How to Choose a Paint Color to Match Exterior Brick

Henri Bauholz

If there's a lot of brickwork on the exterior of your house or building, you might have to choose a paint color for the rest of the building that either matches or complements the warm-hued, masonry exterior. There are guidelines that can help you choose a color and the type of paint for such a project.

  1. Go to your nearest paint dealer and obtain some sample color charts. Get printed brochures, as well as the small sample squares of custom colors that most paint stores carry. You might be surprised how many shades of red house paint are available to the home owner. Return to your home with the paint samples and choose the color that you like best. Don't forget that a perfect match may not be in your best interest. You may want to choose a lighter or darker version of the brick color that is similar but not identical. Get multiple opinions as well.

  2. Choose the type of paint that you want on your house. The type of paint that you select will be as important as the color choice. You need to decide between an oil- or latex-based paint. Latex paints are easier to apply and clean up, but these paints do not have the glossy sheen of an oil paint. Oil paint is also a more durable paint, but it takes much longer to dry.

  3. Make the choice of paint finish. Choose a flat or matte finish for the paint, or you can select a gloss finish than shines in the sunlight. Both oil and latex paint have matte and glossy finishes, but with comparable types of paint, the oil tends to have a slightly shinier finish. A good rule of thumb is to put the glossy variety on the wood trim and use the matte finish on broader surfaces.

  4. Make the purchase. Once custom paint is blended, the purchase will usually be considered final by the seller. However, if the brick red paint is "in stock," the vendor might take the can back, if you don't like the color choice, but only if you don't touch the contents of the can. This means you can take a small bit of paint off the lid and make a sample patch to see if you like the paint. There is no guarantee that the paint can be returned, so inquire with the individual vendor beforehand to see if this procedure is OK.

  5. Bring the paint to the job site and take a small brush and apply some of the paint from the lid to the area that is going to be painted. Close the lid tightly, let the paint dry and compare colors. Alternatively, you can purchase a quart of a custom-blended color and use that small amount of paint in a test run. If the color is a success, you can return to the store and buy the same color by the gallon.

  6. Return to the paint store and have the technician "fine tune" the color if necessary. All he can do at this point is add a small amount of pigment, which will slightly change the color of the paint. This might be just the touch that is needed. Hopefully, the original color will be what you want, thus making this step unnecessary.


Between a matte finish and a glossy finish there is a semigloss finish, which is between the two basic types.


Dealing with an establishment that primarily deals in house paint should increase your chances of a good match.