Dream Home: Exterior Brick Treatments

Limed, smeared, slurried, painted… the possibilities are endless when it comes to exterior brick treatments. It seems that every Pinterest Board and Instagram account I follow are filled to the brim with images of stunning light hued brick exteriors surrounded by lush green landscapes and accented by the all coveted black steel doors we dream about. I probably have thousands of images stockpiled for my masonry crew to reference once they start to lay our brick. But, not until it came time to start picking brick styles and choosing between washes, smears, paints and coats did I truly fall down the brick rabbit hole. There are literally SO. MANY. OPTIONS. And I’m excited to share all my research, tips and tricks for achieving the perfect chic brick exterior we are all craving at the moment.

Lime wash

I love a lime wash; it has an old world Charleston vibe and instantly gives an exterior a feeling of provenance. Lime wash is a traditional brick application that was originally created to protect ancient monuments. Once the mixture is applied over the brick, it creates a tough coating that resists satins and mold. Many times, the lime wash is additionally sprayed with water before it dries too much which reveals more of the original brick color in various areas. Lime washes always create a historic look that gives a home instant character.


Atlanta Homes & Gardens


Atlanta Homes & Gardens 

German Smear

This look is achieved by tactfully smearing a combination of mortar and cement onto the brick leaving some areas exposed reveling the original brick. This decorative application creates a textured look and is more often than not used on high end and historic properties. Once again, this look has more of an old world charm and creates an aged look instantly.



Castle Homes

Slurry Mortar Wash

A slurry wash is achieved by applying several thick layers of loose mortar over the brick. This creates full coverage of the masonry, but still allows a slight glimpse of the brick texture to show through. From far away a slurry wash has a stucco like appearance. Colored powders can be mixed in the mortar to achieve a custom color, which sometimes varies from section to section once the wash is applied to the brick. You can also use a pre-mixed mortar color, which insures color consistency.

Insider tip: if it rains, the mortar soaks up the water and takes on a bit of a transparency and lots of tonal variations. Some people love this as it really adds to the old world elegance, but if you are looking for a uniform color for your exterior, this might not be the application for you.


Parkinson Building Group, At Home in Arkansas


Urban Craft

Painted Brick

This application is seen a lot today. It creates a uniform look with consistent color, while allowing the full shape of the brick to show. My favorite version of painted brick is when a king size antique or tumbled brick is used and the mortar is allowed to protrude out of the joints just a bit. Word to the wise…you have to make sure the brick is properly prepared for the paint and do your homework on breathable masonry paints. If this application is done right, it has vintage charm while still reading clean and contemporary. I LOVE it!!!




Coats Homes

After exhaustive research, multiple visits to the brick suppliers, hundreds of pictures and days of driving through neighborhoods stalking brick applications; we have decided to do a painted brick. Although the architectural style of our home has a bit of a Modern Tudor feel, I tend to lean a bit more contemporary when it comes to finishes and want a uniform color on our home. I love a chalky matte paint on brick, it’s what I continually gravitate towards and will be the perfect compliment to our exterior design.

Happy Designing!


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