How to Paint Brick on Your Home: 5 Steps to Getting a Flawless Façade

It’s all in the prep work when it comes to this exterior makeover

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated June 7, 2023
White brick house gray roof
Photo: pics721 / Adobe Stock


Only DIY if you know what you're doing.

Time to complete

120 hours

It could take slightly more or less time depending on the home’s size, the amount of brickwork, and the brick’s condition.



You’ll spend a lot on supplies, but you may still save money by DIYing.

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What you'll need:


  • Drop cloths
  • Hose
  • Ladder
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush or paint roller
  • Soft-bristle broom or brush
  • Paint sprayer (optional)
  • Power washer (optional)


  • Acrylic caulk
  • Masonry paint
  • Masonry primer
  • Soapy detergent
  • Efflorescence remover (optional)
  • Fungicidal wash (optional)
  • Masonry filler (optional)

If you want to brighten up the exterior of your home, slapping a coat of masonry paint onto brickwork may seem like a no-brainer. However, you need to learn about the intricate process of how to paint brick first. Painting brick on your own isn’t always advisable because of brick’s porous nature, which can lead to dozens of potential DIY pitfalls. There are some important things you should know about before painting a brick house, including how to carefully prep to ensure a long-lasting, polished finish.

If you’re taking the plunge, this step-by-step guide will help you understand how to paint brick home exteriors the right way.

Prepping to Paint Brick

Before buying gallons of paint, assess whether your brickwork is suitable for painting and if you have the skills and commitment to do a decent job. Painting your home’s brick exterior calls for a lot of labor over a long period of time. Additionally, you’ll have to climb a ladder to reach those higher parts of your siding, which can potentially be dangerous if you don’t have a good grasp of ladder safety tips

On top of the physical demands, this project is irreversible. Once you paint the brick, you’ll never be able to return it to its former natural appearance, even with expensive chemical removal treatments. 

Plus, if excess moisture gets trapped between the paint and the brickwork, the structural integrity of your home is at risk. (This is also why you should never paint your brick chimney with regular exterior paint.) Aside from this extreme prospect, excess moisture results in bubbling and cracking paint, so you could quickly end up with a messier home appearance than you had before the paint job.

Poor quality or damaged brick that’s soft, highly porous, and more susceptible to moisture infiltration sometimes benefits from a coat of high-quality brick paint. On the other hand, brand new brick needs to acclimate to its surroundings before you paint it. You should wait a year before you paint new brick so that it has time to settle.

  1. Clean the Brick

    Red brick caulk repair
    Photo: Ivan-balvan / Getty Images

    You’ve opted to go for it, so now you need to clean and prep your home’s exterior for painting

    Scrub off debris and dust with a soft-bristle brush or broom. Then, use a soapy detergent solution to clean away any dirt and grease. Using a power washer speeds up the process and removes any loose mortar, but don’t get too close, linger in one area for too long, or use the power washer on a high setting. Doing so could damage your brick house by causing the bricks to break or crumble or negatively impact the mortar joints, rendering your home structurally unsound.  

    Sometimes, moisture results in the brickwork developing a thin crystal-like layer of deposits on the surface known as efflorescence. You can use an efflorescence-removing salt treatment to clear this away quickly and easily. Additionally, you may want to use a fungicidal wash to remove any existing mold and mildew. Rinse well with clean water after treating and washing your brick. 

    After you clean your brick, wait for a few days to let it fully dry out so that you don’t trap any moisture when you paint and so that the paint is actually able to adhere to the surface.

  2. Repair the Brick

    You may need to repoint bricks, aka replace the mortar, if any of the mortar has fallen off or eroded, as this type of damage makes the brick more susceptible to moisture infiltration. You can make any minor repairs by adding masonry filler or acrylic caulk between bricks where the mortar has fallen out. Keep in mind that both caulk and masonry filler will need around a week to cure before you can do anything else with your brick. Any major repointing or repairing is often best left to the pros.

    Once you’ve waited for your makeshift mortar to fully cure, don’t just jump into the next step. Check your forecast before you start applying primer, and make sure the weather will be dry for the next few days. You cannot apply paint or primer to wet brick because it won’t adhere properly and it could trap moisture inside, so make sure the forecast is clear and dry.

  3. Apply Primer

    If your brickwork, old or new, doesn’t already have a seal or paint primer, this is a must-do job. Primer helps keep moisture out, provides a smoother finish and better adhesion, and you won’t need to apply so much paint because the brick won’t absorb as much. If water doesn’t bead on the surface of the brick when you spray it, the brick likely hasn't had a primer treatment.

    Choose a high-quality masonry primer for the job, which tends to have a thin consistency that absorbs well and offers good alkaline resistance. Use a paint sprayer for the quickest application, but if you’re not confident in your spraying skills, a high-nap paint roller will also do the trick. You may need to apply more than one coat in areas that collect mildew or have excessive efflorescence buildup. Let your primer dry fully before moving on. Waiting 24 hours is typically a safe bet, but your can of primer should have more specific instructions.

  4. Select the Right Paint

    Grab paint bucket store green shirt
    Photo: jchizhe / Adobe Stock

    Because of brick's porous nature, you’ll need high-quality, breathable, weather-resistant masonry paint to prevent moisture from getting trapped. 

    Elastomeric and premium acrylic latex paints with a life span guarantee of at least 10 years are a good choice of brick paint. When in doubt, visit a store with an in-house expert who can advise you on the best brand, finish, and type of paint for your situation. Select an exterior paint color and finish that speaks to you and your home’s aesthetic. Be sure to keep local homeowners association (HOA) painting guidelines in mind before buying.

  5. Apply Paint

    Again, using a paint sprayer is the fastest option for large surface areas over most of your home’s siding. However, getting the right spray painting technique can be tricky for beginners. If you fall into that camp, using rollers with a high nap (at least half an inch) can give you a better finish on highly textured surfaces. On large areas of textured brick, apply a coat with the sprayer, and then go over it with a roller to get into the crevices and cracks.

    Apply two or three coats of paint for an even finish and extra durability, and wait at least four hours for the paint to dry before you go in with a second coat if you need one. You don’t have to add a second coat, but if you feel like you can still see some of the brick showing through or your finish isn’t as smooth as you’d like it, adding another coat will do the trick.

DIY Brick Painting vs. Hiring a Pro

This isn’t a job for the faint-hearted, and getting it wrong can leave you with more than just a messy-looking finish. If your brickwork needs extensive repointing or repairing, you aren’t sure if you’re making the right choice, or you're confused about what to purchase, hire a professional exterior painter near you.

The average cost to have a brick house painted professionally ranges from $3,500 to $10,500. If you try to DIY this job and end up missing a crucial step or taking a misstep along the way, you could be out all the money you spent on tools and supplies you bought for the DIY plus the cost of labor to hire a professional. Again, if any part of you is unsure about this project, you’ll probably be saving yourself a lot of money and heartache by putting down the paintbrush and hiring a professional instead. 

Gemma Johnstone contributed to this piece.

Frequently Asked Questions

Brick is very porous, so the best type of paint for bricks is a breathable and water-resistant one labeled specifically for masonry. Opt for a high-quality elastomeric paint (it’ll say this on the can) or a premium, water-based acrylic latex paint for the job. Check the lifespan for a minimum of 10 years to get the most out of your hard work.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.