White Brick: Yay or Nay?

Woman painting exterior brick white

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It’s trendy to paint a brick house white. Some homeowners are jumping on the bandwagon painting their more dated red brick, for example, a more contemporary white. But others have strong views that you should never paint over original brick.

Painting a house can offer a modern update to the exterior of a home and boost its curb appeal, according to a 2021 report on the exterior and interior color trends by Clever Real Estate. “Going with a trendy color is a great way to maximize your home’s appeal—but don’t get lost in the crowd” so the home’s exterior looks the same as every other house on the block, the report notes. Exterior color schemes usually change every 10 to 20 years. Some of the trendiest exterior colors for 2021 include whites, grays, or darker slate tones, according to Consumer Reports.

To get the white house look, homeowners are painting over their brick. An advantage to painting the original brick is that it can offer some protection to the home, notes a recent blog post at Redfin on the pros and cons of painted brick. Original brick can deteriorate over time and water can be trapped within the pores. Painting the brick could offer a layer of protection.

Painted brick can also be easy to maintain. Use a hose to simply remove dirt and debris from the home. However, pressure washing could damage the paint, Redfin’s article warns.

But one of the biggest cons to carefully consider before painting the brick: “Getting back to the look of the original brick is nearly impossible once it is painted,” Redfin’s blog post warns. “Not only is it difficult to retrieve the authentic look, but painting with the wrong paint can trap existing moisture and cause damage.” The home will likely never be restored to how it looked before.

Also, after a few years, the paint will begin to peel. A new coat of paint will likely need to be applied every three to five years.