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Painting Exterior Brick White: A Project Spotlight

Thinking about painting exterior brick white? Learn more about the pros and cons of painted brick homes and get some beautiful inspiration from one of our recent color consulting projects.

We see a lot of home design trends in our work as paint color consultants. Over the past year, one of those trends has been creating exterior color schemes for red brick homes and leaving the brick untouched. 

But we still have plenty of clients interested in painting exterior brick white, and it’s a look we don’t expect to go away any time soon! With the right color choice, a painted white brick exterior can look beautiful, modern and timeless!

Keep reading to learn more about white-painted brick houses, how to choose the right exterior white for your home, and to get some inspiration from our client’s painted brick home.

*This post contains affiliate links for products I use and love. If you click on some links and make a purchase, I will get a small commission at no cost to you. This helps pay for the costs of the blog, so I can continue to offer great content to our readers.

Should You Paint Your Brick House?

This is easily one of the most common questions we get when we work with owners of brick homes. Many of our clients want to paint their brick but are concerned it will impact the value of their home or make it more difficult to maintain.

Here’s our take on some common painted brick questions:

Is painted brick out of style?

Painted brick, like any other home design feature, goes up and down in terms of popularity all the time. If you want to paint your brick, it can be classic and timeless like the home we’re featuring today. But don’t paint your brick just because you’re chasing a trend. Only paint it if you want that look, or if you don’t like your brick.

When I paint my brick does it cause maintenance issues?

This has become an urban myth.  If you paint your brick properly, it won’t peel. This includes a thorough cleaning of the brick before you paint. You should also use a really good masonry primer.  Once you prime it, then it becomes like any other surface. Reach out to your local paint store for more information on how to paint brick in your area.

How long does white-painted brick last?

Do an online search of “how long does painted brick last” and you’ll get a wide variety of answers, including some articles stating you’ll need to repaint every 3-5 years! But in our experience, bricks that are prepped and painted properly last much longer.

If you need proof, the brick on the home we’re featuring today was previously painted, probably about 10-15 years ago. There was no peeling or blistering of paint anywhere on the home.

Have you ever splattered paint on brick? It’s almost impossible to clean up. Graffiti on bare brick is the same way – it usually needs to be painted over.

Do I need to prime brick before painting?

YES, you absolutely need to prime brick before painting with a good masonry primer. This is true whether your brick is old. Priming the surface before painting ensures that the new paint will adhere to the brick and give you the best (and longest-lasting) finish. A special masonry primer will allow the brick to breathe, which is critical.

How to Choose the Best White Paint for Exterior Brick

We’ve written a lot about the best paint colors that go with red brick exteriors, including the best white paints. But if you’re painting exterior brick white, you can choose your paint color much like you would for any other exterior project.

Still, it’s not enough to look at paint swatches and decide what looks best on paper. It’s important to consider the lighting, surrounding environment, neighborhood, and other factors when designing your exterior color palette.

Here are a few things we consider when designing a white-painted brick house color scheme:

  • If your neighborhood has houses with earthy or muted finishes, pick a warmer white so that it doesn’t look harsh next to the neighbor houses.
  • Use brighter whites if your house is usually in the shade.
  • If your house is in bright sunshine or you live in a higher altitude area (like the Colorado home featured in today’s post), select a warmer white that won’t look washed out in the natural light.
  • Always test your white paint colors. Remember that colors look completely different (and as much as 4-5x lighter) in the sunshine than they look in the shade or inside.
  • Keep in mind that your home will also look cooler in the cool winter light, and brighter when the snow reflects on it. This is another great reason to pick a warmer richer “white” that won’t wash out.

Project Spotlight: White Painted Brick Home in Colorado

Brick house painted with SW City Loft. Photo by CC Customer, taken in summer

I had the pleasure of creating an exterior color scheme for this beautiful Colorado home. Please note that this photo was taken in the summer when the sun is strong and the light is warm. We rarely get photos of projects taken in the summer and winter, but we will show the differences here.

The photo above was taken in the summer. I took most of the other photos in February. The homeowner told me that the house looked completely different in the winter than in the summer. When I was back i the studio looking at the photos, I discovered she was definitely right!

The homeowners were looking for a change and wanted a look that was evocative of a European Chateau. The architecture of the home lent itself very well to that design, because of the style of the windows.  

Their existing exterior palette already included painted brick, but it didn’t highlight these architectural features because the window trim was painted the same color as the windows and the roofline, which resulted in a very heavy look. 

The brick was also painted a very dated exterior color, Sherwin-Williams Stone Lion.

Before: Brick house painted with SW Stone Lion

Painting the exterior brick white completely transformed this gorgeous home!

Sherwin-Williams City Loft Painted Brick

We resisted using a very bright white because of the Colorado sunshine. Instead, we painted the house a very light greige called SW City Loft. City Loft is a balanced greige on the warm side. It has an LRV of 70, which makes it light-reflecting. What’s amazing is that on paper it looks almost identical to the “Before” photo above, but believe me, City Loft is nothing like it.

In the photos below, the house looks stark white, even though City Loft is a warm light greige. Paint colors always look lighter outside, but in this case, it’s brighter than I would normally expect. The reason is that the light is cooler in the winter, and the light reflecting off the snow is making the house look brighter.

South Facing Side, taken at 1:00 PM, Photo by M. Marceny

The photos above and below were taken on a cloudy winter day, with snow on the ground. The light is lower and the snow reflects on the house, making it whiter. Can you imagine how stark this house would be if it were painted a color like SW Alabaster, which is brighter than City Loft (LRV=82)?

SE Facing Side, taken at 1:00 PM, Photo by M. Marceny

City Loft looked great no matter what!

Sherwin-Williams Fawn Brindle Window Trim

Painting the window trim a lighter color was also a key part of the transformation to a Modern French Chateau, and helped keep this color scheme from looking like a black-and-white farmhouse palette (which wouldn’t have worked with the home’s architectural details).

We picked Fawn Brindle, which is a darker greige than City Loft, with an LRV of 36. It looks pretty light outside, but inside would be a mid-toned to dark accent wall color.

NE Facing side, Photo by M. Marceny

SW Fawn Brindle is a beautiful warm greige with subtle green undertones. It pairs well with the warm white painted brick and helps the windows stand out without looking too harsh.

Sherwin-Williams Black Fox

SW Black Fox was specified for the garage doors, fascia, gutters, downspouts, and crown molding between the soffits and the body of the house.

Black Fox is a dark bronze color, a darker version of Urbane Bronze. We picked it because it matched the bronze window frames exactly.

SW Facing, Photo by M. Marceny

SW Black Fox is a soft black with warm undertones that looks like a rich, deep brown paint color outside. It helped these design elements stand out without creating too much contrast with the white-painted brick.

Overall, this color scheme was very simple but highly effective because of the placement, which is just as important as the colors. It looked clean and fresh after it was painted.

The Roofline

We used all three colors for the roofline, and the photo of the entry below shows it best. Black Fox for the fascia, gutters, and crown molding to match the bronze windows. Fawn Brindle for the windows and door trim.

We painted the soffits the same color as the body (SW City Loft) to lighten up the roofline and add dimension to the design.

The Back Door

This home has many beautiful moments, but this back door is one of my favorites.

Back entry with gray door trim andposts.
Photo by M. Marceny

White Painted Brick Home Color Scheme:

You can order Samplize samples for this palette by clicking on the links below:

make a statement with your color palette

Best Way to Test White Paint for Exterior Brick

When looking for the best white colors for painted brick houses, it’s important never to assume a color you like on paper will look right on your home.

We always recommend testing paint colors on your house because lighting can completely change the colors.

In the old days, this meant we painted a large poster board with sample pots and a huge mess.

Now we have 9X14” Pre-Painted peel-and-stick paint samples from SAMPLIZE. Check out the SAMPLIZE website here.

A Colorado home features a white painted brick exterior color palette.

Key Learning Points

If you want to paint your brick exterior and bring new life to your home, choosing the perfect color makes a big impact!

When it comes to finding the right colors for a white-painted brick home, remember these points:

  • Exterior white paint colors look lighter, brighter, and starker in the sunshine, so you need to pick a warmer white paint color that won’t look too stark outdoors.
  • Make sure to thoroughly prep your brick to ensure the paint lasts for years to come. This includes cleaning your brick and priming.
  • Always test your paint colors in natural light before selecting exterior paint. Whenever I test my paint colors, they are perfect, and when I don’t test they turn out wrong. Learn how to test your paint colors here.

Remember: NEVER, EVER use paint matches from a different brand than the one specified. Results are poor and there are no standards for the sheens.  Even though your painter may truly believe it can be done, don’t do it. See results from paint matching here.

Online Color Consulting

Still need help picking the best paint colors?  Discover our Online Color Consulting Package.

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We love your comments! Please note that the blog is meant as general advice, and it is not possible to give specific answers to your paint questions.  If you want more specific advice, please consider purchasing a color consultation. Thank you for your understanding.

About the Author

Michelle Marceny, principal designer and founder of The Color Concierge, a paint color consulting company in Denver, Colorado.

Hi, I’m Michelle Marceny, founder, owner, and Principal Color Designer at The Color Concierge. I believe a fresh coat of paint can completely transform a space. The Color Concierge was born out of my drive to help clients fall back in love with their homes. My clients trust me to help them find the perfect paint color for their home – whether it’s a whole-house paint color scheme or ideas for a single room. 

Since The Color Concierge was founded in 2017, we have completed over 3000 color consultations, both online and in-person.  I am a Certified Color Expert with 7 years of experience creating interior and exterior color palettes throughout North America.

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Meet Michelle

Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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8 Easy Ways to Pick Paint Colors