18th Aug 2021

When you look to paint or refresh the external masonry on a house or building there are 2 things that will be achieved – the exterior will look revitalised and aesthetically pleasing, but also it will be protected from certain environmental elements.

Employing not only the correct equipment but also the correct technique when painting masonry will make the job easier and also a lot less time-consuming. Similar to painting wood or other surfaces; a lot of what makes a good finish is actually in the preparation. This guide will outline the main points of painting outside masonry.

Preparing masonry walls before painting

Preparation and planning before painting gives you the best chance at achieving the required finish. External surfaces are rarely ready to be painted straight away; uneven areas, cracks or holes are all likely to be present and need to be tackled and prepped before you start applying paint. You should look to remove any loose or flaking paint, starting with a wire brush and then wash down to clean grime and smaller dust particles left behind.


Before you start painting the outside masonry, you should fill any holes to the exterior using a good external filler. Take your time doing this so that you can ensure a good finish. It is worth noting that the filling used for any cracks and holes will usually shrink by the end of the preparation period. To compensate for this shrinkage, you will need to overfill the gaps with the materials.

Smoothing and sanding:

There are a couple of instances where you may need to sand back, for a good finish. If you have had to overfill and holes or cracks, it’s likely that you will need to sand the excess back to give a level and smooth surface. Similarly, if there are any small areas that have cracked, you may be able to sand these down to leave a smooth finish.

Start with the coarser grain sandpaper (80 – 180 grit) and if you find small areas that are cracking, you can simply sand them back. You can then use a finer grit to give a smoother finish and seal.


If you find there are any mould growths present, these should be treated with surface cleaners. Ensure the mould had been completely removed and the area dry and clean before considering painting.

Painting Masonry Walls

While not as devastating as getting paint on a clients carpet, there is still a need to protect the outdoor environment from any spillages – from patios to the lawn, they are all areas that would NOT benefit from a coat of paint!

Mask it

To stop any areas on the wall or section that you are painting from getting splattered (such as window frames or outside taps) you can use masking tape, just as you would indoors.

Sheet spreading

For the larger areas around your feet or to cover outdoor furniture, using a quality dust sheet is the best way to go. As you are outside, you would best use a heavy dust sheets, so stop it getting lifted by any breeze.

Once this is done and you’re happy that all important areas are protected, you can gather your tools and prepare your paint.

We advise when working on the walls, using a Prestige Wall and Masonry Swivel Head Brush. This brush is specially designed to be used on large surfaces and has a 0 to 90-degree head. Another great alternative would be the Performance Masonry Paint Brush, which is notably more comfortable to use on rough surfaces and will help give you a quality finish.

Prime time

If you are working on a wall that has never been painted before, you will have to thin down the first layer to make it work as a primer. Generally speaking, you can read through the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how much thinner you need to add to the paint.

Cut in then top to bottom

You should start painting the walls from top to bottom. Start by cutting in on the edges of the walls as you would indoors, before tackling the larger area. If the job and wall /  paintable area will allow you to use a roller, we advise trying the Perfection Extra Long Pile Roller – this picks up a lot of paint and will work well on a rougher surface.

For a fabulous finishing job, you should use at least two coats of paint. If the wall was previously painted, one layer masonry paint should suffice.


Painting the outside masonry is not a tough job or more complicated than indoor work – it’s generally in the preparation where you may have to work a little harder and spend a little more time. Ensure you select the right tools for the job as this often will determine the final quality of the job, so don’t cut corners for quick savings.

Finally, remember, you are outside, so keep checking back on areas that are wet in case you have attracted any insects – it’s easier to remove them on wet paint and re-touch than once dry!

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