Asked on Aug 26, 2012

How can I change the color of red brick?

by Kris
I am redoing my landscape into a more modern contemporary look - using grey, silver, blues. However, I have about 3000 red bricks. Instead of the cost and effort of replacing them, I'd like to find an effective way to change the color and still look natural (no paint). Can I stain them? Making them pink would be worse, so acceptable colors are the concrete color (i.e. sidewalk), brown, tan or grey. Or would it be better to apply a thin layer of concrete? How does concrete stick to brick? Thanks for your help!!
  13 answers
  • You can spray them with a stain, but depending upon the type of brick your covering you may have mixed results with the cement between them picking up more stain then the surface of the bricks themselves. Ideally you should consider paint. But remember, once painted it is darn near impossible to remove without expensive measures being taken. Can you provide a photo of the walls your looking to do? Perhaps In fact I know many folks here will have all sorts of ideas that you did not even think about once they know that exactly it is that your doing.
  • Kris Kris on Aug 26, 2012
    The bricks are about 50 years old and aren't mortared. I'll probably do that after I change their color. They form the parkway between the curb and sidewalk.
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Aug 28, 2012
    Concrete stain would work well. You can find it at your local Sher-Wms. store.
  • Kris Kris on Sep 01, 2012
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Jo S Jo S on Sep 02, 2012
    I have seen red brick whitewashed and it was beautiful. However, I'm not sure if this would work on brick outside. Perhaps stamping it in some fashion?
  • Jeanie Randall Jeanie Randall on Jan 27, 2015
    Home Depot has faux stone veneers panels. Might be worth looking into, but could get expensive.
  • D & K D & K on Feb 04, 2015
    You're not going to be able to acid stain brick. Acid stain only effects the portland and does nothing for clay fired bricks that don't contain portland. If it's a concrete red brick then it's had dyes added to the portland during production and once again, acid staining won't work. Semi-transparent latex stains will work although you'll never be able to lighten or dramatically change the color of the brick and maintain a non-painted appearance. If you decide to skim coat them with a concrete like mixture you'll need to use a mortar mix, one that contains lime. Without lime the cement will not stick properly and will eventually chip or flake off.
  • Deborah Donovan-Navarro Deborah Donovan-Navarro on Feb 19, 2015
    @No search results.Kris,See my post "How We Are Turning a Foreclosure Yard Into Gardens of Beauty". It's primarily about the landscaping I've done in the garden, but if you scroll down the pictures, you will see that we've transformed the yellow house with red brick into charcoal grey, white brick and added black shutters. We thoroughly cleaned the brick before we painted them with masonry paint.
  • Nancy Nancy on Aug 03, 2015
    My daughter has "whitewashed" brick on the outside of several houses she had renovated. She has done it on several colors of brick. They all looked awesome!
  • Debi53 Debi53 on Aug 04, 2015
    We had ugly orange brick on the lower half of our 2 story house. We stained it with solid color masonry stain from Sherwin Williams in a tan color that is much lighter than the brick. It has been almost 8 years and it still looks like new. You can also get semi-transparent stain which will alter, but not completely cover the brick color.
    • See 1 previous
    • Debi53 Debi53 on May 24, 2018

      Stain holds up better than paint. But if you ever decide to paint over the stain the paint will hold up better than if you painted it from the beginning. We have stained and then painted over it several years later and both have held up.

  • Linda Linda on Feb 08, 2016
    I had variant colors of red brick surrounding my fireplace. I actually took regular wood stain and went over the grout and brick face a total of three times and attained a very darkened muted color that better matched my brown/tan livingroom. Bricks look more like dark brown and medium brown now. The bricks absorbed the stain and it still looks good 5 years later.
    • Rachel Rachel on Aug 15, 2019

      i want to do the same and would love to see a picture if thats ok?

  • Irene Marchionni Irene Marchionni on Jan 30, 2018

    There are stains which can be added to wet concrete for coloring - perhaps they may penetrate dry brick. Check with a landscaper who does hard scaping as well.

  • Debi53 Debi53 on May 03, 2018

    The stain holds up great. No prep other than perhaps you should make sure there isn't a lot of grease or grime on your fireplace. I just put the stain straight onto the orange brick.