Q: I’m planning to paint the exterior of my house. As I drive around town in search of inspiration, I’m surprised by the range of painted brick homes in the area. What advice do you give homeowners who want to repaint the exterior of a house?
A: One thing the experts agree on is that once you paint brick, there’s no turning back to the original paint color; so start by researching the pros and cons to determine if it is the right long-term decision for your home. Once you’ve committed, there are a few things to consider, such as the condition of the brick and whether or not tuck-pointing is needed.
“The mortar has to be tight,” says Matt Sears, owner of Color Coatings Contracting. “Sometimes they get sandy and you can run a screwdriver down the mortar line and it just wants to come out.” Consulting with a reputable tuck pointer will determine if repairs are needed prior to painting.
Another thing to think about, Sears says, is the type of brick you have. “There are certain bricks that have glazing on them and other bricks that are more porous,” he says. Glazed bricks require specific preparation, application, and products for the paint to last.
To this point, Mike Mundwiller, End User Product Experience Manager for Benjamin Moore notes, “Your new paint’s adhesion could be negatively affected if applied over existing glossy surfaces. Glazed brick must either be de-glossed or an adhesion building primer must be used.”
For porous brick, he recommends priming with a good coat of acrylic masonry sealer. Benjamin Moore’s Ultra Spec Masonry Interior/Exterior 100% Acrylic Sealer is formulated specifically for this type of application.
To ensure proper preparation, application, and longevity, it’s always best to leave the job to professionals. “Do your research on reputable companies in your area who have experience painting brick,” says Katie Moore, Operations Coordinator at Kennedy Painting. “Ask questions about what the company’s process is for painting brick to guarantee the person you hire is knowledgeable and trusting. Double-check if the companies you receive estimates from have warranties for the painting.”
When it comes to the paint itself, any high-quality exterior product should work. “We recommend to our customers to go for at least a low sheen product because flat gets funky pretty quickly,” says Darrell Humes of Dwyer Custom Painting. “Lately, we have been using a Sherwin-Williams product called Loxon XP. It is mildew resistant and fairly water repellant. It holds up for a long time.”
Choosing the right color is typically the hardest part of painting a home’s exterior. Hannah Yeo, Color Marketing & Development Manager for Benjamin Moore offers the following tips:
- Take a visual inventory of the colors of surfaces you won’t be painting (i.e. your roof, trim, or even landscape). The existing color palette can guide you to find a complementary color.
- Balance the light with the dark. If you opt for a lighter-colored façade, create contrast by using a darker color on the shutters and/or window frame. If you go with a darker color, a crisp white trim stands out for a fresh, clean look.
- Lighter colors such as Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17 and China White OC-141 bring out other colors including the front door, shutters, and surrounding landscape.