Over time, your home's brick exterior can begin to look drab or shabby. Unfortunately, although brick is durable, it is not as easy to give it a facelift as painted siding. The good news is that there are other options to take your brick from drab to fab, as the following ideas will show.
Idea #1: Win with a wash
Sometimes, all brick needs is a deep cleaning. The brick and the mortar is relatively porous, which causes it to darken over time. Add to this environmental stains such as pollen, dirt, and moss or algae and you end up with drab, discolored brick.
Power washing is the easiest way to clean brick, but it's best left to a professional unless you have some experience. You must find the perfect setting to wash the brick thoroughly without damaging the softer mortar, and you don't want to damage windows. Another option is to use a brick cleaning compound and scrub down the brick with a deck brush.
Idea #2: Fix the facade
Damage, no matter how slight, also adds to the drabness of the exterior. Actual brick damage, such as cracks or chips, can take a bit of work to fix. The mortar around the damaged brick must be removed so the brick can be slid out. With luck, the damage is just to one facade so you can flip it around and use the other side. Otherwise, you will need to track down matching replacement bricks.
Restoring the mortar can give your facade a major facelift. Over time mortar crumbles and weakens. A brick contractor can replace via a technique called tuckpointing. This gives you the opportunity to also change the mortar color, which will then highlight different colors in the brick.
Idea #3: Say it with stain
While painted brick doesn't generally work out – it looks dingy in a few years and it tends to peel – stain can provide a permanent solution for ugly bricks. Staining gives bricks a uniform color, which is much more modern than the multi-colored flecks of decades past. The stain soaks deep into the bricks as well, so there will be no peeling or fading.
The one drawback is it is only possible to go darker. It also works best if you choose a color similar to one already in the brick. Fortunately, in most cases this gives you the option of brown or gray, which are both very modern and can really look stately when combined with the right paint on the trim.
For more help, talk to a brick contractor in your area.