Bricks have been used on homes for centuries. It’s a classic building material that can withstand the test of time. But just because it survives a long time doesn’t mean it remains nice looking. Whether it’s a brick exterior or a brick fireplace, sometimes a little update can make a big difference. Here are a few ways to update old brick to get a new look.
If the color of the brick is your issue, staining is an option. Brick staining has less upkeep than painting, which makes it a popular choice, especially for exteriors. A stain is applied to the surface, which the brick then absorbs altering the color like a dye. A big benefit of staining is that since it combines with the brick, the material keeps its natural variations. It won’t be one flat color, but instead, have small color differentiations with some bricks lighter and other’s darker. Staining brick is a great option if you’re looking for a permanent more natural look without the upkeep.
Painting brick has become incredibly popular these days, especially for brick fireplaces. Bricks often have a heavy and dark appearance, so painting them provides instant lightness to an area. Painting does require regular maintenance though, which is why custom home builders don’t always recommend it for brick exteriors. The paint is applied to the surface, but bubbling and chipping eventually happen. Paint turns the brick into a flat uniform color, but it’s a great instant update that can bring date brick into this century.
The farmhouse style is incredibly popular these days, and one way people have been achieving that look is by whitewashing their brick features. Whitewash is easy to DIY and low cost, which is part of its appeal. A watered down version of paint is applied to the brick and then whipped away. It creates a vintage, rustic feel. It’s not a completely flat finish as some of the brick texture will come through. The great thing about whitewashing brick is that you can do it as heavy or as light as you like.
A German Schmear is a special technique that is commonly confused with whitewashing but has more skill behind it. It’s a great way to update both interior and exterior bricks. Wet mortar is applied over the bricks, with some of it then scrapped off. The result is a charming old-world feel that allows the natural brick variation to shine while providing an updated look. It’s a little more expensive than other options, but it’s permanent and doesn’t require maintenance.
Old bricks are often dark, but what many people don’t realize is that a good washing can completely transform them. Bricks are porous, so things like dirt and soot can easily get trapped on them. You would be surprised by what a good cleaning can do. We always recommend homeowners thorough clean their brick before doing any permanent alterations.
Brick is a classic material that has a timeless element to it. Sometimes it needs a little refresh to bring a home into this era though. Whether it’s an exterior wall or an interior fireplace, there are a lot of options available to update your brick. Contact us to learn more!