Before You Paint Your Brick Understand This…



A brick home carries a timeless appeal, but even time-honored beauty needs a refresh now and then. Painting your home’s brick exterior can modernize its look, protect the fa├žade, and increase curb appeal. However, the paint selection process is pivotal. Traditional paints can suffocate brick, trapping moisture and causing deterioration over time. This is where breathable paints come into play, ensuring the longevity and health of your brick.


The Importance of Breathable Paint for Brick Surfaces


Brick, as a construction material, is valued for its durability, aesthetic appeal, and natural insulating properties. One of the lesser-known but critical characteristics of brick is its porosity, which allows it to “breathe.” This breathing is the brick’s ability to absorb and release moisture from the environment. It’s a vital function that helps regulate moisture levels within the brick, preventing long-term damage such as spalling (where the face of the brick flakes or peels away), efflorescence (the white, powdery substance that sometimes appears on brick), and mold growth, which can compromise both the brick’s structural integrity and the indoor air quality of the home.


Breathable paints, like those mineral-based options such as Romabio and Keim, are formulated to work in harmony with brick’s natural properties. They penetrate the surface and calcify within the brick’s pores, allowing moisture to transfer freely in and out. This ensures that any moisture that does enter the brickwork from either interior or exterior sources can escape without becoming trapped. Trapped moisture, particularly in climates with freeze-thaw cycles, can expand as it freezes, leading to cracking and potential structural failure over time.


Moreover, breathable paints help to maintain the thermal efficiency of brick. By allowing moisture to move freely, they enable bricks to contribute to the thermal regulation of a building, absorbing heat and releasing it slowly over time. This can contribute to more stable indoor temperatures and potentially lower heating and cooling costs.


Another benefit of using breathable paints is the reduction in maintenance costs. Since these paints are less likely to trap moisture, the risk of paint bubbling, blistering, or peeling is significantly reduced. This means that the paint job will last longer and the building will require less frequent touch-ups or repairs.


Aesthetic Superiority of Mineral Paints Over Latex for Masonry


Mineral paints, such as Romabio, have a composition that complements the natural beauty of brick and stone. Made from natural ingredients, like limestone and potash, these paints create a finish that is matte and deeply pigmented, reflecting the textures and subtleties of your brick. This natural matte finish allows the character of the brick to shine through, preserving its rustic charm and providing an organic, earthy quality to the exterior of the home.

In contrast, latex paints, which are synthetic polymer-based, tend to form a film on the surface of the brick. This film can give the masonry a sheen that is often described as “plastic-like.” The reflective nature of the latex paint’s finish can detract from the brick’s natural texture and can make the surface appear flat and uniform. This effect can be particularly jarring on historic homes, where the goal is often to enhance and preserve the original architectural features.

The composition of mineral paints allows them to chemically bond with the masonry surface, becoming part of the wall itself. This results in a more integrated look, as if the color emanates from the brick, rather than sitting on top of it. Latex paints, on the other hand, simply adhere to the surface, which can make the brickwork look coated or sealed rather than naturally colored.

Furthermore, mineral paints are naturally resistant to UV radiation, which means they don’t fade as quickly as their latex counterparts. This resistance to fading helps maintain the original color and vibrancy of the paint for many years, contributing to a more enduring aesthetic appeal.

Mineral paints enhance the innate beauty of masonry by blending seamlessly with its texture and character, creating a finish that is as durable as it is beautiful. The result is a harmonious and natural appearance that latex paints, with their tendency to impart a synthetic sheen, cannot match. For homeowners seeking to capture the true essence of their brick home, mineral paints offer an authentic and visually pleasing solution.

Addressing Leaks and Waterproofing


The approach to leaking brick must be both strategic and sympathetic to the material’s needs. In cases where waterproofing is a necessity, products like Sherwin Williams’ Loxon line of latex paints offer a robust barrier against water penetration, providing peace of mind where moisture issues are a concern. They form a durable, water-resistant coating that protects the brick or block from further water ingress.


Yet, it’s important to note that waterproofing with such products is often reserved for scenarios where the brickwork is compromised and requires this level of protection. For bricks in good condition, a less invasive approach is preferable. This is where mineral-based paints like Romabio and Keim excel. These paints not only allow the brick to breathe naturally but also enhance its aesthetic with a more natural finish. Their permeability ensures that while your home stands strong against the elements, its exterior walls retain their ability to expel moisture naturally, preserving the structural integrity of the brick.

By carefully selecting between waterproofing or breathable mineral paints, homeowners can make an informed decision that safeguards their property’s longevity and beauty. Whether sealing against persistent problems or opting for a natural finish on well-maintained brick, the choice of paint plays a pivotal role in the health and appearance of your home.




Painting the brick on your home can be a rewarding project. It boosts its visual appeal and protection. By choosing the right paint you ensure that your home’s brick walls remain not just beautiful but also healthy and structurally sound. Remember, the beauty of your home’s exterior is more than skin deep its in choosing what’s right for your style and your homes needs.