Asked on Apr 8, 2013

Can you change exterior brick COLOR?

Woodbridge Environmental


We found a great house that will work well for my family and aging mom.....the ONLY problem is that the exterior brick is funky "yellow" color. I know this is a bizarre question but is there way to change the color (using paint or stain or whatever)? What would be the cost to do something of this nature? THANK YOU for your help.....
1 answer
  • Many people have had great success in painting brick. However you must understand a few things about doing this so you do not destroy the house in the process. Brick is simply a fired clay product. It absorbs water from the day it is taken out of the drying kiln. Some bricks as compared to others absorb water at a various rates. When water is absorbed some of it simply leaks out the back side while some water soaks into the brick which causes it to expand ever so slightly. Over the course of 50 years or so some bricks can expand as much as a 1/32 of an inch. When you stack 32 rows that means the top of the top brick can move up as much as one inch! You see this result all the time in the larger cities where brick walls just fall down. This is caused by the expansion of the bricks, the water that has leaked behind them causing the brick ties that hold the brick against the structure to rust and fail. Over time the brick bows and then simply gives out falling to the ground. What this has to do with your home is this. Bricks need to breath to prevent over saturation of moisture causing them to expand faster then normal. Bricks need to allow water to flow back out through weeping holes placed in the walls by the mason when the wall was built. If you seal the bricks using any type of paint, you risk over the long term destroying the engineering that went into the wall to prevent it from failing. Thus shortening the life of the wall system over all. Can you paint the brick, sure, but remember you must do so with care. Simply brushing over the brick is not the proper way to go about this. You need to look for drainage holes called weep holes and prevent them from becoming clogged with paint and caulk. These holes will be found over the top of each window next to the steel that holds the brick up. You should also find these holes along the floor line on the first floor or near the grade level. It is common for people who are painting windows to paint the steel lentil that holds up the brick. simply makes it look better, however what they always do is caulk the gaps between the brick and the steel or fill the small holes that often times is filled with webs from insects or mud from bees. You want to keep these open. As water gets behind the brick it flows down to flashing's that you cannot see that drain the water out of these holes. If the water cannot drain out, the result is cracking bricks, rusting steel and a whole host of other issues I will not get into at this time. So paint if you want, just keep drain holes open. And remember once you paint, you will need to maintain that paint every year after to keep it looking good. With natural bricks, you do nothing other then to wash down to keep any dirt or mildew from growing on the surface. Another way of changing the colors is stains. This does not always work as well as paint but it is an option depending upon the color your looking to achieve. Check out for more brick information that may be helpful in determining what to do with your yellow color bricks.

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