Painted Stone Exteriors

I’m up for painting just about anything — wood, brick, concrete, new, vintage, antique. It doesn’t matter to me. There’s nothing so precious or sacred that I won’t put paint on it. I’m a wood-worshiper and antique-lover’s worst nightmare. I’d buy a 150-year-old Victorian house and paint all of the stained oak wood trim, walls, staircase railing, etc., bright white in a heartbeat, without reservation and without apology.

Painted brick houses have been increasing in popularity over the last decade (probably longer), and these days it’s no big deal at all to paint brick. And it’s certainly the easiest and cheapest option when your house has outdated brick.

Stone seems to be a different thing, though. For some reason, people (including myself) seem to have reservations about painting stone. If y’all remember, I considered painting my house (the vinyl siding and the stone) yellow a while back. I held off on that because I decided to turn my attention to more permanent projects on this house that will last rather than temporary fixes that would take time and money and eventually have to be redone. Plus, the idea of painting the stone a non-neutral color kind of gave me pause.

But now we’re back on the topic. To paint or not to paint? There was a lot of talk yesterday about sandblasting the stone to get back to the original color, so I was curious to know exactly what color was hiding under the current coating. (Austin stone ranges in color from bright white to various shades of light browns and taupes.) I got a hammer and chipped away at one of the stones, and it turns out that mine is pretty bright white. You can see it here…

original color of austin stone

Seeing that actually got me excited about the stone. Sandblasting would definitely breathe some new life into the now-dull stone. But in the event that sandblasting is too cost-prohibitive (I don’t know that I’d DIY it since I’d be worried about breaking windows and such), I was still curious about painting the stone. So I did what I always do — headed to Pinterest and Houzz to see what I could find.

I have yet to find any stone houses painted an actual color (no yellow, no blue…yet), but it turns out that painting stone, while not so common as painting brick, isn’t all that unheard of. In fact, I’d bet that we’ve all seen a painted stone house and thought nothing of it.

I’ve read about several ways to paint/brighten up the stone on a house, including just regular exterior latex paint, whitewashing, limewashing, mortar washing, and more.

Some of them have a thinner coating of white so that some of the darker original color shows through just a bit, but my favorites are actually the ones that look more opaque. And that’s a good thing since it can be easily achieved with just a coat or two of regular ole paint.

I just love how clean and bright they look. And I’d feel perfectly fine pairing the brighter, whiter stone with an actual color (i.e., not a neutral) on the siding. I think it could look very light, bright and cheerful, which is exactly what I want for the exterior of my house. (I don’t want loud and garish, just light and bright with a bit of color.)

So within the last 24 hours, I’ve gone from pretty much hating the stone on my house to being kinda, sorta, somewhat excited about it. And after today, I might be very excited about it. After reading through all of the comments on yesterday’s post, one suggestion really struck me and got me excited. That suggestion was to remove the stone on the side of the living room — this side with the combo of siding and stone…

front exterior - siding and stone mix - side of living room, breakfast room, and garage

…and apply that stone to the front of the breakfast room. I LOVE that idea! Not only would it eliminate that weird side with the siding/stone combo that makes no sense to me and really isn’t visible from the front of the house, but it would bring some visible stone to the right side of the house. And since it’s a very small area, I have hopes that even if it does require an additional concrete footing, it won’t be ridiculously expensive. And then I could also keep with the idea of wrapping the porch column bases with stone and adding a raised stone flower bed to the front of the studio for more balance.

This idea makes me really excited, so I’m hoping and praying that it’s not too cost prohibitive. I have an appointment with a stone mason late this afternoon to see if this idea will even work, and I’m really hoping for good news. I’m hoping he’ll also have some good info and possibly some cost estimates on the sandblasting vs. painting issue that will help me make a decision. So I’ll let y’all know!

And I’d still like to find an example (or two or three) of painted stone houses that aren’t a neutral. I haven’t found a single one yet. Have any of you seen one? I’m just so curious to see how it looks.



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. We are so much alike! I would also paint Victorian trim in a bright white and think nothing of it. Victorian homes are beautiful, but the woodwork is always much too dark for me. Therefore, the whole interior is so dark, which does nothing for my soul (or eye).

    I have a painted brick house. And we painted our stone fireplace because we hated the stone. Trust me, it was nothing special and now we get compliments on it often. Paint cures many sins. Your home is coming along and looking great! I’m enjoying the journey…and I’m just south of you a bit in Texas.

  2. If removing the stone becomes cost-prohibitive and you end up painting it anyway (love the bright white look), you could always add stone to the breakfast room side because it will be painted to match.

    1. This was kinda my thinking, too. Instead of paying to remove what hardly shows, just add a bit more stone that, once painted, will blend right in. Perhaps even add stone to bring the side of the living room up to the roof and eliminate the mix/mash that bothers you. Excited for you!

  3. And just because you haven’t found “an example (or two or three) of painted stone houses that aren’t a neutral” doesn’t mean you couldn’t do it yourself. (Whoa, lots of negatives there…!) You could start a whole new trend — colorful painted stone houses!

      1. And, there just seems to be a glut of neutral toned houses everywhere. For the love of originality, be the one who make a stonework/colorful combo a timeless new look! 💕

  4. The comment about the victorian wood had me laughing! I also would TOTALLY paint everything white. I like wood, but can’t live in darkness, and let’s face it, old Victorian wood is DARKNESS that could totally get depressing if left that way – in MY eyes for sure.
    I’ve been house hunting where we saw kitchens that were beautiful wood cabinets and the first thing I spoke up about was “well we’d have to paint the kitchen white”! My realtor was shocked at first, (especially since we live down south and were looking at 1850’s homes). Yup, white, bright, CLEAN is what speaks to me, no matter what kind of ‘ancient wood’ it may have been carved out from or made from!
    I LOVE the thought of reusing that stone! It’s a win-win situation for sure! Hoping for good news from the stone mason for you guys! It looks spectacular so far! I can’t wait to see that studio!!

    1. I grew up in a 1895 Victorian house that my folks bought in 1963. By then all of the wood trim had been painted ivory. The woman my mother sold the house to forty years later did a complete restoration to the original Victorian style. All of the wood trim was removed, carefully stripped back to the original wood and stained a dark brown. When my family toured the restored home, we found the dark trim depressing and were surprised by how it darkened the interior of the house. And we’re very glad it had already been painted by the time we had moved in.

  5. Ack! Could I at least suggest some kind of protective layer on that gorgeous wood trim before anyone slaps bright white paint on it? I get that not everyone loves the real wood look, but it would be wonderful if a teeny bit of time could be spent making it possible for later generations to return the trim to its original glory. Same with brick. I know things go in and out of fashion. Is there something that could be put on the brick, prior to painting it, so that if later on, the natural brick look is desired it wouldn’t be impossible to get back? Just curious.

    So happy you’ve found a possible solution for your stone problem that is exciting to you!

      1. Yeah, I know. 🙂 I was thinking more about painting virgin brick or that beautiful Victorian moulding. Once it’s painted, there’s not much you can do. But it would be nice if there is some kind of sealer you could use, before painting the virgin stuff, that would make removing the paint easier, if and when the time comes.

    1. Our house’s exterior is very brown. brown with darker brown trim and lighter brown accents. Its bleh. We also have a large area of brick facade on the front of the house. The house will need to be painted in a few years & I am really trying to persuade my husband into letting me white wash the brick. Our whole front porch area needs a refresher/redo, but we need to finish the interior first! Someday, someday, someday…

  6. Gosh, the bright white of the stone where you chipped away the paint makes me hope that sandblasting is an affordable choice. I think it would be beautiful with whatever color you choose for the rest of the house. Natural stone wouldn’t need to be repainted later as maintenance, which would be a cost savings later, especially if this is your “forever” home. I imagine that, painted or sandblasted, it would need a power wash now and then, but that’s a cost either way.

    As far as painting things and the controversy that draws, I say that if it belongs to you, you can do whatever you want with it.

    I always look forward to seeing what’s coming next!

  7. Sandblasting isn’t to horrible to DIY with a little prep work. We have a sandstone fireplace in our home that was cover in soot/smoke when we bought the house. My husband and father hung a blue tarp (stapled from the ceiling) and sand blasted the fireplace. I will add that we hadn’t moved in and all carpet had been removed. But the fireplace came out beautifully. It restored the beauty of the stone.

    I’d think some cardboard taped to the windows would prevent any damage from the sandblaster.

  8. There are many painted brick and stone houses where I live. When the brick or stone is pink or orange, it’s definitely a candidate for paint, in my opinion. There are exceptions, of course. One house was painted a very dark gray, the “after” looking worse than the “before.” Sometimes there are patches where windows or doors have been bricked in. Since it’s hard to match old brick, painting was the best solution.

    1. Hmmm…that’s way too gold for my taste, but it does give a good idea of what painted stone looks like. I think if a non-neutral color is used, I’d probably prefer more subtle colors on stone. I’m glad you found that one! I’m going to keep searching, but they’re definitely hard to find!

      1. Oh I agree with you….it’s not a color I would choose either. Instead of working (shhhhhhh it’s our little secret lol) , I went searching for colored stone houses that weren’t neutral. I looked under colorful painted stone houses, then green painted stone houses, blue painted stone houses and of course yellow. That unattractive gold color was all I could find LOL. Who knew it would be so hard….. I do gotta say that I like the idea of the stone being painted white and then a more colorful (but soft) color for the siding.

  9. People have been lime washing stone for centuries. Of course, the stone being washed is mostly rubble, not cut stone. I wouldn’t hesitate to paint your stone but, I would stick with the neutral colors. Your comment on interior Victorian woodwork resonates with me, it’s just too depressing and dark. It always struck me as strange that the Victorians painted their exteriors so brightly while the interior wood was…blah.

  10. Love the sandblasting idea. It’s not costly, I think.
    Love the idea of removing that stone, but wouldn’t it be better to use it at base of studio.
    Then when renovating the front porch, if still want to do columns you can purchase additional.

    1. The studio is already done. The siding is installed, and I don’t want any of that undone. But I don’t think there’s enough from the side of the living room to cover any significant portion of the studio anyway. That living room wall isn’t very wide and has two large windows. The reason I thought the breakfast room wall might work is because it’s even narrower and has three windows, so not much stone needed at all for that wall. But I’ll see what the stone mason has to say. He might have more ideas that would work out better, and he’d definitely know better than I would just what could be done with that quantity of stone.

  11. Hi Kristi,
    I like the white-painted stone look. I am glad that you are going to “embrace” your stone, instead of fighting it, LOL! When I saw some of those beautiful homes you showed as examples, I was reminded of the homes on the Greek island of Ios, which I visited way back when I was in college. If you google for images of Greek islands, (and probably many on mainland Greece, too), you will see that all their homes are sparkling white-washed (lime-washed?) stone. It is obviously a classic look that has stood the test of time and the elements. (I am sure you will research what type of paint or limewash is best for your type of stone.)
    If the stone on the side of your home is real stone (not a thin veneer cladding) you can’t just apply it to another facade without a “brick ledge” (or stone ledge) built into the foundation. It would probably cost more to remove the existing stone, replace it with siding, and reinstall it elsewhere, anyway, than to just leave it as is, and buy new, thin stone-look veneer for the breakfast room walls. Since you are going to paint it anyway, matching the existing shouldn’t be too hard. I love the side portico, btw! Great job!

    1. I should clarify that by “thin veneer” (in my comment above) I mean something very thin– like a tile- that wouldn’t need to have foundation support directly under it. I thought I should clarify since a single ,4″ thick layer of brick on the outside of a building is called “brick veneer” in architectural terms (as opposed to a solid brick wall.) Even a 4″ thick layer of stone going up the wall would be quite heavy and need to be supported by the foundation directly underneath (and have a 1″ air gap behind it between the stone and studs, with “weep holes” to allow moisture to escape , etc. I used to be an architect- lol.) There are some really good fake stone alternatives now that are very light weight , look pretty realistic and can be applied to a stud wall without needing to sit on a “stone ledge” built into the foundation. If you are going to paint it anyway, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell anyway!

  12. Why not add stone facade which matches the original on the new parts? We all gotta love paint and its rejuvenating power to transform!

  13. I personally wouldn’t paint the wood in a Victorian home, but I also wouldn’t criticize someone who did. At the end of the day, the homeowner needs to have a home they love and are comfortable in. Everyone’s tastes are their own, neither right nor wrong!

    I hope your new plan for your house is cost effective, I think it could be lovely!

  14. I love paint! It cures a lot of outdated problems. Don’t feel bad about painting stone. I loved that photo you had yesterday with the house color that was sort of blue/green/gray and the foundation stone was putty. Those colors would look fantastic on your house! Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  15. The sandblasted stone looked very interesting, unique, and fresh.

    The painted stone examples looked like the paint was a bit “gloppy” and thick.

  16. Brava! Such a wonderful idea to remove the Austin stone from the side of the house and use it on the breakfast room. That and the stone planter under the studio windows will look really wonderful.

    Looking at the pictures that you posted showing examples of painted stone, I have to say that I think there is a reason that you really only see stone painted white or a neutral color. The reason is that it ends up looking much better. Certain looks become classics because they look good and continue to do so.

    That said, I know that you yearn to have color on your house. How about considering painting the body of the house, stone and siding, a creamy white (not yellowy, just not stark white) and painting the shutters a beautiful color, rather than black or very dark gray? The photo you posted of the two story house with the Monterey balcony has the most beautiful color combination: Creamy white painted house with beautiful blue green shutters, tan or natural wood columns plus darker stained natural wood doors. I think this way you can do the best for the different materials that clad the house yet still get your lovely color on the exterior.

    Regarding the design of the front door, consider making the window in the door a rectangle instead of an arch. The rectangular lines are harmonious with the craftsmen style, but arches are not.

    Lastly, if you paint your front door a contrasting color or have it be stained wood, like the example, it will stand out and draw the eye directly to the entry.

  17. To each his (or her) own. Having said that, personally, I hate brick or stone that has been painted with one solid color white or otherwise. In their natural state, brick and/or stone houses have visible grout lines, shadow lines and variations in color and texture, ie, interest. Once they are painted, all you can see is paint. Any painted surface has to be maintained and, in time, repainted. The paint layers build up and the original interest and character is lost even more. I would never paint either one and would never paint stain grade interior wood trim regardless of whether it was from 1885, 1985 or 2017.

  18. Is it possible to remove all but the bottom three or four rows of stone and then use that removed stone to put along the bottom of the areas that have no stone? Boy that sounds much more confusing that I mean it to be! Then you can have the top, and bottom, be whatever color you want it to be but at least there would be a cohesive look around the entire home. Does that make sense?

    1. That is what I was going to suggest: remove all of the stone except for a little bit at the bottom and repeat this look around the whole perimeter of the house. The rest of the house would be siding except for the gables, which would be stone. Then there wouldn’t be that stone left to paint 🙂

  19. I hope that the stone can be sandblasted for you since I’d give up ice cream for a stone facade on my house. But if you have to paint, test out the finishes (like you aways do). Any painted masonry with a sheen looks like plastic to me.

  20. Hi Kristi,

    I love the images of the white painted stone walls! Fabulous! (Not sure if it’s my computer, but when I try to Pin the images it tells me your site won’t allow it).

    Just wanted to put the good word out there for whitewashing stones or brickwork. I white washed my front masonry fence, and also my entire garage (external walls), which is brick and mortar. As I was applying it, I didn’t feel greatly confident about the whiteness of it, but once it’s dry it is super amazingly white! Think Greek Isles houses kind of white – dazzling! (That is what they use there!). All up it cost very little money at all, as it involved a bag of builders’ lime, a couple of kilos of generic name salt, and water. That’s it. I still have about a third of the bag of lime left (the bag was 20kgs). So all up, I imagine it cost less than $20 (Australian) to do the front fence and garage! It’s been 6 years since I whitewashed and it still looks amazing. Some very small areas have worn off, but certainly nothing major. If you compare this with acrylic paint/latex, the cost would be significantly more, and as it comes off, it peels in patches, and doesn’t have the more acceptable ‘naturally worn’ look which you can live with until you get around to doing it again.

    I just thought I’d mention it. It may make the job even more affordable if you’re thinking white. I believe it can be tinted, too, with oxides.

  21. I think you had a comentor yesterday who said something about making a mold of your stone. I have no idea, yet how to do that. If you did, you could pour concrete and have faux stone face for the flower beds, as many as you would want, and not worry about stone masons, which there should be plenty of down in the hill country, but probably not cheap! Just thinking out loud!

    I think the stone sandblasted will look great!

  22. Paint, paint, paint…..a girl after my own heart! I too would paint over anything, I ddon’t care. My hubby does scroll sawing, makes some small furniture, and has done both. Stained and painted. I HATE dark houses, so I’m with you on painting. I want light and bright, even if it’s from 1885, 1985, 2017 😉

  23. Hi Kristi,
    My sister once owned a very old stone house that had been painted white. She repainted it pink, with green shutters like Monet’s house. It looked fantastic. I wish I had a picture, it was beautiful. I wouldn’t recommend pink for your house though!

  24. If you Google painted stone cottage, among the cutesy rocks painted to look like cottages, there are some painted stone houses like this red one. I think it would look like a beautiful lake house with the white stone and the siding painted a color you love like a blue or a gray teal. With the white stone on the front of the breakfast room to break it up, the vinyl color would not be overwhelming. And eventually if you put the double roofline on like you want, the siding would become pops of color against the white. Add black or extremely dark gray door and shutters if you want them, and it would look really classy. If the white stone is not quite wide enough, you can always white wash it to brighten it up.

  25. Our previous home is a mix of cedar siding with stone along the bottom edge. This is a particularly unflattering picture of the house during winter, before the yard was updated, but gives you an idea – the color is a blue/grey called Atmosphere by Behr. We previously had painted the stone a creamy offwhite, but were ready to try something new. The raw stone was uninspiring and about 12 different colors…we had many positive comments.,-Huntsville,-AL-35801_rb/

  26. I just watched a show on HGTV and they painted a brick house kind of a wedgewood-ish blue color… I’m not a fan of painted brick, but for painted brick, it looked nice.

  27. Sandblasting is not that hard to do.

    Look at Harbor Freight for an inexpensive tool. If you have the time it’s relatively simple. I’ve done it to remove Russ’s from old metal carts.

  28. I’m with you, I have no reservations about painting anything. The very first thing I did when I bought my house was paint all of the stained wood trim white. As far as painting stone a color, the only example I can think of is there’s a house in my neighborhood with split-faced block and they’ve painted the whole house buttercream yellow. My honest opinion is that it looks tacky as hell! If it were me, I’d probably avoid painting the stone in anything other than a neutral. At the risk of sounding like Joanna Gaines, I think you could do a lot with colored siding and natural features to tie it all in together!

  29. Interesting idea to take the stone off one area and put it on another to create more balance. I like that! A stone mason will definitely know about the costs of painting vs sandblasting. I think the sandblasting would have a more natural look but that is just my opinion. Can’t wait to see what colors you will put with the stone/siding exterior.

  30. After you mentioned the different ideas for the stone and for painting, I noticed that a lot of the new houses going up around here have natural stone of all colors and different types, and paired with colorful siding. Different blues, different greens, beiges, yellows, even a coral! I like a more natural stone for the depth of color variation vs a flat single color with the paint. To me, it gives more interest. But whatever your final choice will be, it will great!

  31. I just found your blog and I can say that I have never thought about painting stone facade on houses before. It is a very intriguing concept. I personally feel like it would depend on the color coordination of the house as to whether it really looks good as well as the style of the house. I as well as you have never seen stone painted a bright colored except for in Chile. I visited there awhile back and almost every house is made of concrete, so to add color they would just paint over it. And they have every color you can think of painted on their houses from blue, to red, to green, and everywhere in-between. They would also paint their stone/concrete fences to match. But I don’t think that qualifies for the same stone painting you are looking for. But I look forward to continue reading your blog and seeing how your house comes together.

  32. I noticed on the living room side the stone sits back about a inch or so from the siding above it. If removing the stone isn’t cost effective could they cover the stone with a wood panel and side over it ? That way you would at least be uniformed in that area. (Kinda wonder why they didn’t go all the way up to the peak like on the other side of the house) If that works out well you could do that on the other side of the house also, as when you build the extension you will have stone with a sided extension. Isn’t your house a cornered lot? If you do the porch columns in stone why not only do them half way too since you wanting to remove 1/2 the stone on the front of the far side of the house.

  33. I have this awful gray stone on the outside of my house – a nice rectangle at the end past the window. I’ve wanted to white wash it or mute the color, but everyone tells me YOU CAN’T PAINT STONE!!! Lol. This post got me reconsidering it. I found this searching online, wondered if anyone had any experience DIYing it?

  34. I just moved to Austin and I am house shopping. I am from out-of-state and not loving the stone on a lot of the houses. I love the interior of one of the homes so I am considering painting the stone white and the stucco a blue. Am I crazy? I don’t like the dirty stone or the brown iron that peeks through. It has zero curb appeal. If we get the house, I am going to paint it. I like the white limestone look and think I can make it that way with a flat white paint. Fingers crossed.