The failure of masonry buildings due to earthquakes is because of its low tensile and shear resistance. To improve the strength and enhance the seismic performance of masonry structures, retrofitting using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites is explored in this study. Characterization of materials and finite element analysis (FEA) are carried out. Homogeneous macromodeling using the smeared crack concrete model is adopted for the analysis of load bearing brick masonry walls under inplane loading. The resistance of the masonry walls is studied for a shear specimen with an aspect ratio (length/height) of one and a flexure specimen with an aspect ratio of two. Effects of different strengthening techniques like X-bracing, full-surface-bonding, and two-end-strap coating using FRP composites are studied using the developed model based on the failure pattern of control specimens. Parametric studies are also carried out to study the effect of vertical compression, and the results are discussed. It is concluded that the effectiveness of FRP in increasing the lateral strength of masonry is based on the compressive strength of masonry. © 2006 Composites in Civil Engineering, CICE 2006. All rights reserved.