7th Dec 2022 -

When looking to paint exterior walls and surfaces, your paint will need to both look attractive and perform well within a variety of weather and temperature conditions. Masonry paint is designed for these purposes, giving strong and dependable painted surfaces for brick walls, concrete blocks, and more. In this guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll explore the uses and types of masonry paint, and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is Masonry Paint?

Masonry paints are designed for use on the exterior walls of a building. This means that they offer protection from the elements in addition to colour. While masonry refers to any structure built from individual pieces such as bricks or concrete blocks, masonry paint can be used on a variety of material surfaces, as we will cover in the next section.

Masonry paint will need to offer resistance from water, sunlight, wind, and fluctuations in temperature. It will also need to be breathable, which will allow moisture to escape from the walls of a building to the outer surface, avoiding issues with dampness and mould that can otherwise occur. Like other paints, masonry paint is available in a range of colours and finishes, with matt, satin, and gloss options available.

Outdoor wall being painted with a roller

Where is Masonry Paint Used?

Across a building, there are a variety of locations where masonry paint could be used.


The most popular masonry choice for houses in the UK, bricks are often left unpainted for exterior walls. However, there are a few reasons that people would paint them. Some want to give their house a unique look, which can involve painting certain walls or sections of walls. In cases where walls are damaged or at risk, masonry paint can obscure damage and offer some protection from the elements. Another reason to paint bricks is when sections of a wall have been replaced. Having a section of newer bricks in an older wall can give a property a jarring look, which masonry paint would also help hide.

Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks are also popular in masonry construction. They are not seen to be as attractive as bricks, and will therefore often be covered with a different material or painted. Masonry paints will perform well on concrete blocks.

Rendered Walls

Rendering is the process of covering the exterior walls of a building in a layer of render, essentially a type of mortar made of sand and cement. This is done to offer a great look, protect walls, or cover exterior wall insulation panels. Masonry paint is a nice choice for painting over rendered walls, offering durability and breathability.

Pebbledash Walls

Pebbledash is a type of rendering finish that was popular around 100 years ago but is rarely used today. It is produced by throwing rocks of varying sizes at a layer of wet render, giving an uneven and textured look to the wall. Masonry paint is the most popular option for pebbledash walls and can hide their look, which is important given their current unpopularity with many homeowners.

Interior Walls

Masonry paint can also be used for internal brick and block surfaces. It’s worth noting that masonry paint tends to release a higher level of chemicals during the drying process than interior paints, meaning that proper ventilation and safety equipment should be used when applying it. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are dangerous to health so it may be worth looking at paints designed for interior use.

Overhead view of a DIY paint brush with trendy green sample paint pots

What Types of Masonry Paint Are Sold in the UK?

The majority of masonry paints will be acrylic. This is a water-based paint that combines pigments with an acrylic polymer binder. You will typically choose between smooth masonry paint and textured masonry paint when buying, with other specialist options offering better water performance.

Smooth Masonry Paint

Smooth masonry paint will have a similar look to interior paints, with the added benefits of masonry paint, making it great for external areas. Smooth masonry paint will typically be used on larger surfaces and walls that are in good condition. It can also be used on textured walls such as pebbledash. This will usually be the default option and is the only option that can be sprayed.

Textured Masonry Paint

Textured masonry paint has a grittier feel, and can either be used to give a rougher finish to a smooth wall or to hide small imperfections within a surface. Rough textured paints boast slightly better weather performance than smooth options but will require more regular cleaning, as their surfaces will pick up dirt over time. These will sometimes be called heavy textured masonry paints.

Silicone Masonry Paint

A specialist masonry paint that is made from a silicone-based mix as opposed to acrylic. Silicone masonry paint is designed to offer a longer lifespan than regular acrylic options through improved durability, breathability, and waterproofing.

Waterproof Masonry Paint

All masonry paints will offer some level of water resistance, as they are intended for exterior use. However, some companies aim to offer better resistance, such as Emperor, who produces a range of waterproof masonry paints. While water resistance is important, what is crucial is that the paint is breathable, allowing moisture to move through from the masonry wall behind. If masonry paint is not breathable, you could face a range of serious issues.

Self-Cleaning Masonry Paint

Self-cleaning masonry paint is designed to avoid dirt sticking to walls, giving a surface that won’t need to be cleaned with water. Any dirt on the surface will be washed away with rain, meaning that less upkeep will be needed on the outside walls of a property.

One Coat Masonry Paint

Most masonry paints are likely to require at least two coats to reach suitable strength. However, there are one-coat options available from brands such as Weathertex. They normally still require an undercoat of primer.

Front door in a white painted facade of a small historic brick house with roses on the facade in the old town of Flensburg, Germany, selected focus

How to Apply Masonry Paint

While masonry paint offers great benefits, it will need to be installed correctly to achieve them. It can be applied with either paint brushes or rollers, which we’ll explain in this section, or via spraying, which we’ll explain in the next.

  • Clean: Before you paint any surface, be that brick or block, you’ll need to clean it, removing any debris and as much residual paint as you can. You should use a fungicidal wash to ensure that no mould or algae remains on your walls.
  • Prepare: You should get any equipment needed together, and lay out a protective tarp or sheet underneath the area you will be painting.
  • Prime: When painting masonry, using a primer will be necessary in most cases. Primer is a paint undercoat, that will bond with any surface, forming a smooth and adhesive surface upon which paint can be securely applied. Make sure to use a primer suited for the material that you will be painting, applying a single coat that will need to be left to dry for the time stated.
  • Painting: For precision and efficiency, you can use both a paintbrush and a roller, using the roller for larger surfaces and flat areas. For borders near elements, any fine detailing, or particularly uneven areas, using a paintbrush can allow you to get the coverage needed. The number of coats required will vary depending on the paint you’re using, but will typically be 2.

How to Spray Masonry Paint

Opting to spray masonry paint can save a tremendous amount of time and can help to offer even coverage across complex textures like pebbledash. You’ll be able to use an airless spray machine, which can be rented for DIY applications.

  • Prepare: Like traditional painting methods you’ll be looking to clean and prime your walls. You’ll also want to tape up any borders or surfaces nearby, to avoid getting paint on them. You should do this before priming. When spraying paint you will be limited to smooth masonry paint, as textured paint can cause issues with clogging.
  • Painting: Spray machines will each have their own set-up method, but in practice, the technique for achieving a uniform finish should remain similar. You should continually have the sprayer moving while painting, holding it around 30cm from your wall at a straight angle.
construction worker painting old brick wall in white color with paint sprayer

F.A.Q. About Masonry Paint

Masonry Paint Supplied Across the UK

Whatever building supplies you are looking for, in masonry paint and beyond, Building Materials Nationwide aims to remove all hassle from sourcing, delivering you the products you need at a great price. When you sign up for a trade account through our website, you’ll gain access to a dedicated account manager, who can source you what you need through our network of suppliers. Trade account holders qualify for express delivery options and trade pricing, along with up to 30 days of interest-free credit. Sign up for a trade account now or send us your queries using the below contact form.

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