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What Are the Different Brick Colors?

By Jessica Reed
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are several different brick colors for homeowners to choose from on the market today, and they typically fall into one of four basic categories. The four categories for brick colors are red, pink, brown, and gray. The wide array of colors come from the firing process when the bricks are formed. The raw materials found inside the clay fired to create the bricks react to the heat and give each brick its unique color.

The material for bricks is first dug from the earth and then mixed with water to create a doughy substance. Clay is the most common raw material used in brick making. After the mixture is created, the bricks are fired until hard. The longer they are heated, the darker the color becomes.

The standard color for bricks is red because most bricks typically take on a reddish hue when finished. The red hue darkens when they are heated over a longer period of time. Red bricks can have warmer or darker tones mixed in with the overall red coloring.

Different minerals and chemicals found in the raw materials for the bricks can create other colors besides red, however. Pink bricks are created from clay high in iron. When the clay is fired, the reaction from the heat with the iron gives the hardened clay a pink tint that is too light to be called red. Bricks with a light, whitish or yellow tint occur when the clay has a high lime content instead of being high in iron.

Certain homeowners may choose to use a combination of brick colors. While the exterior of the house may be done in red brick, the entrance archways may be done in a lighter pink or white. As technology advances, brick manufacturers are finding new ways to create even more brick colors for homeowners to choose from. Bricks are carefully manufactured to ensure they are high quality and have a rich color.

To ensure that a finished project has the same color tone overall, a process called blending is used. No two bricks will have the exact same color tint to them. As the builder is laying the brick, he makes sure to evenly distribute the darker and lighter colored bricks throughout the wall. By using this method, he keeps darker bricks from all ending up in the same area. If this happened, that spot of the wall would appear darker than the rest of the house and take away from the finished look.

Can You Change the Brick Color of Your Home?

Whether brick is used for accents or makes up the majority of the exterior of your home, changing the color of it can have a big impact on the appearance of your house. Changing brick color has become a popular way to update older homes and personalize them to fit the owner's style. It is important to keep a few things in mind before deciding to change the brick color, such as how you are going to change it and what your plan for upkeeping it is.

Painting and Staining

You can choose to either paint or stain your bricks. No matter which option you choose, you will need to do plenty of prep work before you get started. This should include making repairs to any areas that have damages and removing obstacles that will get in the way during the project.

Paint is a popular option that quickly and dramatically changes the way a house looks. One of the advantages of paint is that it will give you an even color across the entire structure. This is not a good option for people who do not want to do continual upkeep on the exterior of their home, however, as it will need to have a refreshed coat of paint added every few years to keep it from fading, cracking, and peeling off. Painting on interior bricks may last a while longer than painting on the exterior of your home, but upkeep will be needed regardless.

Brick stain can be a good option for people who are not comfortable with the labor-intensive upkeep that comes along with painting brick. While it will not give you as opaque of a covering, the stain still changes the way brick looks, and it can greatly refresh old or faded-looking bricks. The stain soaks deep into the brick, dyeing it a different shade or tone. If you want a drastically different color, you will need to invest in a high-quality stain to accomplish the look you're going for.

How to Match Brick Color

If damages have occurred to some of the bricks in your home, you may need to replace them. The challenge of doing this is in finding new bricks that match the color of the original ones well enough not to stick out. If you can figure out where the bricks originally used in the construction of your home came from, you may be able to purchase more from the same place. If this isn't possible, you will have to start looking for a substitute brick manufacturer to use.

Remember that bricks come in different textures and various sizes. It is important to focus on matching those two features before worrying about color. As long as you have the right size and look, you can make the colors work by staining bothersome spots later.

When it is time to start replacing the brick, take some time to consider the way the bricks were originally arranged. Try to follow the pattern as closely as you can. If there are many different shades of brick used in your home, this can be a challenge, but it is important to get a finished repair that fits with the rest of the house. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the prospect of matching up the replacement brick, consider hiring a professional to help with the repairs.

How to Restore Brick Color

If the brick color on your home has been changed by you or a previous owner, you may eventually decide that you want to restore it to its original look. Unfortunately, if the brick has been painted or stained, the changes made to the surface are essentially permanent.

There is no way to remove the effects of stain or paint completely, so the original color of the brick is not recoverable. This is something to be mindful of when looking into buying a home that has bricks that have had their color altered. That being said, you can always repaint or restain brick so that it looks refreshed.

If you are dealing with fading brick, painting or staining may not be necessary to improve its appearance. The first thing you should do is try to thoroughly wash them with soap and water. Sometimes the faded look is due to the buildup of dirt and dust on the surface. Washing may fix the way they look without increasing the maintenance you will need to do down the road.

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Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Jul 31, 2014

If you want bricks that don't show dirt, cracks, or damage, you should choose those that have the color of natural stone. Red bricks are attractive, but it is easy to tell when they are dirty. Chips and cracks on them are also easy to spot.

By Ocelot60 — On Jul 30, 2014

I think that a good tip to follow for choosing the best brick color for you is to think about the looks you prefer, regardless of what you are using the bricks to build. If you like a more traditional, old-fashioned look, go for red bricks. On the other hand, if you prefer a contemporary look, natural colored bricks will provide this appearance.

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