What is masonry paint and how is it used?
Our guide will help you understand where, when and how to use masonry paint
If you're looking to give the outside of your home a new lease of life, masonry paint is the obvious solution.
A couple of coats of masonry paint will make your external surfaces look cleaner and fresher, and also offer a layer of protection against dirt, pollution and weather. Read on to find out more about masonry paint, including its differences from standard paint and how and where to use it.
What is masonry paint and how does it differ from other paints?
Masonry paint is a type of paint that's specially formulated for external use, on surfaces like brick, stone and concrete.
One major difference between masonry paint and the emulsion paint you might typically use indoors are that masonry paint can better withstand outdoor weather conditions and act as a protective layer against damage caused by rain, hail, frost and ice, as well as discolouration from weather or pollution.
Also, the composition of masonry paint is designed to bond to the rough and uneven finish of many external services, whereas a standard emulsion is intended for use on a flat and smooth surface, such as a wall.
Some masonry paints come in two finishes - smooth is designed for relatively flat surfaces and textured for uneven or rough surfaces, but choosing between the two is really a matter of preference.
Most masonry paints are acrylic, which is relatively cheap, easy to use, and suitable for most properties. However, if you're lucky enough to live in a period property, acrylic paint may not be the right choice, as it can prevent water vapour from escaping your brickwork and ultimately lead to damp and its associated health and structural risks. In these cases, a more breathable silicate masonry paint is the better option.
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What materials are suitable for masonry paint?
Masonry paint is designed for use on external building materials, such as brickwork, stone, metal, concrete, cement, lime and pebbledash.
You can use masonry paint on wood, such as sheds, cladding and window and door frames. However, a specialised wood paint is to be preferred, as it will offer specialised protection to your wooden surfaces.
Does masonry paint need primer?
Normally, no. However, if you're planning on painting a material which is particularly chalky, like plaster, or prone to flaking or crumbling, a layer of of stabilising primer or stabilising solution is useful to 'set' the surface and give you a cleaner canvas for your masonry paint.
However, whether or not your external surfaces require a primer, you should make time to clean your surfaces before applying any product. Use a pressure washer on its low setting, a garden hose with a spray jet nozzle to remove dirt, dust, moss and mud. For a smaller surface, you could simply clean it off manually with a scrubbing brush soap and warm water. For stubborn marks or stains, scrub with a diluted bleach solution. Allow to dry completely before applying paint or product.
What time of year should you use masonry paint?
Painting external surfaces in the winter or during a rainy period is not advised. As the outside of your home is exposed to the elements, you want to be sure that it won't come into contact with rain or frost before it has a chance to dry, as a sudden downpour could spoil your finish.
Although some masonry paints are advertised is being showerproof in as little as 30 minutes, ideally you want at least 24 hours of dry weather to ensure your coat is completely set.
In addition, if you plan on using a powerwasher or hose to clean your surface, doing so in cold weather could cause the water to freeze once it hits the ground, turning the outside of your home into a dangerous ice rink.
However, painting during the hottest days of summer is also a potential risk - not only to your comfort while painting, but also as intense sunshine could prevent the paint from bonding properly to the surface.
Therefore, you should plan to apply masonry paint during dry weather, avoiding extremes of both cold and hot temperatures.