The dilemma in the Mid-Atlantic is thus: have a brick house with black shutters identical to the neighbor's, or paint the brick a color? And for the reverse, how do you strip a painted brick house to get back to the original look?
William Kibbel III at Old House Web writes that people paint brick to hide aberrations, such as bricked-up windows, to cover up unwanted graffiti, to seal and protect bricks, to disguise poor bricks and just because they want their home to be a different color.
If you have a painted brick house and want to strip it, Steve Fountaine, president of Premiere Painting in DC recommends calling a professional because of how much work it will take. He also recommends that those professionals use products that won't damage the mortar joints and that won't cause lead dust to fly in the air, such as the environmentally friendly Peel Away Smart Strip.
For homeowners who want to remove some graffiti, or accidental paint, there are many similar products in your local hardware store. If it's sandy mortar that you're worried about, don't paint. Use a product such as Seal-Krete. Whatever you do, don't powerwash the paint off!
After staring at red brick house after red brick house in the District, we've decided that if we had one, we would paint it a bold, cobalt blue.
Would you paint a brick house?
(Images: Lindsey Rowe)