Tips For Painting Your Exterior Brick

I’m so excited to share our exterior before and after with you today! This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. They carry everything you need to take on a major DIY like this one, and so many others! I was so excited to celebrate the change of seasons with this big change to our home. Right now, The Home Depot is offering a Red, White, and Blue savings event across the whole store that can help me get everything I need to make my indoor and outdoor summer project dreams a reality (like appliances, tools, patio, storage, and of course paint sprayers!) both in-store and directly to my door. So convenient!

A few weeks ago, we had our home painted by Davis Custom Finishes. Asa Davis (our friend and favorite local Nashville painter) is back today to share a few tips for DIY painting your exterior brick. We used the same paint for both our brick and trim details, which saved a LOT of time.

Here is the before and after comparison for our home. Paint makes a HUGE difference. The only change here besides the paint was swapping out the door for a more era-appropriate, mid-century-inspired door.

Depending on the size of your home, it is totally possible to paint your home yourself. For our size of home, we ended up spending about $1,000 on paint and about $7,500 on labor. So you can see here, the labor is the main part of the expense and if you take the time to do the painting yourself, you can save a significant amount of money.

One thing I would note about the size of our home is that it’s a little deceptive in photos because it’s built on a hill. So from the front it is one story, but from the back it is almost a full three stories tall (there is a storage basement UNDER our walk-out basement), so there was more brick to paint than it looks like from the front elevation. If you have a true one-story house, this project might actually turn to be something you could achieve with one or two people in a weekend!

We chose Behr Masonry, Stucco and Brick Paint, which is available online, pre-tinted, and ready to go. This can be used on the interior or exterior (I’ll show you how we used it on the interior at the end of this post). This product is very affordable and comes with a 20-year customer satisfaction guarantee (!!!!!!). I chose the color Swiss Coffee by Behr—it’s a creamy white.

During our quarantine, one of our main “hobbies” has been to drive around the neighborhoods and look at different houses paint jobs. I realized that a lot of houses seem a bit blinding when they are painted with (I can only assume) untinted white. But there is also a point where the cream colors become TOO beige and look dingy. I wanted something that read as “true white” when you drive by, but that was actually a bit toned down. Swiss Coffee is the perfect color for this. I am SO happy with it. We decided to do all the trim and details white instead of doing contrast trim. I am really pleased with this choice and feel it helped to modernize our 1965 home without making it “too 2020.”

For our front door, we chose this door and painted it in Green Balsam by Behr. I painted the door myself and it only took about three hours, split into two days. For a full hard-dry paint tutorial, follow this.

Now, back to the exterior paint …

Here are a few tips if you’re looking to paint your own exterior:

-Pressure wash the brick, preferably using bleach or some similar chemical to kill any mildew that may be growing on the brick. Rinse thoroughly using the pressure washer.

-Let the brick dry out. Dry times can vary depending on temperature and humidity.

-Mask off the windows with plastic or paper and painter’s tape.

-Mask off any other trim you don’t want painted. For our home, we painted all the trim and brick the same color with the same paint, saving a significant amount of time. Consider this when choosing between contrast trim and matching trim.

-You don’t have to spray, but it is certainly the easiest way to paint the exterior of the house. Using a large sprayer with a 517 tip and pressure turned up to high is ideal as masonry paint is generally pretty thick.

-Depending on how porous the brick is, you may want to use a roller to work the paint into the mortar joints while the paint is still wet. If you don’t have a sprayer and don’t want to buy or rent one, you can cut in the edges of the walls with a brush and roll the paint onto the walls just like you would the interior of a room. This can be quite time consuming as you will need to work the paint into each mortar joint.

-A very thick roller nap such as a 1.25″ is preferred.

-Two coats is definitely a must.

I used the Graco Pro Paint sprayer, but The Home Depot has a variety of other options on sale now during the Red, White and Blue Event! You can check out all the paint sprayer savings here. If you don’t want to buy, The Home Depot also has a convenient Tool Rental program where you can rent the exact sprayer I used.

And here are a few more completed photos of our home from every angle.

One of my favorite features of the home is this brick panel in the front. I always loved these bricks that jut out and I couldn’t wait to paint them white because I knew they would stand out way more. The same thing happened with our former home when we painted it. If you have any cool brick details, they will really show up more when painted a solid color. Our older garage doors look brand new with just a few coats of paint!! The whole house feels SO FRESH. Even the back porch. It feels so cohesive now. Every time we pull up to the house I am shocked by how much better it looks. Painting it added so much curb appeal!

Thank you so much for reading today. Please be sure to pin this post if you are interested in potentially painting your home in the future! xx- Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson and Asa Davis. Photography: Amber Kelly. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

  • This is gorgeous! We want to do this color as I’m so inspired by your photos! However we have stark white gutters, fascia, and vinyl white windows on back of house. I see you did your trim and everything in the Swiss coffee! So pretty! Did you paint the gutters as well?

  • Hi, was this painted in FLAT or SATIN? Behr – Swiss coffee, right? Thank you.

  • Hi! I’m looking to paint a brick interior wall and was curious about your choice to use this latex paint instead of something lime-based like Romabio. Can you talk about those factors of the decision? Thank you!

    • Hi! We were planning to use Romabio but the painter we had hired was from out of town (he is specifically an expert in Romabio). And due to COVID he was unable to come paint. So when we realized we would be moving we decided to use traditional paint, which is what our local painter uses. This traditional paint still has an excellent 20 year guarantee, but I do plan to use Romabio on our next home as it is more environmentally friendly. I won’t be able to compare how they look until after that, since I have never used Romabio except for on a small fireplace.

      • That makes sense, thanks Elsie. The Romabio product I want is on backorder everywhere due to manufacturing in Italy so I’m wondering if its worth the wait or if I should do it with latex.. Sounds like the differences were negligible enough for you to still move forward.

        • Yeah- I’m still really excited to try Romabio in the future. But I don’t think mortar paint is bad at all. We tried to get Romabio for our fireplace and it was backordered here as well, maybe that’s a thing… I didn’t know!

  • This is absolutely glorious. Who knew the brick had such a beautiful pattern? It was totally lost before. I absolutely LOVE the color you picked for your front door. So well done.

  • Why did you call this a DIY when you hired a professional to do the painting?

    • We were aiming to show how other’s could do it themselves while we used our resources to hire painters. But to your point a better title might be “What paint we used on our exterior brick” or something along those lines.

  • Wow, what a difference! The fresh white paint makes your landscape look brighter and really shows off the unique brick “pegs” on the front panel. Your front door reminds me of my favorite flavor of saltwater taffy, it’s the finishing touch to your beautiful home!

  • Love the painted brick!!? We just limewashed our brick and painted our shutters, and now want to paint the door to as well but have been worried about the paint staying in the heat of midwestern summer and about bugs getting in the house while we paint it since we don’t have a storm door. Did you have those issues when you painted yours?

  • Wonderful now house ! This new version is so bright and graphic.

  • The first thing I noticed was that amazing brick detail that was completely invisible before it was painted. Wow!!!!! Also, I love the door color!

  • Bravo to not caving to knee-jerk, cancel culture. Thoughtful explanation and beautiful house. I’m an interior painter and use Home Depot products. I also had to do my own research. I have relationships with the people in the paint department that matter to me. Our store is in a mostly white community yet the door greeter is a wheel chair user, there are many people of color who work there in all areas and also other diverse employees. These people are members of MY community. Change comes from the top down, AND the bottom up, and it comes from thoughtful people making thoughtful choices.

  • It looks so fresh and lovely! I cant wait
    to see more of what you do! ❤️❤️❤️

  • The white paint makes such a difference! I think the brick color variation made the texture a bit overwhelming to my eyes, and it feels much more calm and modern painted white.

    I live in CA and you don’t see a lot of true brick because of earthquakes. Everything out here is stucco and that gets boring. I doubt I will be using these tips but you have changed my mind about painting over them! Totally for it now!

    Also, side note, Elsie and Emma you continue to be gracious, well thought out in comments and replies, and putting in the effort to research and show solidarity. I appreciate that!

  • You guys are doing such a good job of staying kind with the world all going crazy. Also, the house looks beautiful. Jolly well done!

  • Elsie,
    Wonderful new look! I have always wished there was more painted brick up here in the cold north. I do t know why there isn’t… maybe something with the fluctuating temps or maybe just a different aesthetic?

    I’ve been so impressed with your communication recently. You’ve been thoughtful, respectful, and thorough.

    • I painted my brick and stucco house white using the same product last year. We went with Modern House white from Behr. We are in the cold north 🙂 and the colour looks great in the snow too! The job just took a sprayer, my dad, and some ladders, and we totally changed the curb appeal of our house. We only spent $500 in paint to cover a 1700 sqft house. I actually feel really proud of my house when i pull up now! It looks so fresh and modern!

    • I appreciate your willingness to listen. I can get tired of hearing about politics, too, but it helps to remind myself that lots of people (a disproportionate number of whom are immigrants who work on our homes to help us realize these types of projects) CAN’T choose to just “rise above” politics. I’d like to be able to just blithely shop anywhere with a clear conscience, but that’s not the world we live in.

    • Where I’m from (Missouri) barely anyone paints brick and it’s somewhat frowned upon. But as soon as we moved to Tennessee we saw painted brick homes left and right. I think it’s a regional thing (just what is normal in different regions). I love the look of painted brick though!

  • AHH! I’m painting my house white this month! (eeeee!) and I’m both extremely excited and extremely nervous. Haha. Thanks for putting in the painters perspective. Also the part about white houses sometimes being “blinding”- this is something I’ll keep in mind when choosing the white!

  • Wow! So lovely! I especially love the new door color, looks very modern and light. Always love your posts and appreciate your kind responses to everyone who comments. It’s a rapidly changing world out there- we just gotta love!

  • WOW – So beautiful! The little peek into the entry actually made me squeal! So cozy and inviting…

  • Hi, I just wanted to chime in and say I support your statement above, Emma. I live in Atlanta, the HQ of Home Depot, so they tend to be in the news a lot here They definitely want to be known for having their own values separate from the founder, who has been retired and had his own foundation for years. Of course it is complicated, but I’ve been impressed with how HD steps up to help with disaster relief and the other ways they help the community.

    • I love painted brick but one concern we have is the upkeep. How much upkeep does it take? How often does it need to be repainted?

  • Cann’t we read a design/lifestyle blog without political options or reproches of every one and every body?

    • Thank you for your comment and I understand the sentiment friend. But also I want to put it out there that it is OK for our readers to ask us questions around these types of things, especially for sponsored posts. We do not want to be performative and make everything about us, but we also appreciate the discussion and opportunity to respond.

    • Agreed, so tired of it all. If I stayed away from all social media, companies, people I disagreed with in some form or fashion, I’d have to crawl in a hole and stay there.

  • Last week when we posted a teaser of this project on Instagram we received a lot of comments asking why we were choosing to continue our planned sponsored posts with The Home Depot. That was posted on Friday, June 26th, so feel free to see the entire response and discussion there.

    Once we saw information being circulated about THD being affiliated with Trump we emailed our contact there to ask if that was true and also to ask what their company was doing right now to work on anti-racism. Their response was that the founder who donated money to Trump’s previous presidential campaign is retired and has been for years and his views do not represent all of THD. They also directed us to a statement they put out on June 1st (you can see it on their IG account) that talked about where they stand as a company on anti-racism as a one million dollar donation they made.

    Is this enough? Should they donate more? Should they do more? These are all great questions that should be continued to be asked and discussed. But for us the issue came down to this. Are we going to continue to work with a company that is actively working to improve? Or should we boycott them because we know a portion of our audience will equate working with them to supporting Trump even if we do not see this as accurate? We choose to continue working with them.

    There is more in the statement we made on social and we’d appreciate you taking the time to go and read there if this is something that concerns you or you would like to learn more. We also had a lot of commenters both agree and disagree with our choice. We welcome the discussion, we believe honest conversations will broaden perspectives and move us all forward. Dishonest comments or abusive comments will not be published here. This is the healthy boundary we have set for ourselves.

    • Emma and Elsie,
      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment and explanation of your partner relationship. At first I flinched when reading it was a partnered post, but your comment spurred me to do my own research and to educate myself further. Thank you for being open, honest, and not playing into “cancel culture” in a way that is not productive! Oh….and the house is beautiful too! (As always!)

    • Is there any chance you could post the entirety of your IG post here? I quit IG a few months ago and it has super low functionality (like you can’t read any posts that are so long they continue into the comment section) if you don’t have an account. Thank you!

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