7 Reasons Brick Staining

One of the most popular questions that owners of brick buildings ask us all the time is: “Should I paint or stain my exterior brick walls?”

They want to make sure that they are making the right decision for their property. The answer is actually quite simple, and we will try to explain why exterior brick staining is far superior to brick painting in almost every case. So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Brick Painting VS Brick Staining: What’s the Difference?

There are two main options when it comes to staining brick: exterior brick staining and exterior brick painting.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of why brick staining is far superior to brick painting, we want to take a moment to address the differences between these two methods.

Saying that brick staining is better than a brick painting may seem a bit like apples and oranges in some people’s minds. Because for them, brick painting and brick staining are used for completely different purposes.

So, what is the difference between brick painting and brick staining?

The answer is that they are both used to protect the exterior brick from the elements, but they do it in different ways. Here’s how:

Brick Painting VS Brick Staining

Painting Exterior Brick: How It Works

Painting exterior brick is a process that involves applying a protective coating to the surface of your brick. This coating can be made from many different materials, usually using latex-based paints. The goal of this type of application is simply to provide a layer of paint on your brick. So that it looks uniform, new again, with your desired colour.  

It’s important to remember that this type of treatment is a viable way to beautify your bricks and give them the colour you always wanted. A typical brick painting job may last anywhere from 5-8 years before peeling and blistering occur and general maintenance will be required.  

However, with the current advancements in technology and materials, there are far better, longer-lasting, and healthier options for your bricks. Here is where brick staining comes in…

Solo Painter Exterior Brick Painting
Solo Painter Exterior Brick Painting

Staining Exterior Brick: What Is It?

When people hear about staining exterior brick, they often think of painting. And that’s not surprising, since staining and painting are very similar in many ways. But there is one very important difference between the 2 applications: paint doesn’t fully penetrate the surface of the bricks, whereas staining does.

Brick painting is the process of applying a mortar-based mixture to masonry surfaces in order to cover them with a new colour. Staining exterior brick involves the application of a penetrating masonry material made specifically for brick and concrete. This niche masonry material is made to add beauty and elegance via a stain colour. All while adding resistance to harsh weather elements, resulting in a long-lasting long-term solution. 

Unlike painting, which involves a thicker enamel that sits on top of an entire surface, staining penetrates and embeds itself into the surface of the bricks. Hence, becoming part of the brick. 


The process of applying a stain to bricks can often be more time-consuming and cumbersome than simply painting them.  However, as we will show, the short and long-term benefits of brick staining far outweighs the costs and time associated with it. 

Let’s take a look at 7 key reasons why exterior brick staining is far superior to brick painting!

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Brick Stain, Not Brick Paint!

1. Longevity

The most important reason why you should use brick stain, instead of brick paint is that stain lasts longer than paint.

Bricks are porous, so when you paint them with an exterior paint product, the paint is too thick to penetrate the surface and sits on top of them. Because of this, moisture and air get trapped inside the paint layer. Causing it to eventually bubble and blister in a fairly short period. This can happen as soon as 4-6 years after application or even sooner. Depending on your climate and how often your bricks are exposed to harsh weather conditions.

So what about brick staining? How long does a brick stain last?

Brick staining, on the other hand, is a long-term solution that will last for over 30 years. And it can even last longer than that! That’s because brick staining penetrates deep into the pores of the bricks and becomes part of the substrate. Hence allowing the moisture and air to breathe healthily.  All this while beautifying them and creating a protective barrier, and sealing them from moisture and damage for years to come!

2. Brick Health

The best thing about stains is that they allow your brick to breathe!

As we’ve said, bricks are porous, meaning that the tiny holes in their structure allow water to escape when it rains. This process is called “breathability.”

Brick staining provides a breathable surface that allows water vapour to escape from the brick, which prevents damage. Brick painting, on the other hand, traps moisture, which can lead to a host of problems. Including:

  • • Mould and mildew growth
  • • Cracks in the mortar between bricks
  • • Crumbling mortar
  • • Bubbling and chipping off of the paint

Paint acts as a protective layer but traps moisture and water, hence destroying them from the inside out in a matter of years.

3. Cost-effective

Exterior brick staining is initially 10-20% higher than exterior brick painting in terms of material and prep costs. But in the long run, it far outweighs the initial cost. Because once you’ve stained your bricks, you won’t have to repaint them for decades!

Painting cost, on the other hand, is initially cheaper but will destroy your bricks in a matter of years. Causing a much bigger expense in the long run.

Brick staining is a one-time process that requires little maintenance. While painting requires re-application every few years.

This means that over time, stained bricks tend to be cheaper than painted bricks due to their durability and longevity.

4. Colour Options Colour is usually the #1 reason you stain or paint your bricks. For this reason, brick staining has a distinct advantage.  Painting only offers you a handful of solid colours. While brick staining can give you virtually a limitless palette. There are two main options for brick stain: semi-transparent or solid colour. Semi-transparent means that the colour of your brick will be more translucent. So you’ll see the original brick colour under the stain. This is a great option if you want to bring out the natural beauty of your bricks. And don’t want to change the colour or appearance too drastically.
Solid colour is more common and means that your bricks will be completely covered in a single colour. This means there’s no hint of their original colour at all. This can be a good option if you’re looking to change the look of your house entirely! Brick stain colours can match any colour in a solid stain, plus you can apply a semi-transparent stain. As well as lime washing colours which are becoming a more popular finish as well. The possibilities are endless when it comes to exterior brick stain colours. And there are no limits on what kind of style you can achieve with this technique.
Exterior Painting Brick Staining Ultimate Brick Staining Technique

5. More Natural Appearance

Paint tends to be thicker and sit on top of the brick, hence creating a less natural and more artificial appearance.

Brick staining, on the other hand, lets you see the brick more in all its natural glory. Unlike painting, which covers up the contours and nuances of the brick, brick staining highlights them.

This is because the brick stain is absorbed by the bricks, so it shows all of the intricate details that make up your brick’s character. This gives you a more natural, real finish. Which is exactly what we want when it comes to our exterior bricks.

6. Fading and Chalking

One of the biggest concerns with brick painting is that it fades over time. This is due to the fact that oil or latex-based paints will oxidize due to the sun. Which causes them to break down and lose their colour.

Although brick stain also fades over time, it does so at a much slower rate than other types of paint. In fact, brick stain lasts 8-10x longer and gives a way more long-lasting natural appeal than paint. Also, the brick stain does not chalk or break down due to the weather elements, which is typical of oil or latex paint.

This Is How Paint Chips
Brick Staining Doesnt Peel

7. Adds Significant Resale Value

Because brick stain lasts 10x longer than paint while preserving its structure, it creates significant intrinsic and extrinsic value for your property.

The fact that the brick is not only preserved but actually enhanced by the stain allows you to sell your home for a higher price than what it would be without the stain. The beauty of brick stain also adds instant curb appeal to your exterior. Often allowing your home to stand out over the others.

For this reason, it’s more of an investment than an expense. This means that when you choose brick staining over brick painting, you’re making an investment in your property. Rather than simply spending money on an expense that doesn’t last as long as it should. And could even end up costing you more money down the road if you have to replace it sooner than expected!

Therefore, brick staining is far superior to brick painting because it adds value to your property, whereas painting can detract from it.

Before and After - Brick Staining

The bottom line is…

When you consider all the factors, exterior brick staining is actually a much better value and long-term solution than exterior brick painting.

The benefits of brick staining are undeniable. It adds value to your property, adds longevity to your home, and protects the integrity of your investment. All while beautifying them with striking curb appeal. Brick painting, on the other hand, detracts from the appearance of your home and can even cause damage over time.

The fact is, if you want a lasting solution to your brick staining needs and want to take care of the problem once and for all, then exterior brick staining is a much better idea than exterior brick painting.

Staining Brick: Before and After Photos

Check out some of our brick staining before and after photos below to see just how dramatic a difference staining can make to your home’s exterior! Get inspired by the possibilities, and start planning your own exterior staining project today!

It goes without saying that if you have a brick wall, no matter how large or small the length, it is vital that you take the time to look for professional help to ensure that it looks its best.

To learn more about how much professional brick staining costs in Toronto and the GTA, please read this blog: How Much Does Exterior Brick Staining Cost?

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Home Painters Toronto is a company that offers professional exterior brick staining services. We are one of the pioneers of brick staining in Toronto and the GTA, having been in the industry for over 35 years, and having worked with many types of materials such as these. Our experience will ensure that your bricks are professionally stained and cared for to perfection!  Please give us a call at 416.494.9095, or email us at Brian@HomePaintersToronto.com. Also, don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below as well!