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Ugly Brick Exterior!
Shane Johnson
February 13, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I have a 1941 Cottage style home. Brick exterior - in yellow, red and brown tones. I hate the exterior color scheme. The only idea i have right now is to stain the brick red, black shutters and white trim, to give it a cape cod cottage brick look. The only problem being the brick is very textured and hand brushing the stain will be extremely tedious. Especially if i have to wax off the mortar. This leaves me spraying the stain and brick all at once maybe? I am open to all good ideas! I hate the outside!
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
I think the brick could work as is. It is the rest of the colors that need to change. Try painting some tag board panels in warm tones and put them against the brick. I think a brick red paint color might change your mind about the brick. You could do the trim in that color and a lighter color on the eave area. Keeping in warmer darker tones.
February 13, 2013 at 10:50am     
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Lizabeth
I am going to agree that the brick is not the problem. I think the pinky flesh tone paint on the gable is fighting the brick. I would love to see a whole new color scheme using earth/green tones which would compliment the brick I think. Olive green in the gables and cream trim would change everything and so much easier to paint than the brick.
February 13, 2013 at 10:55am     
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
3-I is right about the brick, the previous paint job pulled colors from it and failed. A contrast would be better. Also an alternative to the aluminum awning and upgrading from a deck to a more finished entry stair will help the overall curb appeal.
February 13, 2013 at 10:56am   
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PRO
K&R Contractors, Inc
I agree with everyone...don't forget about bringing a great dark wood tone color to the stairway and the porch to bring much needed balance.
February 13, 2013 at 10:58am   
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househaunted
I agree that there's nothing intrinsically ugly about the brick, it's just a bad color combo (not horrifically bad or anything) and with the right paint color on the rest of the house the brick can look great.

My Houzz: Rooftop Retreat Addition in Toronto

Glen Ellyn Addition
February 13, 2013 at 11:16am   
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Lizabeth
I agree with Ironwood and KBR the aluminum awning is really drab. Lose that and the railing and make a wider step and a real porch overhang. I bet that door is used so much more than the front door and would benefit from some love and sprucing in general.

This is a porch that I put on a house that had nothing before. I realize this is a bit too large for yours but you get the idea I hope.
February 13, 2013 at 11:17am     
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nstrong
The new idea in my city is "paint the brick". I can relate to your feelings about the colors. I don't think the brick is bad with the right trim/accent color. Do I see green in some of the brick? If you simply hate the brick then paint the entire house a color you like. And yes, change the side door entrance.
February 13, 2013 at 11:58am     
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PRO
Terri Bennett Allied ASID/Periwinkle Interiors LLC
Painting the brick creates instant character and a classic aesthetic. Similar paint tones on all elements creates a monochromatic look.
February 13, 2013 at 12:03pm   
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
One caveat about painting brick..you just took a close to zero maintenance facade to a once every 10-15 years heavy duty, expensive project. Get a bid for the siding and trim from a couple of reputable local painters and an alternate to prep and paint the brick...do the math and make an informed decision!
February 13, 2013 at 12:03pm     
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PRO
Terri Bennett Allied ASID/Periwinkle Interiors LLC
Note - The painted brick home above is 11 years old and has still not required maintenance on its original paint. Secure professional painters and good quality paint.
February 13, 2013 at 12:08pm   
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PRO
Aegean Designing Whims
I like the idea of painting the brick a color you like. A home in our neighborhood did this in a taupe color with white trim and every time I drive by it, I really like it! Go for it! Chrysteen
February 13, 2013 at 12:14pm   
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
Toni...paint is paint. It sits on top of a surface and eventually needs to be redone. Exterior paint especially is subject to weather and sometimes extreme weather, like freeze thaw conditions. Modern acrylics have changed timelines for exterior paint...used to be refresh every 7-10years...now we say 10 -15 and if you get a couple more years that is great. But near ZERO maintenance to a guaranteed paint job?
February 13, 2013 at 12:20pm     
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hparks74



Here is a nice color scheme. You may want to consider replacing siding i with shaker shingles. It's not your brick that is missing the mark. I think the reddish maroon trim is to dark and not well exhibited in the brick. I think they were trying to pull out a color that isn't there rather than compliment the colors that are.
February 13, 2013 at 12:36pm     
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kitasei
I think the brick is good looking. Sophisticated even. The trim colors, and style of the awning and stairs cheapen an otherwise very handsome house IMO.
February 13, 2013 at 12:45pm     
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Brenda Fisher
I like the brick as is, the paint does clash with the brick and the roof though. If you do decide to leave the brick and paint the siding I would suggest you also update the landscaping. The bright green shrubbery also clashes with the brick. Adding some darker greens would go a long way towards anchoring that brick to the ground. Changing the concrete walkway to a stone one or even staining the existing one would also add more charm. Right now the modern straight lines, dark roof and bright green shrubs make the brick look like it is floating at eye level. Add the colour clash siding and no wonder you hate it. If you do paint get it done professionally, accidentally sealing in your weeping holes would be a very costly mistake.
February 13, 2013 at 1:14pm   
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Shane Johnson
Thanks for the tips so far guys and gals. I was not able to attach all pictures. Here is the front of the house, (arbor vitae and cedar has been removed). This is my curb side. I will also attach a close up. The brick up close has more of a yellow/green tinge to it than the first picture lets on. The prior owner had the trim painted this brown, as it was white before. I also hate the aluminum siding and awning and while its not when its raining and the dog is out, I agree its hideous. The deck is also on the to-do list this summer. I will be pressure washing and staining the whole deck (unsure of color yet), re-topping the railings, and my thought was wrought iron spindles in between the wood posts.
February 13, 2013 at 1:28pm   
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rinqreation
Pull the attention away from the brick. And remove that thing above the door, it doesn't add to the house (and that's nicely said). Example:
February 13, 2013 at 1:36pm   
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Shane Johnson
yes - the landscaping will be updated, that is something i actually know a thing or two about :) and i agree the deck looks like crap... waiting for warm weather before i can do any of this, this house is on the MN/WI border.
February 13, 2013 at 1:39pm   
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Shane Johnson
ringreation what program is that!? i want to play! that looks great!
February 13, 2013 at 1:39pm   
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Shane Johnson
still trying to upload more photos, but it is not uploading for me... maybe my pics are too large?
February 13, 2013 at 1:42pm   
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Shane Johnson
figured it out, Houzz doesnt like bitmaps :) - this is the front of the house - arbor vitae and cedar have been removed, and large pine trimmed up. just bought it at the end of summer and was focused on removing smelly cat carpet, refinishing all the hard wood floors, painting entire main level, and gutting main floor back and redoing the whole thing. efforts this year will be placed on exterior and on adding master suite in the attic, as well as some work in the basement.

anyway - keep the ideas coming...

This is the staining product i spoke of... .

www.dyebrick.com - due to the texture hand staining with a brush would be a nightmare though....and i wouldnt want to lose the contrast of the mortar :(
February 13, 2013 at 1:44pm   
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Shane Johnson
@househaunted - i wish my brick was either of those colors you posted. i would have painted the gable and trim and called it a day.
February 13, 2013 at 1:53pm   
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PRO
EXOVATIONS
There are some options besides staining the brick. As someone mentioned above, painting it is always an option and adding in some other exterior materials like shake or stone can make a drastic difference! Here are some images of some brick transformations- The featured home for our EXOVISION did the combination I mentioned above with painting the brick and adding stone. These homeowners also added copper bay tops for a dramatic pop. As you see, they actually did an architectural rendering before they did the work to see what all the changes would look like. That is always a good idea as well if you can find someone inexpesnive.
February 13, 2013 at 1:54pm   
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PRO
The Color People
There seem to be a few iron clad beliefs among Americans: God, Mother, Country, and YOU DON'T PAINT BRICK! Despite this there is no reason not to paint brick this ugly. No, it is not a maintenance headache, no it is not costly (just the paint; the labor is minimal) and it is a whole lot easier than trying to find a color that works with it.

When you match what you think is the predominant color in brick- it is always a mix of colors- you will find that it will just make the other colors jump out. You have to find a sort scatter-shot, ballpark color to go with a brick. It is not all that easy but having ugly brick begs the question.

The technique is to put on a primer coat tinted close to the color you want. It doesn't have to be primer which is expensive. You must use latex paint though, because latex breathes and lets the moisture transpire through the masonry. Alkyd does not breathe and will cause the paint to fail. First coat should be a fairly light coat. A heavy coat will tend to pull itself off and not make a good bond. Let it dry well; then put on your final coat. Wall temperature MUST be over 40degrees minimum and too hot is bad also. You want the best conditions for a good job.

I know brick buildings that were painted 80 years ago and the paint is still adhering. When it is time to paint the house again you can change it all to suit your pleasure.

I think it is kind like realtors telling people they have to have beige inside because otherwise the house won't sell. So people live for 40 years with a boring house. Why live with a house that doesn't bring you pleasure every time you come home? Life's too short.
February 13, 2013 at 2:11pm     
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Shane Johnson
I agree with your points about paint and loving your house, however, this is my current home, but overall an investment property, resale is important, and paint on brick may scream maintenance to the uninformed. I am also worried about the freeze/thaw factor being in a 4 season Minnesota climate.
February 13, 2013 at 3:07pm     
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Shane Johnson
lots to think about!
February 13, 2013 at 3:07pm   
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kitasei
the new picture you posted confirms my first opinion. The brick - and the dark brown roof and trim - are good looking. The colors you want for the rest should be taken from a Tudor pallet. Ditto the landscaping. Evergreens. Plant some classic rhododendron, azalea, andromeda, etc. in a bed of pachysandra, vinca, or ivy.. Make the yellow/brown tones a feature by incorporating some evergreens with yellow variegation (not all, just one or two.) If after all this you still don't love it, I say sell it (for a nice profit after you've brought out its potential) and buy your white cape cottage!
February 13, 2013 at 3:15pm     
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parsleycarrots
I have to agree with Ironwood Builders--brick is zero maintenance. Paint will need maintenance at some point.

Shane, if this is an investment property--don't paint the brick. You have a great classic home with beautiful architectural details that just need some care. The corner windows and the wavy siding on the upper floor at the front is really great--those are things that a buyer with a taste for classic homes will latch onto!

Get a few sample cards of paint and dress up the wood components, then spend your effort on clearing away the overgrowth in front of the house, and reconditioning the front stoop. The brick is lovely and with a complimentary color scheme on the wood components, you'll have a knock out little treasure.

Below are some Sherwin-Williams colors that may work: White Flour, Van Dyke Brown, and Rural Green. Good luck!
February 13, 2013 at 3:45pm   
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rinqreation
The program used is (just) Gimp.
February 14, 2013 at 2:10am   
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rinqreation
And I suggest replacing at least one of the 'trees' for a shrub, I guess they weren't meant to be that huge.
February 14, 2013 at 2:12am   
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Lizabeth
I agree that the plantings on the right are oversized and ruining the line of the house. Shane just because you dislike the brick does not mean every buyer will hate it. Just as likely they will love it. Some plantings and the right colors for the gable, trim and steps will do wonders for your street appeal.
February 14, 2013 at 7:44am   
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Shane Johnson
I like the color on the trim i may go red! door - not a yellow fan, maybe green, close to what you did the trim in before. And i mentioned it above but, the arbor vitae and cedar have already been removed, it was the only landscaping i did last year. as i bought the house in august, and focused on the interior so i could move in. this spring i will do more landscaping.
February 14, 2013 at 9:28am     
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rinqreation
I'm not a yellow fan either, but I do like giving a house it's honor and some of it's intended glory back. And if that takes yellow, I will paint it yellow.
February 14, 2013 at 1:35pm   
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mdamron61
Give the brick a good power washing! Then paint the trims, door, and gable. Be open minded with the colors at first. You may be surprised at what you end up painting with.
February 14, 2013 at 4:57pm   
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