Brick Painting or Staining: Which Is Better for Your Home?

The brick surfaces of your home offer a timeless beauty and classic appearance that improve curb appeal and home value. But this isn’t where the benefits end. Brick siding, walls, and even fireplaces are incredibly effective at blocking out external elements and protecting the home from things that could harm it, from moisture to the occasional pest. These things struggle to get past the thick brick barrier, giving you peace of mind.

However, because your brick protects your home from so many things, it’s only natural that you’ll eventually need to update it. Initially bright and beautiful, brick can eventually wear away with the elements, which robs it of its vibrant colors and dulls the overall appearance of the home. As such, you might eventually find your brick needs a refresh to make it something you’re proud of again when you’re showing off your home. Fortunately, there are a couple of dominant options for you to pursue. These are the differences between brick painting and staining and how to tell which method is better for your home.

An Overview

Before we get into the logistics of distinguishing brick painting from brick staining, it’s important to know what they have in common. Both methods involve layering a water-based coating—which will have binders, pigments, and additives mixed in to give it color—over the brick surface. Each method has a straightforward application and considerable effects on the appearance of your bricks. No matter which method you ultimately choose for your home, we highly recommended hiring painting and remodeling professionals to get the job done right.

Brick Painting

Brick painting is the process of layering a quality paint product over the top of your brick surfaces. This method creates a solid, protective barrier between the brick and the elements while giving the wall a new opaque color scheme. The flat finish the paint provides creates a more modern look, so people often use paint to update and refresh older homes and give them a remodeled appearance.


Because the paint sits directly on top of the brick, it acts as a barrier that protects the old, weathering surface from the elements. Certain types of paint can block out things such as moisture and sunlight, which could further damage your brick walls. Paint also comes in a wide range of unique colors that the natural pigments in stains can’t produce. If you want your wall to be a specific color, you’ll have a better selection if you go with paint. This method is also a favorite DIY trend for its ease of application and overall speed in completing the job.


It’s also important to mention that since paint doesn’t sink into the brick itself, it’s also subject to quicker decay. This means the elements can damage the paint a lot faster than with a stain, and you’ll need to perform regular maintenance to keep it looking fresh. For this reason, it’s recommended that you repaint your brick every three to five years. Paint also doesn’t allow the brick to breathe once it’s applied, trapping moisture within that can hinder the product’s ability to stick to the surface.

Brick Staining

Brick staining, on the other hand, sinks into the porous brick as it’s applied. This not only allows you to keep the original texture of the surface, but also maintains airflow, which in turn releases moisture. Essentially, unlike paint—which simply covers the wall and all its blemishes—stains act as dyes that keep the original appearance of the brick and only changes the color.


The main advantage of using stains lies in the maintenance. Since it sinks into the brick to change its appearance, it’s not prone to chip away or peel like paint. This keeps the color from fading and significantly extends the time between touchups. In addition to this, you also won’t overshadow the beloved textures and appearance of your older brick when you use stain. As such, you can create a more modern color scheme while holding onto the characteristics that attracted you to the home in the first place. You can also better customize the tone of your stain by testing it on a section of brick and adding more pigment to darken it as you go.


Unfortunately, the actual application process of brick stain can be a deterrent for many homeowners. You may need to apply many layers of this product to get the desired effect, and you’ll need to thoroughly clean the brick beforehand. This method also doesn’t work as well on damaged or decaying brick, as you’ll still be able to see those areas through the stain. Plus, take note that you can’t stain all types of brick. Certain types are more porous and better at absorbing the stain than other types. Brick that isn’t as penetrable can’t contain the stain as effectively, and the product will more easily wash off and transfer its color.

Choosing a Method

Knowing the differences between brick painting and staining will be very useful when you’re determining which one is right for you. For instance, people who want to maintain the original architecture of their brick may want to choose a stain over a paint, while someone who wants to update their home and use brighter colors might want to choose paint. No matter which you decide on, it’s most important to remember that you should always choose what’s best for your home and style. By doing so, you can create a space that’s unique to your needs as well as an eye-catching home to complement the rest of the neighborhood.

Regardless of what new look you want to bring to your brick surfaces, we at Bear Mountain Custom Painting will work hard to achieve your vision. Our experienced professionals know what it takes to provide quality, unique, and beautiful paint and stain jobs on various surfaces. In addition to these services, we also offer other home improvement tasks that will further improve the appearance of your property, such as siding, gutter, window, and door installation.
Brick Painting or Staining: Which Is Better