Exterior Masonry Paints

Painting exterior masonry is a fairly simple process of adequate preparation and selection of paint colour. The choice of paint is usually a matter of budget and/or personal bias because exterior masonry paints are all the same right?

Not really no.

There are water based paints, oil based masonry paints and mineral paints as well as a rubber based paint known as Pliolite. Factor in also the new ‘Eco Paints’ and you’d be right to be a little confused.

So which is best and does it really matter?

First of all the choice of paint will depend upon the type of wall surface and whether it has been painted before. Generally, the exterior walls of your property will be plain brick or stone or finished with some kind of cement based render – older properties (particularly those with a single thickness of wall) may have a lime based render finish.

Previously Painted Walls

For previously painted walls in good condition a standard water based masonry paint such as Dulux Weathershield should be perfectly adequate. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far then an own brand equivalent such as B&Q should be fine.

Most exterior wall paints are water based and contain some form of acrylic binder. They should be micro-porous – in other words, they allow any moisture trapped in the wall surface to evaporate.

Alternatives include solvent-based paints for all-year round application and Pliolite rubber based paints for inclement environments.

Unpainted Cement Rendered Walls

If you have  cavity walls and the render is in good, dry condition there is no reason why you shouldn’t use a conventional water based finish. You may need to do a little preparation such as filling any minor cracks and priming any loose or friable areas with stabilising solution.

Afterwards simply coat with two or three coats of masonry paint in your chosen colour (the first coat slightly thinned with water).

Stabilising Primer is ideal for chalky or powdery areas. It acts like an adhesive – providing a solid base for subsequent coats of paint to stick to.

However, it is NOT a suitable primer for ordinary rendered walls despite what your neighbour or bloke down the pub may tell you. A thinned coat of regular masonry paint is all that is needed as a primer for sound rendered walls and stonework.

For older properties with a single thickness of wall it will be necessary to ensure that the wall is able to breathe (in other words, the surface should be permeable and allow any trapped moisture to escape). Ideally the render will be lime based or with a low cement content finish.

In theory a quality water based system, such as Dulux Weathershield, will perform quite adequately and should last many years.

However, you may consider using a mineral based paint which could perform considerably better?

Mineral Based Exterior Paints

Put simply,  mineral paints are made with a silicate binder which reacts with the surface of the wall to form a long-lasting bond, unlike traditional paints which simply form a skin. They are naturally alkaline, so inhibit mould growth and carbonation; mineral paints also have the added advantage of being eco-friendly too.

The disadvantage is that they require more thorough preparation, special primers and are, initially, much more expensive – although the increased performance should pay back over the long term.

Beek Mineral Paints

There are a few specialist manufacturers of mineral based paints – the main two being Keim and Beeck.

Each have their own detailed specifications for different kinds of wall surface and these must be followed to the letter in order to enjoy the maximum performance.

Lime Rendered Walls

For old buildings with a lime based render or lime based pointing a traditional Limewash is ideal. Limewash is simply a paint made from lime powder and water together with a colourant.

The main advantages of limewash are they bind to the surface very well and are totally breathable – another benefit is that they are relatively inexpensive.

Care needs to be taken with application and sometimes additional binders need to be added to aid adhesion.The finished result can be very striking though – looking much more natural than a traditional paint finish.

Limewash paints are available from a number of sources including Ecos, Ty-Mawr, Little Greene and  Farrow & Ball.

ECO Paints

Technically, an ECO paint is simply a paint which has a very low or zero volume of Volatile Organic Compounds. While some ECO paints are obviously superior to others there isn’t any case for suggesting that an ECO paint will perform any better or worse than any other form of exterior paint – it will simply be a matter of personal choice.

It’s worth noting, however, that mineral and lime based finishes, mentioned above, are by their very nature eco-friendly – so would make a good choice if you wanted to be as environmentally friendly as possible?

A Little Preparation Will Go a Long Way

As always, the amount of time you spend preparing the surface will show in the end result and, if done properly, a painted exterior wall will last at least ten years before it needs re-coating.

Bear this in mind when making your choice of materials as it really isn’t worth skimping and a few extra pounds spent at the outset will go a long way.


Tom – Hi this is a great site very useful. My house is an old Victorian terrace (1888) on the seafront. It is rendered and painted regularly with Sandtex STHC smooth. Long shot I know but is there a better product to withstand the elements and do you have any advice on any specialist gloss paint for the window woodwork.
As you might expect the repainting seems to be every 5 years rather than 10. Just wondered if there was a better product or whether more coats would be a good idea. READ MORE…

Dulux Trade Maximum Exposure Masonry Paint [link] is formulated for coastal environments and is claimed to perform better than the regular alternative. Whether it would be worth the added expense is hard to say though since you’ll be painting over an existing coating and, as always, any paint is only as good as the surface it is applied to.

In theory, you may get a bit more time between recoats but it can’t be guaranteed so that’s a risk you’ll have to judge for yourself.

As for the woodwork, Dulux Trade Weathershield exterior undercoat and gloss will perform as well as anything and much better than most standard finishes. In your case, over existing woodwork that is in good condition, the oil-based option will be the better choice.

Re applying extra coats, with previously-painted woodwork, absolutely yes. Two coats of gloss are better than one and three coats better than two.

And for masonry paint, not so much, since you want any internal moisture to be able to escape and multiple coats will have a detrimental effect on this process.

Dave – I have an old terraced property built around 1910. I would like to paint the brick wall in my back yard. The previous owner painted it – probably many, many years ago. The existing white paint is still on much of the wall, although much of it is now flaking off. I was planning to scrape off the loose, flaking paint, clean it and then paint it with Dulux Trade Weathershield Exterior Masonry Paint in brilliant white. However, the on-line data sheet says the paint is not suitable for ‘common brick’. Do you think my 1910 old yard wall is likely to be common brick? I don’t really know what that is.
If so, is there a paint for common brick? I thought this would be a fairly straightforward task to spruce up the yard, especially as it had previously been painted, but now I’m worried I am doing this wrong. READ MORE…

Darren – Common Brick is term used to describe high-density bricks which are typically used at DPC level because they are resistant to the absorption of moisture. It is not usual for commons to be used for yard walls or large areas of brickwork elsewhere.

It is unfortunate that the word ‘common’ is used out of context in this case since these kind of bricks are anything but.

462 thoughts on “Exterior Masonry Paints”

  1. Hello I have a long garden wall 5 years old that I have had trouble painting I recently scraped of all paint on it applied a Johnson’s extreme primer let dry an put 2 coats of sandtex ext paint water based.the next day a little water landed on it and it swelled and you could just run off.my question is w at is best ext paint to put over this primer to give a good bond Thanks for your help.

    • I think the swelling has been caused by the primer rather than the Sandtex. I’m guessing the wall was damp internally and the primer has trapped this in, swelling is good indication of trapped moisture being unable to escape.

      If you can, remove all the new paint and start again, leaving the wall time to dry out first. You shouldn’t need a primer, other than in exceptional circumstance, and a thinned coat of masonry paint ought to be sufficient.

      Garden walls are particularly prone to moisture since they tend not to be constructed with damp-prevention in mind. The wall will take in moisture from the ground, from the sides and from the top – especially if uncapped and sheltered. For this reason it is sometimes better to accept regular maintenance is in order rather than trying affect a permanent solution that can be costly and doomed to failure.

  2. We have newly rendered walls on our house that is on a busy road in London. As it is in a conservation area, the walls have to be painted white. Is there any particular masonry paint that will withstand dirt and pollution more than others?

  3. Hi. Apologies in advance for all the questions but I want to do a good job and repel the previous owners bad jobs!
    We have a 1930’s semi and we are looking to paint the masonry windws sills and door lintels etc. Some masonry sills have previously painted.
    The bottom sills are flaky so I have rubbed these down with a surface preparation wheel attached to a drill to remove any flakiness. I have not managed top take it all the way back to bare masonry.
    1. Would I be ok to use Dulux Weathershield as opposed to a masonry paint as its not a true masonry surface anymore.
    2. What primer/undercoat would I need (if any)
    3. Where the upper sills have been painted and the paint is still sound, can I reapply a new layer of Weathershield or do these need priming/prepping in any way?

    • Stone window sills and lintels are often not painted with masonry paint so it’s difficult to give you accurate advice. Since you say the existing paint is flaking though, I assume a traditional gloss paint has been used? This can be a good idea for window sills especially since it repels standing water much more readily than regular masonry paint.

      You can, however, use any kind of paint finish over the top although you’ll need to use a primer that will promote good adhesion. The previous use of a ‘preparation wheel’ may be problematic though (assuming it was the wire brush type) because bits of wire become embedded in the surface and cause staining which can be difficult to get rid of.

      For these areas there isn’t that much advantage to be gained from using Weathershield as opposed to a cheaper option, especially since they have been painted before.

      If the existing finish is indeed gloss then you can paint the upper sills with a coat of undercoat and a coat of gloss (rub down with sandpaper first). The lower sills may need priming with an alkali-resisting primer if any bare stonework is showing through (only prime these areas, not the whole lot). Then undercoat and gloss as normal.

      If the finish is a flat masonry style paint you can paint the bits that are in good order by simply applying two coats. The bits where you’ve done a lot of preparation may benefit from an adhesive-style primer such as Zinsser 123. Then apply 2 coats as normal.

  4. Hello.
    The stone window sills on our 1930s semis have been painted & repainted over the years and want to re-paint – both houses at the same time. Unfortunately, we don’t know what has been used in the past – there are a few chipped bits and in some areas the last [thin] coat is flaking to reveal an apparently stronger base-paint. We are preparing well and thoroughly but would be grateful for advice on the best masonry paint to use in the circumstances. We’re happy to pay for the most durable and best vfm product.
    Thanks in anticipation.

    • Traditional style stone window sills are usually painted with regular undercoat and gloss. It’s OK to use the same but wash-down, remove any loose paint then give a good rub-down with sandpaper before repainting.

      Flaking paint is usually a sign that preparation was skimped originally.

  5. Hello
    Which masonary paint would you recommend to cover haarling? I have huge patches to cover where there were deep cracks. Builders have sorted it all out but exterior house walls all need done.
    I would be very grateful for any advice and could a very good non professional do it

  6. We live in a partially cement rendered bungalow with bradstone detailing. Last year after some building work we had some of the walls (including partial walls) re-rendered with Baumit. We have got to the stage where we are painting and getting conflicting advice. We have tried both dulux and sandtex on both the old (finished in sandtex) and new render to find that the colours are taking quite differently to the two surfaces and have spoken with Keim who have said that there product will go over both, my worry is that there will still be the colour inconsistency and we could be making an expensive mistake. Should we use some sort of base coat over the old sandtex, which to be honest is in good condition and finish everything in Keim or could we then use Dulux or Sandtex as they will be the cheapest option. Any advice welcome. Thank you

    • It sounds like the inconsistency with colour is a result of being applied to two different textures? The way light reflects off a surface will have a slight impact on the way the colour is perceived. On two seperate buildings it wouldn’t be noticeable but on the same wall or a connecting wall it becomes obvious. It’s something you see often where walls have been repaired and the texture is never quite the same as the original.

      Assuming this is the case, you are right to think that using any other kind of paint would be a waste of money because the end result will be the same.

  7. I want to paint my exterior walls with sandtex the property is 60 years old so what is the best process

  8. Hi, Could you help with any advice on painting (spray) a granite plaque.
    I have heard that normal spray paints of gold or silver fade after a year or two but aluminum spray lasts much longer.

    • I don’t have much experience of this I’m afraid, so can’t offer much help. Have you thought of using a protective lacquer though?

  9. I have an ordinary mid-terraced house in the North West. My exterior sandstone windows were tatty and crumbling, so a stone mason repaired them and painted them with 2 coats of cream masonry paint. A few days later, some areas of the stone began to look blotchy, with darkish patches. This got gradually worse, so the stone mason came back to attempt to rectify. He applied a stain blocker to the affected areas, and then a bit more cream masonry paint. After a few days the blotchiness was back again. I am at a loss to understand what is going wrong, and what can be done to put the problem right. I would be grateful for any advice you could give. Thank you.

    • It sounds like your stonemason was a bit too eager to complete the job and didn’t allow the repaired areas to dry-out in depth. Best to leave things be now and let it develop. I suspect the paint will start bubbling and flaking off as the moisture trapped behind it forces itself out. Then leave it for a while to weather before trying to paint again.

      How long? I always say a year but people never thank me for saying it.

      • Thank you very much for your prompt reply and for your advice. Could I ask a follow up question? The blotchy areas of sandstone tend to be where the stonemason merely sanded down the existing stone before painting it (rather than the areas where he repaired missing masonry with new material). Is there a reason why the sanded area would be worst affected? Thank you.

      • It could be that the original surface was weathered and had become stained over time, which is quite common with sandstone because it is very absorbent. Old sandstone can be almost black on the surface whereas new stone is almost white.

        So, when painting over old sandstone, a lot of impurities are going to migrate through the paint surface resulting in a darker finish. Because the sanded down areas are like new stone you wouldn’t get this staining effect and the result, therefore, would be lighter in colour – giving a patchy appearance.

        The only problem with this theory now is the use of a stain blocker which I would expect to have solved the problem? I wonder whether a sufficient coating of stain-blocker had been used or if the stain-blocker was water-based and not as effective as required?

        I really don’t like using oil or spirit-based stain-blockers on exterior masonry since they prevent any trapped moisture from escaping, but I can’t think of another way around this problem other than just leaving it for a while to weather naturally – which could take a very long time indeed? Removing the new paint and going back to fresh stone is another extreme option but, again, not very practical.

        An oil based alkali-resisting primer such as Dulux primer Sealer would be an extreme measure but almost certain to cure any staining problems (cheaper brands are just as good for this purpose, btw).

        Maybe try this on a trial area first, just to be sure? You’ll need to let this dry for at least a couple of days before applying a water-based top coat btw.

  10. Can anybody recommend a granite textured paint that I can put straight onto a cement path to give it a coloured and slightly rough to touch feel.

    I have been looking online today and the closest thing I can see is called Behr granite grip … but it’s in the USA. I am not overly experienced in knowing what materials to buy but since the path I want to paint or roll over is quite small I think I will be able to manage the job as long as I have the correct material.

  11. i painted a new build with johnstones smooth masonry , maybe 6months after the paint started to discolour but only where the settling cracks have appeared, would you know why this is

    • It’s possible that the cracks are allowing some trapped moisture to escape and the staining is caused by natural minerals contained within. It’s side-effect of the drying out process and nothing to worry about.

      Don’t try to paint over or block the stains until the walls have had chance to dry out in depth; this could take a couple of years. You may be able to clean the stained areas, however, with a dilute solution of brick cleaner or bleach and water.

  12. I had the problem with ivy suckers stuck to the wall, after a few aborted attempts to get shot of them I used household bleach sprayed on each one. After two weeks they a had all died of and brushed of easily.
    My Question I have an old stone wall house which is 264 years old I have painted with masonry paint but after about two to three year I get moss growing through I was thinking of just using a lime based paint which we call whitewash? I have noticed on old farm buildings which have painted this way for years you never see moss growing. Can you advise?

    • You tend to get moss growth on North-facing walls where any moisture tends to gather and doesn’t get a chance to dry out. You’ll also see it where there is a leaking gutter or fall pipe.

      Bear in mind also, old buildings tend to have a single skin construction of very deep stone and a lot of moisture can be contained within. If the building had been painted with limewash originally this may have helped the natural drying-out process and you may not have such a problem now. This might also explain why you have seen similar buildings without any moss?

      However, since the walls are already painted with masonry paint you are not going to get any benefit by overpainting with limewash – not that I would recommend doing this anyway.

      You can, however, wash the surface periodically with a fungicidal solution which should help to keep any moss and mould growth at bay.

  13. I have a covered terrace with rendered walls. Every very year I have to sand the wall back, due to effervescent salts coming through, and repaint. The strange thing is, it doesn’t happen on the outside wall that faces the elements. Any idea what paint I should use? I was thinking of a lime wash. Thanks

    • Normally, you’ll get efflorescence where the walls have been recently rendered and it is a perfectly normal side effect of the drying out process. The best advice in these circumstances is to not paint the wall until the wall has dried in depth and no more salts are coming through.

      In your case though it’s possible you have some form of damp problem in the side of the house where this happens, although I would expect some bubbling and flaking of the paint as well?

      Since the walls are already painted I don’t think using a different kind of paint is going to help. It may be worth investigating further to see if there is some underlying damp problem though?

  14. I intend painting a small plinth on which stands my dad’s headstone and the plinth’s surface is just a plain concrete render.
    Would it be advisable to wire brush the render to remove the weathering before applying a couple of coats of exterior masonry paint? The graveyard is quite exposed so I would appreciate a hint as to the best, water resistant paint. Thank you for any advice in advance.

    • The problem with using a wire brush is that small particles of metal become embedded into the surface and this leads to rust-staining which is difficult to get rid of. Best use a brush with nylon or natural bristles.

      Masonry paint should be fine, if you thin the first coat slightly, but it will get dirty and need re-doing regularly. Dark colours are obviously a better choice for this purpose.

      If you want a water-resistant finish you could use an oil-based gloss or eggshell paint. You’ll need to use an alkali-resisting primer and an undercoat first. Although, I think, you’ll likely find the surface will still attract dirt and need regular cleaning?

      • Thank you very much for your valuable input. I can now tackle the job with a little more confidence and purpose.

  15. Please could you help me with a question about choice of exterior masonry paint to be used over an existing masonry paint
    Our local conservation officer has said we have to use Keim Masonry paint as the building is listed and in a conservation area, and that it allows the front face of the building to breathe
    My question is based on my impression that Keim will be an expensive option and there may be lower cost, but equally as good alternatives from the likes of Sandtex in their exterior paint range and at cheaper prices.

    • If you are confident the existing coating is ordinary masonry paint then re-painting with something similar is the best course of action. You could overpaint with Keim but the benefits of doing this are virtually non-existent.

      It’s possible the conservation officer is trying to appear more knowledgeable than he actually is.

  16. The outside of our cottage had ivy growing all over it and although we’re removed most of it without bringing off the layer of paint underneath, we’re still left with thousands of tiny “feet” or suckers, each a few millimeters long. I tried scrubbing and powerwashing too but the little buggers cling on. Is it foolhardy to paint over them with something like Weathershield or will they discolour a white surface?
    Will you email me your reply or should I check your website regularly?

    • Ivy tendrils, or suckers, can be a nightmare to get rid of even on smooth surfaces like uPVC. The best way to deal with them is to let nature take its course and they will decay eventually.

      Painting over them presents a couple of problems. Firstly, you’ll be sealing them in which retards the natural decaying process you really want to promote. And, secondly, as you rightly assume, it will lead to discolouration of the painted surface.

      I have answered another question on this subject before but, alas, this unfortunate person was dealing with a wall that had already been painted.


  17. Our 15-yr old exterior painting with Keim paint is looking tired and a bit mouldy. Can we repaint with Dulux Weathershield, or would its lesser permeability lead to damp problems?
    Could we just pressure-wash and maybe also use a fungicide?

    • You can overpaint with Weathershield and it’s unlikely you’ll experience any adverse effect unless there is already an underlying problem – which doesn’t seem to be the case here. You can, of course, overpaint with Keim mineral paint and lose no permeability at all.

      Pressure washing and treating with a fungicide will remove a lot of the mould but whether you can can eradicate all traces of it depends on the severity? Little to lose by trying though since it will be ideal preparation if you do repaint.

  18. Can I use water based masonry paint over marine ply with 2 coats of water based primer/undercoat on it,
    for exterior use?

    • You can but bear in mind that masonry paint will absorb a certain level of moisture – so the boards will not be as fully protected as if you used a traditional gloss finish.

      It really depends on what you’re using the boards for; if they are going to be upright then not so much a problem than if they were to be laid flat. Also, it is the edges that will absorb more water than anything so, whatever paint you use, always ensure the edges are fully sealed, exposed or not.

    • You can do, yes, but you’ll need to seal it first with an oil-based primer such as Dulux Alkali Resisting Primer. You could, if it’s a small area, possibly get away with a thinned coat of undercoat instead but the result will be less predictable.

      You problem is the existing wall coating is going to absorb a lot of the resin in the gloss – which will make it dry flat, or dull. A decent primer should seal it.

      Another problem is that you’ll be affecting the breath-ability of the wall so any natural moisture will become trapped – leading to further problems. You’ll have to use your own that judgement on that one.

  19. Can I use masonry paint on previous painted interior walls? I have, and have diluted the first coat, but after the second coat the colour is much different in the places I have filled.
    Should I use a primer or stain blocker, or should another coat or two cover?

    • The colour difference is probably explained by the level of absorption with the filled areas compared to the previous painted surfaces. An extra coat should improve things although you could spot paint the filled areas a couple of times first and then finish with a full coat on all the wall to even things out?

      It is too late in your case but, in general, I wouldn’t recommend using exterior masonry paint indoors since it contains a higher than normal level of volatile organic compounds. These may be still withing the regulated safe-limits but, nonetheless, it is best to use paints for the purpose they have been formulated.

  20. My park home has always been painted using Resitex, however I was talking to the guy who does most of the painting on site & he said once the 10 year warranty runs out you are just as well using Dulux Weathershield in his opinion it does the job just as well & is much cheaper

  21. Help!! I’m becoming very confused!!
    The house has a Monocouche (Weber product) render finish. About 12 years old, but due to some cracking, which have been filled, but not a good colour match I’m thinking of a paint job. It would appear that some masonry paints are not recommended for Monocouche. Weber do a paint for this render finish, but it’s horrendously expensive!!
    It appears that I should use a breathable paint, but it would seem that not all breathable paints are actually breathable!! Any advice would be most welcome.
    PS The house is 1/2 mile back from the South Coast, so get quite a bit of “fresh” air at times!

    • As a general rule, through coloured renders such as Monocouche and K-Rend can be painted successfully with traditional masonry paints provided that the coating is in reasonable condition. However, if you want to be covered by any warranties then you’ll have to use a system as specified by the product manufacturer.

      In regard to your question about some breathable paints not being breathable, I’m afraid I can’t answer that one. Maybe you can refer back to whoever told you this?

  22. Have just finished an outside paint (Earthborn) on a recently lime rendered cottage. I am satisfied with the result. However there is a plinth below the drip bead of about 3 to 4 inches which needs to be in black, to match the rest of the cottage. Earthborn only do a slate colour in 5L (£80) or 100ml (£10) only.
    I only need a litre to finish the job. Any advice please that will do the “breathing” bit but not at those prices.
    Would a litre of Weathershield do any harm?

    • You can but, since it hasn’t been formulated for use on rough timber, the results are unpredictable.

      A couple of problems you may encounter are migration of stains from preservatives causing unsightly brown patches; and, longer term, constant expansion and contraction of the timer causing the paint film to crack and loose its adhesion.

      Of course, neither of these things may happen and everything will be fine. It’s just the risk you take.

  23. I have been working on the exterior of my single skin brick shed.
    Initially, I filled holes, mainly from extracted nails and screws, with an exterior filler.
    I then painted the brick work with white masonry paint. I have applied 1 coat of paint and have since read that I should have painted over the filler with an oil based paint. I have also read above you advise to paint with a watered down coat which I haven’t done. Budget is low so please can you advise me what I should do now to get the best, long lasting results or if this is now not possible.

    • I can’t answer the point about painting over filer with an oil based paint since you certainly didn’t read that here. Maybe you could point me to the source of this information?

      Thinning the first coat of masonry paint is advisable but if you managed OK without doing this there shouldn’t be much to worry about. It depends a lot on the brand of paint you used; some are already quite thin enough straight from the tin.

  24. Thanks for the info. I like the faster drying time of pliolite. But will just use masonry paint like sandtex. Thanks again.

  25. Is there a paint which you could suggest which could cover up blemishes in the render. Obviously smooth paint does not really mask any inperfection! – Thanks

    • It depends how severe the problem is really? You can use a textured masonry paint like Sandtex which helps to hide minor blemishes but if they are very prominent it isn’t going to be much use.

      Johnstone’s Jontex is an alternative option; it’s a fair bit thicker than regular masonry paint and you can apply it by roller to give a rough textured finish.

      Again though, you are taking a bit of a risk as the end result may still not be satisfactory and you could be wasting your time and money. It may be worth doing a trial area first but, even so, it’s not going to be cheap. A 10 litre pack (the smallest size available) is going to set you back over £60.

      Unfortunately, with paint you are always limited with the state of the surface you are presented with and a perfect result isn’t always possible.

  26. Hi, I’d be very grateful for your help, I have a passage way between my house and garage which as always been covered with a roof, just recently I’ve had doors fitted to both ends so now it’s an indoor space. The walls are of house brick which I’ve just had plastered with “thistle hardwall plaster” and left in a rough texture finish with no finishing plaster on top. What would be the best paint for this area.

    • I am assuming you are talking about the interior surface of the wall and the brickwork is a single skin?

      If this is the case, I would use something like Crown Covermatt, Johnstones Jonmat Premium or Dulux Supermatt

      In other words, an emulsion paint without any vinyl additive that is going o prevent the wall from drying out. You’ll need to thin the first and second coats quite, a bit so it soaks in, and finish with a full third coat to get a decent result.

      • Hi Darren, that’s right I’m referring to the interior surface which as the “thistle hardwall plaster” on it. If I wanted a more durable finish would any of the masonry paints be suitable ?

      • You could use a masonry paint but they are formulated for exterior use, which leads to a couple of disadvantages.
        Firstly, because exterior masonry paints also have to shed water, they have a resin content that does still allow a certain amount of moisture to escape but not so much as an interior contract matt that is specifically formulated for this purpose.

        Also, the levels of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC’s) used in their manufacture is much higher because they are normally going to be used outdoors. The levels are not significant but still worth being aware of, especially since odour levels will be much higher in confined spaces and this may take a while to clear.

  27. We are taking off a non porous paint from an old Grade 1 listed cottage to paint in with the correct paint. The removal is turning into a major job.Is it essential to remove every scrap of paint? We estimate that we have removed some 80 to 90 percent of the oil based paint.Is this enough to let the wall breath when the correct paint is applied?

    • If the paint is firmly stuck to the wall this indicates that there isn’t a problem with retained moisture behind it. So, you should be OK.

  28. i have bought a house which has texured masonry paint, which is thin with many small cracks and some gree tinge. i would like to repaint, but dont know whether it is ok to just paint with sandtex smoth exterior paint or whether i sould seal the surface cracks somehow..grateful for any advice.

    • The green tinge is likely algae growth which needs to be treated with a fungicidal solution before re-painting. The cracks are a bigger problem though since they will allow moisture to penetrate and become trapped behind the rendered surface. This can lead to a premature failure of the paint surface and, in some cases, lead to internal damp problems. Masonry paints can deal with normal levels of moisture in the wall but not where there is excessive water absorption.

      For a few minor, random cracks the course of action is to rake them out with a knife so they are wide enough to be properly filled with a cement compound. Once these repairs are dry you can spot prime with a thinned solution of masonry paint and then proceed to paint the walls as normal.

      If the problem is more widespread and there are so many cracks that it isn’t practical to repair them all then you have no choice but to remove and completely replace the existing render.

      Simply painting over the cracks isn’t going to work over the medium to long term and you would be wasting your time and money. Beware of any products that claim to offer a solution to this problem also, they are expensive and don’t work.

  29. Hi, I’d be very grateful for your help – I’ve bought a house (built in 1850s) with a cream through-coloured render (type unknown) where the previous owner has allowed climbing plants to become overgrown into the roof. These have been cut back but the render now shows brown aerial root suckers which cannot be removed without damaging the surface. The suckers are very small and flat and indistinguishable from the texture of the render, so it just the difference in the colour which is the issue. It is evident from sections elsewhere around the house that the suckers do not lose their grip/deteriorate even after a very long time. l am considering over painting the render – what type of paint should I use or do you have another suggestion please?

    • The root suckers will decay eventually, so any fix is only going to be temporary. In doing so, this could lead to staining and a breakdown of the paint surface.

      However, this may take some considerable time so you may not have much to lose by painting now and addressing any issues when it comes time to redecorate?

      Hard to say what kind of paint has been used but regular masonry paint is the safest bet. If has been done with lime you can easily check if the surface is powdery and absorbs water readily. If it is lime you’ll need to re-do the same.

      If it is masonry paint, just use the same again. I would start by painting a few areas, where the roots are, just to see if any problems arise. Most likely is bits of staining which, so long as it’s minor, can be touched up with an oil based paint first to seal and then repainting as normal.

      • Thanks very much for your reply Darren. The render hasn’t previously been painted as it is through-coloured – would you still suggest a masonry paint? I’m concerned because I’ve read that painting render which is not designed to be painted can cause problems eg loss of breathability and cause the render itself to fail. KEIM say their Soldalit-ME paint system offers breathability and “is ideal for decoration of all mineral surfaces, in particular through coloured materials in need of a protective, long-life redecoration”, Is this a worthwhile option?

      • Without knowing what this ‘through-coloured’ material actually is I would hesitate to recommend a mineral paint system such as Keim. The advantage of using mineral paints is that they form a chemical bond with the wall rather than just sticking to the surface. But this assumes the render is a regular cement based material and, in your case, there is sufficient doubt for me to suggest caution.

        You could contact Keim directly for advise although I’d guess they’d want to do an inspection before recommending a course of action. The matter of the embedded root suckers is a further complication.

        Regular masonry paints are moisture vapour permeable and are therefore ‘breathable’ so you need not worry about this being a problem. The render material is less of an issue since the paint only needs to adhere to the surface and you can test this yourself without incurring any great expense. This would be my preferred course of action but, by all means, seek further advice.

  30. Hi I’ve got to paint k-rend ,what preparation and what paint is best suited for this surface? Also how many coats would you recommend, not much difference in colour shade? Many thanks.

  31. I am painting the Window sills and the door surrounds of my house. In what circumstance would I use fine textured white paint over a smooth masonry white paint?

    • It can mask minor imperfections, that is all. Textured masonry paint is sometimes useful for where the walls are uneven or where the new render doesn’t quite match the existing finish.

      If your walls are generally OK there isn’t any point using it.

  32. I have a 1922 built detached house that had pebble/spar dash on the outside. Most apperas origibal, but at least one wall has been re-done in the last 10 years. The property has cavity walls,, and is near (1/4 mile) the coast in the south of England.

    I have been looking at silicone (mineral based paints (partly because I spend a lot of time in Germany, and their walls seem to keep cleaner longer than ours!).

    However, which paint type would you suggest – I will be looking for a pastel colour?

    • Ideally I would suggest using a mineral based system although when painting over pebble-dash it is best to get advice directly from the manufacturer. With standard masonry paint there isn’t much of a problem but, given the significant cost difference, it is safer to deal direct. Then, should any problems arise, they are liable for putting things right (so long as you follow their specification to the letter).

      Keim are the market leader and I think you’d be OK with their Granital or Soldalit finishes.

      You can contact them for advice here

      You could, of course, opt for basic masonry paint. Since you have cavity walls and are not directly on the coast you can expect a reasonable life expectancy of any decent brand such as Dulux or Sandtex.

      EcoProAnother mineral based you might be interested in is Earthborn Eco Pro.

      It’s a 2-part system and, according to them 9 I have no experience with this brand myself) it is suitable for use on pebble-dashed walls. They have a nice pastel colour range too, which is a bonus.

  33. Hello Darren I have a grade 2 listed building I have spoken to the people at Beeck who suggested i spray water at the wall and if it ran off then it was likely to be a modern paint rather than a mineral paint. can you suggest the best paint to use i am guessing there is no point using the mineral based option if it is going over a non mineral base. Is that right? Also the house is on a busy road so i assume i need to clean the walls before i paint do i need a special product to do this? A basic question i know but do i paint the walls first and then the window frames or vice versa. Also the shop front is all black which i would like to get rid of can you tell me the quickest way of covering the black please. Many thanks Emma

    • It is unlikely that a mineral paint has been used before and yes, there is no benefit in applying a mineral based system on top of a standard masonry paint.

      It may be worth ruling out the possibility that a lime-wash has been used before though. Lime finishes tend to be rather pale in colour or all white but you can only really be sure if a lime-wash has been used by chemically testing a sample in hydrochloric acid (commonly sold as brick cleaner) to see if dissolves in a ‘fizz’. However, if you spray a sample area with water and the surface absorbs it without any run-off this is a good indication.

      Assuming it is just standard paint though, any exterior masonry paint will do although I always advise buying the best quality you can afford.

      Cleaning the walls sounds like a good idea but I wouldn’t worry too much about this unless they are very badly affected. It may be worth painting a sample area first though to check that any surface dirt doesn’t migrate through to the surface of the new coating.

      If you do need to clean the walls a pressure washer with a solution of water and fungicidal solution should do the job nicely. Ensure the walls have plenty of time to dry out afterwards though as water can easily work it’s way in through hairline cracks and where there are openings (windows and doors) that have not been adequately sealed.

      I would generally do the preparation on the window frames first, maybe bringing them up to undercoat level, and then doing the walls. Apply the final coat when the walls are finished.

      The quickest way of covering black is to use an extra coat of undercoat, two extra in extreme circumstances. There are some that say using a pale grey or some other colour first makes a difference but it doesn’t.

    • You can but they tend not to be very effective over the long-term. Exterior masonry paints already contain an amount of fungicide but there is a limit to how much you can add before it is detrimental to the overall performance of the coating. All paints have a few basic components and each type is formulated as a compromise that gives the best results for the use it is intended.

      Owatrol Mould Killer is a product that is a marketed as a solution to your problem but I would be cautious of recommending it.

      Fungicidal washes such as Everbuild and Dulux are more suitable as a preparation and for occasional spot solutions for small areas. I wouldn’t expect too much though. Regular maintenance and repainting is the only certain solution.

    • You can but you will not get any benefit since any paint is only as good as the surface it is applied to. You will get a better result sticking to the same finish as before.

  34. My 10 year old, four-storey house has rusticated render on the ground floor level, below a bell cast. The indents of the three horizontal bands forming the ‘rustication’ are lined with plastic inserts. I intend to repaint – same colour –
    using Dulux Trade Weathershield Smooth Masonry paint. Will this adhere to the plastic without needing any primer of something like Easy Surface Prep or similar? Also, being a tall house in an elevated location, I wondered whether it’s worth paying extra for Dulux Maximum Exposure? I’d be grateful for your thoughts.

    • The Weathershield may well adhere to the plastic but you can’t be certain. To be safe I would use the ESP first.

      The maximum exposure paint is a bit more flexible than the standard version but unless you have experienced problems previously I doubt you’ll see much benefit? Maybe, as a compromise, use it for the most most exposed elevation and use the standard stuff everywhere else?

  35. I want to paint some flat rocks for the first time. (They have never been painted before) I am going to use them as stepping stones in my walkway. What is the best to use on just plain rock that will endure the weather?

    • Ordinary masonry paint will protect them from the weather but if you are going to be stepping on them regularly it will wear away very quickly.
      A solvent based floor paint will last longer although you won’t get such a great choice in colour.

  36. Hi , why do I need to use an alkali resisting primer over all purpose polycell filler before painting with Dulux Weathershield. Thanks

  37. I have filled with exterior polyfilla the cement door arch I then painted it with masonry paint 2 weeks later the paint and polyfilla have washed off the area what should I do to fix this?

    • Could be any number of problems but (in the absence of any further details) I think the brand of filler is the obvious issue?

      Exterior Polyfilla has never been very good and I wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than a very minor repair. Toupret make a range of exterior fillers that perform a lot better.

  38. I want to paint the window sills of my Edwardian house. Originally the lintels over the window and the sills were all painted with normal oil based paint. The lintels are pretty much ok only minimal flaking but the sills are badly worn and flaky which I have sanded down as much as I can almost to the original concrete. I understand these will need ‘bonding’ before I repaint. My question is,do I then use oil based paints( undercoat and gloss) like the lintels, or do I use a Masonry paint like Dulux weathershield? And if so can I use this on the lintels?

    • It depends what kind of finish you want?

      For a traditional gloss finish as before you’ll need to prime areas where stone is exposed with an alkali-resisting primer such as Dulux Primer Sealer and then apply a coat of undercoat followed by one or 2 coats of oil based gloss.

      If the exposed areas are minor you could probably get away with using thinned undercoat as a spot primer – but only if it’s the odd patch here and there.

      A masonry paint will give a matt finish that will not shed water so easily and will need re-doing more often. Assuming you have rubbed down the existing surface sufficiently an all purpose primer such as Zinsser will provide a suitable bond.


    • You only need to apply a thin coat of masonry paint as a primer but the mortar joints will probably need more coats in order to get a uniform finish. This may mean you have to apply more coats than normal overall unless you want to redo the mortar joints only with a 1 inch brush.

  40. Hi I have a house in France which has 2 exterior walls covered in “crepi” which is a lime cement and sand render’
    The walls are in good condition but have weathered to a light grey colour so look a bit dull.
    My question is …….. I should like to buy a UK paint to take over to France, could you recommend a type of paint suitable to cover the crepi
    Also, would I need a primer?

    • I don’t know anything about French painting materials and pretending I do wouldn’t be helping anyone. There is plenty of advice available on the internet although, if it’s the same standard as in the UK, you should take most of it with a pinch of salt.

      Exterior finishes are formulated to suit the climate they’ll be used in so a UK brand paint will likely not be the answer.

  41. I have just had my driveway wall completed its block and has been plastered with a 5 mm scratch coat and a 5 mm top coat mostly smooth ,do i need to PVA the wall before i paint it and whats the best exterior paint to use where i wont have to paint it every year

    • You shouldn’t use PVA on an exterior wall, the subject has cropped up various times in the comments below.

      I have no idea what the best paint is. It’s a bit like asking what the best beer is, everyone has a different opinion. There are are different kinds of paint to suit different situations, as mentioned above but, for a driveway wall, a bog standard masonry paint will do just fine.

Comments are closed.