Understanding Color Cast of Brick or Stone

Understanding color cast, especially for homes partially or entirely covered in brick or stone, is essential when changing your home’s exterior. Still, only some know what color cast is and how it can help to find the best colors for your color scheme.

This article will explain why I say color cast rather than color and how understanding color cast can be the key to creating a fantastic scheme.

What is Color Cast?

Color cast describes the colors of stone, brick, roofing, or other hardscape materials. Generally, these surfaces are not a solid color but a mix of colors. To say these materials are a single color would not do them justice since the beauty is in the depth and variations of colors. Instead, the term color cast is better to describe the color that brings together all other colors in these materials.

Photographers use color cast when describing an unwanted tint on a photographic image caused by sunlight, incandescent, or reflected light. If you have ever seen a slightly yellowish photo, that is the result of this light and is called the color cast.

Now think of this idea applied to stonework, bricks, or roofing material. The color cast is a color that washes over all of the hues in a blend. The colors throughout are not all the same, but they have a tinge of color common to the overall mix.

Repeating the Same Tones from One Feature to the Next

Identifying and repeating the primary color or color cast from one fixed feature to the next visually ties the exterior scheme together. When all the permanent elements harmonize, it sets the stage for a bespoke exterior color scheme by opening up options for a wide range of colors.

The Color Cast of Stone

Selecting an exterior color scheme for homes with full or partial stonework begins by looking at the stones to see their actual color. Stones will have a primary color and a cast of another color. Cream stones often have gray, golden, pink, and taupe influences.  Gray stones may have hints of purple, pink, or brown.  In general, stonework has one of the five most common color casts.

Most stonework has one of the above — tan, brown, gray, greige/cream, or white. These are the colors that you usually see on residential exteriors. Within each color group, you will see stones predominantly in that color or have a cast of that color, and each will have secondary colors.  Determine the color cast and other colors influencing the look of the stone to select the best coordinating color scheme.

Stone Exterior color schemes for stone colors

Let the Stone be the Starting Point for Your Scheme

If you are building a new home, select the stone and roof first and then create a color scheme to enhance these features. Most stonework has one of the above five color casts. When choosing colors for your stone home exterior, find paint or materials that blend with or complement the stone’s predominant colors or overall color cast. All the colors in a scheme must harmonize with the stone to create the best look.

In addition to the fixed features, consider the other four FRESH steps. You can find the details of how to do that in the ebook FRESH Home Exterior Color Schemes for Brick and Stone, which is available with our compliments.

Continue Choosing Your Stone Exterior Scheme

For your entire stone or partial stone exterior, consider the overall color cast of your stonework and any colors that stand out in the mix. The overall tone could be gray, tan, brown, greige, cream, white, or another color. The primary color of your home must blend with your stone’s tone. That doesn’t mean it must be in the same color family. For example, you could select blue for your primary color with gray rocks, but a grayed blue will blend with the stones better than a bright, clear blue. If the mix of rocks includes a color that truly stands out, a more robust version of that color might make an excellent choice for your shutters or front door.

Stones with a Tan Color Cast

Tan Stone Exterior Schemes with Multi-Width Slate EvergreenThe warmth of stones with a tan color cast makes them a popular choice for home exteriors. Tan can be neutral or lean toward another color, such as gold, green, peach, or coral. Noticing your stone’s subtle nuances will help you find a harmonious color scheme for a tan stone exterior. Would one of these “Five Terrific Tan Stone Exterior Color Schemes” suit your home?

Stones with a Brown Color Cast

Brown Stone Exterior Schemes with Select Shake Tahoe
Like in the natural world, earthy brown can stand alongside all color families. Hues based on those you see in nature is perfect for the brown stonework on your exterior color schemes. Colors that are toned down will look best. Find an inspired palette starting with our “Five Beautiful Brown Stone Exterior Color Schemes.”

Stones with a Gray Color Cast

Gray Stone Exterior Schemes with Multi-Width Slate Slate GrayA versatile neutral gray stone looks excellent in an all-neutral scheme or takes on many shades of color: dark, medium, or light to create a grand gray stone exterior color scheme. Here are the “Five Great Gray Stone Exterior Color Schemes” to consider.

Stones with Greige or  Cream Color Cast

Cream Stone Exterior Color Schemes with Multi-Width Slate AberdeenIt may seem odd to describe stones as “soft,” but that is exactly how the color in greige or cream feels when contrasted to darker stones. For the best results, match the softer qualities of the stone to the primary colors in the palette you create and keep the higher contrast colors for your accents. Check out these: “Five Gorgeous Greige and Cream Stone Exterior Color Schemes.”

Stones with a White Color Cast

White Stone Exterior Color Schemes with Single-Width Shake Mountain

White stone makes a statement, whether alone or combined with brick or other materials. When combining white stone exterior color schemes, you can choose contrasting colors or let the texture take the lead with a tonal palette. Here are some ideas to get you started. Here are some ideas to get you started: “Five Wonderful White Stone Exterior Color Schemes.”

The Color Cast of Brick

Brick adds a distinctive element to any home. To create a look that enhances this feature, develop an exterior color scheme that begins with understanding the color cast of the brickwork.

Let the Brick be the Starting Point for Your Scheme

The color and pattern of the brickwork must set the tone for your home’s exterior scheme. You create a cohesive color scheme when you select a palette based on the color cast of your stone and roof.

Exterior color schemes for brick colors shown

Continue Choosing Your Brick Exterior Scheme

Selecting an exterior color scheme for brick or partially brick homes begins by looking at the bricks to see their actual color. Your first thought might be that the color of your brick is merely red, but look closer. Your brick can have a cast of another color or be closer to pink or brown than red. Bricks come in various styles, but most will have one of the six most common color casts.

Most brickwork has one of the above — red, tan/buff, white/cream, pink, gray, brown, or black. These are the colors that you usually see on residential exteriors. Within each color group, you will see bricks predominantly in that color or have a cast of that color. Determine the color and the color cast to select the best color scheme.

Brickwork with a Red Color Cast

Red Brick Home Exterior Color Schemes with Province Slate Gray roof

There are many colors and types of brick, but the most popular by far is red. This classic, all-American look has a timeless appeal. Your red bricks play the lead role in the color palette, whether they have clean, straight lines or rustic, uneven edges. Looking for inspiration for your brick home? See “Five of Our favorite Red Brick Home Exterior Color Schemes.

Brickwork with a Pink Color Cast

Pink Brick Home Exterior Color Schemes with Bellaforté Slate Gray roof

Don’t let preconceived thoughts of pink fool you. These bricks range from slightly lighter than red to neutral and uplifted with a rosy glow. Add soft colors and an accent or two with the same subtle radiance as your brick. If your brick is on the lighter side of red, check out “Five Fabulous Pink Brick Exterior Color Schemes.

Brickwork with a White or Cream Color Cast

Cream Brick Home Exterior Color Schemes with Multi-Width Slate European

Though not usually pure white or cream, the clean look of light bricks is attractive on home styles from historical to modern. One advantage of white and cream bricks is their ability to harmonize with many colors, making it easy to find brick exterior color schemes that accentuate your home. See examples in “Five Inspiring White and Cream Brick Exterior Color Schemes.”

Brickwork with a Gray Color Cast

Multi-Width Slate Black

Bricks with a gray cast can be either cool or warm brownish-gray. Match the temperature of your bricks to the temperature of your primary color and neutrals for the best gray brick exterior color schemes, “Five Great Gray Stone Exterior Color Schemes”

Brickwork with a Black or Brown Color Cast

Black Oak Dhurrie Beige

These bricks are not purely brown or black but feature rich dark neutrals brought to life by contrast and color. When creating black brick exterior schemes, give contrast with a light to medium primary color and then add medium to dark accent colors. Here are “Five Beautiful Black Brick Exterior Color Schemes.”

Brickwork with a Tan or Buff Color Cast

Tan-Buff - Multi-Width Shake Weathered Gray

Tan bricks are a natural partner for a palette of warm colors. Bricks predominantly tan, or tan overlaying another color, have a welcoming warmth. Cool tones can work, too, mainly when used as accent colors in tan brick exterior color schemes. Find inspiration from our “Five Tantalizing Tan Brick Exterior Color Schemes.”

If you’ve read this far, thank you for staying with me. You can see how understanding the color cast of brick or stone is essential when selecting your new roof or any other materials and colors for your full or partial brick or stone house.

More Inspiration and a Free Ebook

The tips above can get you started. To get all the details on creating your best brick home exterior color schemes, download our complete guide  – FRESH Home Exterior Color Schemes for Brick and Stone.

Find even more inspiring color schemes; check out the Best Exterior Color Scheme Match for Your DaVinci Roof.

Another excellent tool is DaVinci’s Color Visualizer, which lets you see exterior products and colors that complement your entire home. I recently wrote a color visualizer blog post you might find helpful, or you can go directly to the Color Visualizer and start coloring your home.

Finally, the online Immersive Experience from Westlake Royal Building Products gives you another unique tool. This 3-D visualizer lets you travel the exteriors of three different homes, changing the homes’ products and color palettes. This provides you with another way to gain insights into the colors you might like to have on your own home.

To see more amazing bricks or stone products, visit these companies:

About the Author

Kate SmithKate Smith Headshot is an internationally recognized color expert, consultant, and designer.  She is a skilled colorist & a color consultant who, for more than a decade, has lent her expertise to DaVinci Roofscapes. Kate helps YOU select colors you will love for many years.