How to Paint the Exterior of Your Brick Home
If you’ve ever renovated a house, then you can relate to me when I tell you I used all of my budget…So with that being said we’ve added a few DIY projects to our list to complete the house. One of them being painting the brick exterior. Something you need to know about us is that we are not DIYers. My husband is not handy like Chip Gaines and unfortunately neither is my dad. So just know if we can do this, YOU can do this.
In the before you can see we definitely did some exterior work before we painted the brick. We converted the garage, removed the gingerbread molding, installed new windows and opened up the porch. We included this in our construction budget that we got a loan for when we bought the house. We found that DIYing the paint on the exterior saved us over $6000.
In this post we share all our best tips, supplies and commonly asked questions on Instagram when we shared that we took on this project. Scroll to the bottom to see our tips in a little less detail, but in video format.
WHAT PAINT PRODUCT & WHY
I started with a Pinterest search, then YouTube, then Google. I felt like there are resources lacking for this process so I went to the professionals at Romabio. The reason I wanted to use their paint was because I knew they specialize in exteriors. Traditionally, experts have not recommended painting brick because water and moisture can cause damage. But, if you use a breathable, mineral paint that does NOT seal the brick and allows the moisture to release, then you won’t have these issues.
Brick is a made from clay, sand, lime, and/or other mineral based materials. Romabio paints are also made from mineral based materials with potassium silicate as the main binder. This means when you put the mineral based paints on brick and masonry, it allows the brick to breath, and the natural ingredients calcify to it creating a long-lasting paint surface that is extremely durable, and won’t peel, chip or flake off. Acrylic paint, which is petroleum based, is more like plastic. It will not bond to the surface in the same way, and it will eventually begin to chip and peel off. It looks shiny, as it is not a natural, mineral product.
OTHER APPEALING PERKS:
- It can be power washed off within 5 days leaving no stress when deciding the color or look that you want. It can also easily be touched up because of its flat finish.
- It lasts! Typical paint has to be touched up year after year and takes a ton of maintenance to look top notch. Because Classico Limewash is highly permeable and breathable, it calcifies to the brick for maximum durability and will continue to patina over time, lasting decades without having to repaint or maintain the finish. Due to the high pH of the paint, it is naturally mold-resistant and has a high UV and fade resistance allowing the color to keep its depth and quality over time.
- Natural product. In the video you’ll see we had pups and a pregnant friend with us while we were painting. It’s a natural safe product. It’s also environmentally friendly.
The supply list for this project is pretty simple. The most challenging part about purchasing supplies is knowing how much paint to get. Measure the height and the width of your home to get the square footage.
- 1 QT. size covers 120 SQ/FT
- 0.67 GAL. size covers 300 SQ/FT
- 4 GAL. size covers 1800 SQ/FT
We used two 4 gallon containers of paint for our entire home. They cost about $250 each which sounds expensive until you realize how much you save by DIYing and not having the maintenance that standard paint gives you. More on that below. You can find the paint at Home Depot or use the store locator on their website.
- Romabio Limewash
- Romabio Application Brush
- Water Hose
- Bucket(s) for Mixing
We let you guys vote on the color that we painted the house and you chose Bianco White which was exactly what I was hoping for. That’s what’s so fun about our community. We’re all on the same page 😉 The one thing that scared me was that Bianco is the most white of their choices, but it just made sense for that modern ranch look we were going for.
The process to using Romabio Limewash is simple.
STEP 1: SAMPLE COLORS
While I put all for samples on my home you could probably guess between two. The smaller containers are 1 qt and cost $32. You could easily paint a fireplace with this container, but I wish they had a smaller container just for samples. If you’re deciding between a white I’d test Avorio and Bianco.
STEP 2: PURCHASE SUPPLIES
See notes above about knowing how much paint to purchase.
STEP 3: PREP HOUSE
Prep includes power washing the house and taping off what you don’t want painted. We used boxes to lay on the concrete porch that we didn’t want to get paint drips. The consistency is pretty watery so you want to make sure you take your time on this step. The paint does power wash within five days, but I’d rather prep my space than have a long clean up. One tip that we found handy: having a wet towel nearby to wipe up any rogue drips.
Note: The limewash will not harm your plants. I just trimmed my little tree away from the brick.
STEP 4: RECRUIT FRIENDS PAINT
Whether it’s painting the exterior of your home or taking on a patio project, buy some beer and pizza and recruit your friends. It makes the projects so much more fun and you get it done so much quicker.
STEP 5: DILUTE THE LIMEWASH AND PAINT
Romabio Limewash comes in a concentrate, so you must dilute it. When diluting, remember that it’s easier to add water later, so start with less water and mix your way to your ideal consistency. Our first coat was diluted 50% and the second 100% to make it thinner and easier to get in the grout lines. Color pigments don’t dissolve in water, so when the paint is applied, and water evaporates, the color of the paint remains the same.
As shared above, Romabio Limewash comes in a concentrate, so you must dilute it. We recommend using a mixer to mix the paint. The website recommends a painters paddle, but I used a baking mixer because I had one. Simply using a paint stick was not effective for us. It also mixes so much better with warm water.
PROTECT YOUR SKIN
This is a great product, but oh man did it dry out my hands. We really regretted not wearing gloves. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, the paint will drip on your hands and gloves would have really helped us there.
SMOOTH IS FAST
Don’t let yourself get sloppy. I caught us doing this when we were trying to speed up, but honestly we went a lot faster when we stayed smooth and steady. Consistent strokes with full coverage are what we’re going for.
Keep in mind temperature has a significant effect on the process. More heat = faster drying. The heat also helps the paint mix well. Spring and Fall are more temperate and therefore better suited times of the year to tackle this project. We took it on early spring, but we’re in Texas and well it’s always warm lol
COMMON QUESTIONS I RECEIVED ON INSTAGRAM
1. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Our home is a smaller ranch. It took us two days starting around 11am and ending around 6pm with snack breaks. We put two coats on the house and had four of us total helping. Two of us used the Romabio brushes and the other two used smaller brushes for around the windows, doors and lights.
2. IF MY HOME WAS TWO STORY WOULD I HIRE A PROFESSIONAL?
Short answer, yes. It was definitely a great DIY for a single story ranch home, but a bigger two story would be a challenge unless you’re an avid DIYer. That is just not us, but I will tell you if I hired a professional I would make sure they used Romabio Limewash whether we did the classic European look with original brick showing through or full coverage.
3. WHY DID YOU USE LIMEWASH RATHER THAN ROMABIO’S MASONRY PAINT?
In my specific situation I used limewash rather than masonry paint because my brick was textured. Up close it almost looks like stone specially after it’s painted. Classico Limewash is a beautiful whitewash finish that allows you to wash off and expose some of the brick. However you can achieve a solid finish with Classico Limewash if you skip the water wash-off process. I love the way it turned out and I’m so glad I chose this product.
4. WHAT IF I HATE THE COLOR AFTER I PAINT IT?
One of the added benefits of using our authentic slaked-lime product is that, unlike traditional latex paint, Classico Limewash can be wiped or washed off immediately after application for a no-stress, no commitment purchase. With use of a high force pressure washer, the entire application on the exterior of a home can be removed up to 5 days following the initial application. This allows you to test the product on your brick or masonry surface first.
5. HOW MANY COATS DO I NEED?
You can totally get away with 1 if you’re going for the European look. We did a second coat but it was much more diluted than the first coat which helped get in the groat lines a little easier and gave us a solid color. I’ll tell you it’s also gotten better with time.
6. IS THE ROMABIO THE BEST FOR APPLICATION? SHOULD I RENT A PAINT SPRAYER?
I’m surprised to say this but I LOVE this brush. Not only does it make limewashing large spaces a breeze, but it’s also so soft! Romabio has them handmade with care, allowing you to save time with a more efficient application, and money by not wasting product. Plus the handy dandy hook allows you to set your brush on the rim of your bucket.
Do you have any questions about painting the exterior of your home? Leave them in the comments below. I’d love to make this post a resource for others wanted to take on such a rewarding project!
Want more Home Exterior Inspiration? Follow this link to see the inspiration I found when deciding what color to paint the house or here to see our Home Exterior Pinterest board where I’m constantly pinning new favorites.
We love when our readers take on projects from the blog. Emily sent us over her before and after on Instagram and we are so in love!
“I’m OBSESSED! The process was just as easy as you explained it. Your blog truly convinced us to do it and I can NOT thank you enough!!” – @Em_kalousek
OTHER ROMABIO INSPIRATION:
- Bless’er House Limewashed Brick Exterior Makeover
- White Painted Brick with Young House Love
- Not Necessarily Blonde Limewash Experience
- How to Limewash with Noting Grace
PIN FOR LATER
This post contains affiliate links for which we get a small portion to help support this blog.
How did you replace the old vine columns? Our house has them too and I’m worried about my husband DIYing the replacement of them! Any tips would be so appreciated!
Thanks for sharing! I noticed the Romabio website says you have to moisten the painting surface before painting. What was your timeframe between power washing and painting?
Hi Janine! So sorry for the delay. I just saw this message. We power washed at the beginning of the week and painted that weekend 🙂
I read somewhere that the lime wash shouldn’t be used on horizontal surfaces such as stairs/patios. Do you know if this is true or if there’s perhaps a technique that would allow it to be applied to horizontal surfaces ? Thanks so much!
We usually don’t recommend it on horizontal surfaces, but it has been done before and I would recommend using the Mineral Hardener as a "sealer" coat to help the longevity of the limewash. 🙂
-Chelsea @ RomaBio
what paint color did you use on the windows?
do you think it would work on brick that has been previously painted?
Hi, it looks like the roof was replaced too? Or am I just imagining this?
Yes Bonnie the roof was replaced as well. It wasn’t planned but right before our renovation there was a bad storm that damaged it to where we had to replace.
Hi do you know if you are able to tint your paint to a different color other than the Romabio colors?
I don’t think you can tint the limewash but they do have a paint line you can tint!
How far down near the ground did you paint, considering landscaping and areas where there is graded dirt/mulch? Did you clear any away? Love your blog–SO helpful!!
Hi Kimberly! I painted all the way down to the concrete skirt. It’s not perfect, but with the landscaping you don’t notice.
Thank you so much!
Did you use the limewash on the wood surfaces of the home?
Hi! Our house was previously painted by the owners before us and I think they used the wrong kind of paint and it’s peeling off. So we have started power washing it so do you think we could use this limewash ? Also some areas of the previous paint won’t come off?
Hey Denise! If most of the paint came off when power washing I bet you could still limewash. Romabio also has a Masonry Brick paint that could be a better option to paint over paint. I’m going to email their team to get some feedback and follow up with you!
Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
Hey Denise! Just got a reply from the Romabio team. This is what they said – You can limewash over a previously painted house, but they would have to use our special primer (BioGrip Micro Primer) before applying to allow the limewash or Masonry paint to adhere. Here’s a video with more details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LiH4zSxTec
I hope this helps!
I’m also curious what product and color you used to paint the wood? We have a combo brick/siding house. Thanks!
Hi Randi! We used Sherwin Williams Super Paint for exterior in the color City Loft. It’s held up perfectly except around my front door but I think that’s due to my lack of prep in that area.
Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
Hi! Do you feel like this paint covered so you see none of the original brick color? I have ugly orange brick and don’t ever want to see it again haha
Hey! YES it covers so well. Our brick was bright coral before. A little showed through on the second coat but nothing showed on the second and one year later no coral to be seen 🙂
I know you said you loved the brush but would it be easier to paint with a sprayer? Or can you use a sprayer with limewash?
You can use a sprayer but the brushes will shock you with how much they cover. I feel like we would have had to do more coats if we used the sprayer. We barely even had to do a second coat. It was more like a spot check than a full second coat.
Believe me, when I emailed the Romabio team I thought they were full of it when they told me to use the brush. I thought there is no way I’m going to use a paintbrush to paint my whole stinkin’ house. Turns out they were right lol
Hi! I’m painting my brick this weekend! So excited! I have the Romabio mason paint (2 x 5gal) in Richmond White. I didn’t color test… just hoping for the best! Haha
My Q for you is… how did you handle the ground line? Where the brick meets the earth? I’ve pulled out all my landscaping and power washed already. Just wondering how to avoid the soil/dirt getting on the brush and then into the paint. Thank you in advance for your response! 🙏
Hey Nicole! I’m so excited you’re going to take on this project. Make sure to send photos when you’re done. Before and Afters are my FAVORITE. I bought a few big moving boxes from home depot and laid them on the ground. Every time I moved to a new second I took the box. I also used the boxes when I was painting the area on my porch so I didn’t get paint on the steps. I actually did get a little paint on my porch and just sprayed it off before moving to the next section. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions! Have fun this weekend!
Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
My question is what did you use to paint the wood fascia and how did you color match so well?
Would you recommend replacing the windows before or after limewashing the brick? I’m worried that taking the old windows out will tear up some of the bricks but it sounds like touch up with limewash would be easy if needed. I also don’t want to get the limewash on brand new windows. Help!
Hey Jayme! You can definitely touch up limewash so you can replace the windows after you paint if you’d like to. I’ve touched up areas when we had to jackhammer out a sidewalk next to the house and you’d never know the difference.
How long did you wait before putting on your second coat?
Hi there! Your house looks beautiful! We are in the middle of line washing ours as well. Currently looking for a trim color for the house as well. Can you share what color trim you went with? It looks great!
Thanks in advance!
Hello! I love how your house turned out!! So beautiful! I am wanting to achieve a flat white look, and love how yours is. Did you skip the washing off method after painting? Thanks!
Were you able to use the limewash on non-brick exterior surfaces? Or, you used paint on those surfaces that weren’t brick?
I’m not sure! I’ve only used it on brick. Let me reach out to my friends at Romabio and get a better answer for you. What surface are you wanting to paint?
I love how your house turned out! I was wondering what the difference is between both of the whites you mentioned . Thanks!
Can you share what stain you used on the posts? Are they cedar?
Wow, this is so helpful! We got the exterior of our home repainted by a professional <a href="https://www.msservices-inc.com/residential-painting/"> painting company</a> and they did a great job. But my newlywed daughter and son-in-law just bought their first home and can’t afford to hire professionals, so your advice will come in very handy for them! I will definitely be sending them this article!
Did you wet the brick before painting? How many days before should I power wash? I am buying this paint soon in Avario White.
Did you paint or replace the windows?
Thank you for the message telling us that if you can do it, we can also do it. But is it okay to do this in a place with winter weather?
I saw Romabio has recommended temperatures to work within – 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 90.
Is there a way to get a preview of what your house would look like with whitewash? I’m very nervous about it. Thank you.
Thank you SO much for sharing!! I’m using your tips to start on my house today. I’m very excited and appreciate of such detailed commentary to help me on my own DIY.
Thank you for sharing. It’s gorgeous! I love the color. Also holy crap are you guys ok!?
Lime is caustic.
Safety precautions must be taken to not inhale the powder of get any on your skin. Put in a dust mask, goggles and gloves before opening the containers and mixing.
What color would your garage door be if you didn’t close the garage in?
A couple people have asked about the windows. Were they painted or replaced? If paint, what brand did you use?
What is the sq/ft of your house?
1650 sq ft
This looks great!! After you picked your final color, did you just paint over the other swatches or need to remove before painting the chosen color? Thanks!
I’m wondering about your second coat. Did you wet it before doing the second coat (like you do the first)? So far I’ve done one coat on the back of my house and I definitely want a second coat. I won’t be distressing it, as I want a clean look, like yours.
I noticed that you did not tape or cover the windows or door before limewashing. Does it easily wash off of the windows?
Thank you, we have a work party this weekend, I have limewash and masonry brushes at the ready. I am super excited to begin.
I am buying a house and the owners painted two sides of the brick home a baby blue (hideous) color. I am wondering if the line wash would work over the blue paint or if I need to strip it off with a pressure washer. I couldn’t tell you what kind of paint it is on there now, but wondering if it’s doable.
I’m in the process of starting to paint my house in Bianco White. My question is do you wet the brick prior to second coat and what color white did you use to paint your trim? I’m having a hard time finding any info about a matching white latex paint and no success with color matching at the hardware store.
We did ultra white marquee paint to match our bianco. It looks very close. We had a beige brick to start and only needed one coat.
Hello! In the picture where you have 4 colors on the house, do you know the names of the colors in order? We want to paint our red brick house and I really like the 3rd color down in your photo!
Thank you! This was so helpful and you are darling!!!