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.
- 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.
- Flexibility: With a multitude of paint colors and finishes, you can personalize your home to match your style.
- Damage concealment: Paint can help cover up stains, discolorations, or minor damage on older brickwork.
- Maintenance: Painted brick requires regular maintenance, including cleaning and retouching, to keep it looking its best.
- Irreversible: Once painted, it’s almost impossible to revert back to the original brick without damaging it.
- 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.