much inspiration ❤️

    February 6, 2019 at 10:15 am
    • Reply Brooke

      You’re welcome, and I feel your pain. We searched high and low. It just seems like there are no stock plans out there like this. This is why we ended up hiring an architect.

      February 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm
      • Reply Melissa Wells

        I love the look of your vent hood. Do you have a full picture of it that I could see? Thanks!!

        November 19, 2020 at 2:42 pm
    • Reply Jose

      Hey what paint did you guys use for the exterior brick ?

      April 29, 2021 at 9:06 am
  • Reply Kelsey

    What brand of primer/paint do you recommend for brick?? My biggest fear with updating our brick is trapping the moisture. But if there is a paint that will ensure that doesn’t happen, I can jump into the project with no fears!!

    April 3, 2019 at 11:13 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Kelsey. Romabio makes a mineral based paint that is breathable. You can learn more about it here:

      April 4, 2019 at 5:58 pm
      • Reply Ashley Hathhorn

        So you used the Romabio to paint your exterior brick, and this does not require a primer, if I read their website correctly?

        May 7, 2019 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply Jess

    What color/brand paint did you use on your house? I also would love to know that about the door color as well!☺️

    May 2, 2020 at 1:41 pm
  • Reply Tara

    Hi. Could you include more exterior photos of your home?

    April 30, 2021 at 3:08 am
  • Reply Debby Adams

    Hi there! Love your house and painted brick! We have a new build going on right now. We are planning on using the Romabio masonry flat in snowbound or greek villa and then we were going to use the sherwin williams rain refresh product in flat on our board and batten. I am having last minute doubts. I am wondering if using 2 different products of flat paint will look okay or look “mismatched” due to different flat sheens? Looking for any advise you could possibly give me. Did you guys you a different paint product on your board and batten?? Thank you!! Debby Adams

    October 15, 2021 at 2:03 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    Do you happen to have any photos of the rear/sides of the house? I cannot figure out a way to do white brick look with fiber cement accents without making it look farmhouse. And your house captures that delicate balance. I’d love to see how you mixed the materials on the other sides/back of the house!!

    August 19, 2022 at 5:21 pm
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