Design Decisions, New House

White Brick House: Pros and Cons

painted brick house

Living in a white brick house offers a unique experience that blends timeless appeal with modern elegance. The choice of white brick for a home’s exterior or even interior is not just a matter of aesthetic preference but also a reflection of a rich history in architectural design. This article explores the pros and cons of white brick houses, recommended colors to paint white brick, the classic nature of this choice, and a brief history of painted brick.

History of White Brick

White brick houses have stood the test of time, remaining a popular choice for homeowners due to their clean, bright appearance which offers a sense of peace and serenity. This classic look has roots that stretch back centuries, evolving from practical building solutions to a statement of style and sophistication. Originally, painting brick houses was a method to seal the bricks from moisture and the elements. Over time, it became a stylistic choice, reflecting homeowners’ tastes and societal trends.

Natural White vs Painted Brick

Choosing between natural white brick and painted white brick for a home’s exterior involves considering both aesthetic preferences and practical implications. Natural white brick, with its inherent color and texture, offers a pure and authentic look that appeals to those who favor materials in their raw, unaltered state. This option requires less maintenance than painted brick since it naturally resists showing wear and avoids the need for repainting.

Painted white brick provides the opportunity to transform any brick exterior into a bright, clean facade, offering a uniform color and finish that can hide imperfections and unify mismatched bricks. However, it introduces maintenance considerations, such as periodic cleaning and repainting, to maintain its pristine appearance.

Pros of a White Brick House

Aesthetic Appeal

White brick houses exude a timeless beauty that can elevate any property’s curb appeal. The white exterior reflects sunlight, making the house look bright and inviting. This color can also serve as a perfect backdrop for landscapes, making greens pop and creating a visually appealing contrast.

Photo credit: The Fox Group

Durability and Low Maintenance

Brick, as a building material, is known for its durability. When painted white, it not only gains an aesthetic upgrade but also an additional layer of protection against weather elements. The paint adds a layer that can help prevent moisture from seeping into the bricks, potentially extending the lifespan of the exterior.

Energy Efficiency

White surfaces reflect sunlight, which can help keep the interior of the house cooler during the hot summer months. This reflective property can lead to energy savings by reducing the need for air conditioning.

Enhanced Natural Light

The bright surface of white brick can enhance natural light around a property, making landscapes appear more vibrant and contributing to a light, airy feel both outside and, indirectly, inside the home by reflecting more light into windows.

Photo credit: David Anderson

Cons of a White Brick House

Weather and Durability

While brick is a durable material, natural white brick and painted white brick can show signs of weathering over time. Exposure to harsh weather conditions, such as frequent rain, snow, or extreme temperatures, can lead to gradual wear. This natural aging process may be appealing to some, offering a patina that adds character, but others might view it as a drawback if a consistently pristine appearance is desired.

Maintenance Over Time

While painted brick is durable, it isn’t maintenance-free. The white exterior can show dirt and grime more easily than darker surfaces, requiring more frequent cleaning to maintain its pristine appearance. Additionally, the paint may chip or peel over time, necessitating touch-ups or a complete repaint.

Availability and Cost

Depending on the region, natural white brick might be less readily available than traditional red brick or other building materials, potentially leading to higher costs. This can be a significant consideration for construction or renovation projects where budget and material sourcing are critical factors.

Photo credit: Dixon Kirby

Painted brick will also potentially cost more due to hiring professional painters to make sure the job is done correctly.

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. 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 and we feel that it is worth the extra cost to hire a professional.

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.

White Brick on the Interior

Incorporating white brick into the interior design of a home brings a unique blend of texture, warmth, and modernity to any living space. White brick walls can serve as a versatile backdrop, harmonizing with both contemporary and traditional decor styles. This approach adds an element of rustic charm while maintaining a clean, bright aesthetic that enhances the sense of space and light in a room.

White brick can be particularly effective in creating a focal point or accent wall, offering a subtle yet impactful contrast against soft furnishings and colorful decor. It introduces a tactile quality that can make interiors feel more inviting and lived-in. For those looking to infuse their homes with character without overwhelming the senses, white brick interiors provide a perfect balance of understated style and timeless elegance. This design choice not only elevates the visual appeal of a home but also adds to its architectural interest, making it a smart option for homeowners aiming to combine aesthetics with long-lasting appeal.

Recommended Colors for White Painted Brick

Selecting the right shade of white to paint your brick can dramatically affect your home’s appearance, giving it a fresh and updated look. Here are several white paint color options that cater to different tastes and architectural styles:

  1. Pure White: Ideal for homeowners seeking a crisp, clean look, Pure White lacks strong undertones, making it a universal choice that pairs well with various accent colors and materials.
  2. Alabaster: This soft, warm white has a slightly creamy undertone, offering a cozy and inviting feel. Alabaster is particularly suited for homes aiming for a classic or traditional aesthetic, providing a subtle depth that enhances architectural details.
  3. White Dove: A favorite among designers, White Dove is a soft and luminous white with a hint of gray undertone. It’s versatile, working well in both bright sunlight and softer, indirect light, making it a great choice for any setting.
  4. Swiss Coffee: For those who prefer a warmer ambiance, Swiss Coffee delivers a rich, creamy white that envelops spaces in comfort without feeling yellow. It’s excellent for creating a welcoming exterior that still feels bright and airy.
  5. Decorator’s White: With a cool undertone, Decorator’s White is perfect for modern exteriors, offering a sharp contrast against vibrant landscaping or bold architectural elements. It’s a go-to for a sleek, contemporary look.
  6. Chantilly Lace: Known for its exceptional purity, Chantilly Lace is a crisp, clean white that reflects light beautifully, making it a good choice for enhancing natural light around the home’s exterior.

Living in a white brick house offers a blend of aesthetic appeal, historical significance, and practical benefits. While there are some maintenance considerations to keep in mind, the pros often outweigh the cons for many homeowners. The key to fully enjoying a white interior or exterior brick is proper upkeep and choosing a white that you will enjoy for years to come. This timeless choice not only enhances the visual appeal of your home but also connects it to a rich history of architectural elegance.

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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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