Best Masonry Paint – Product Guide

Updated Jun 6, 2024 | Posted Sep 3, 2019 | Product Reviews, Paints | 5 comments

Choosing the best masonry paint for a particular job can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the different products on the market. I’m going to take you through a few of the mainstream choices and one very premium product, in the hope it will make things a little clearer.

I’m also going to talk a little bit about the best place to buy masonry paint. The most important thing you need to remember is to buy “trade”. Paint made for the retail market is of lesser quality than that of trade. Here is my guide to the best TRADE masonry paint. You can see related content on the Decorators Forum UK

Just a quick note I’d like to add, and it is going to sound silly to most people. You should never use masonry paint inside!! Even on masonry! It contains a fungicide which is needed for longevity in the British climate. This fungicide can be harmful to us if we are using the product in an area that isn’t properly ventilated.


The Best Premium Masonry Paint


Emperor Paint

Emperor Paint is genuinely the best masonry paint on the market, but it does come with a premium price tag. 10L of this paint will cost £125 including VAT and delivery, which is about three times the price of standard trade masonry paint. However, it’s on another level! We do have a coupon code. If you buy direct, you can use DFUK a the checkout for a small discount.

Available online, it uses Hydrophobic technology to make painted surface water-replant. It is also breathable, and even heat retaining! If you have rendered walls on the sides on your house and you paint it using Emperor Paint Masonry Paint, the walls are going to be around 6 degrees warmer than if you were to use regular masonry paint. So, your heating bills will come down. Oh, and it lasts for around twenty-five years before you need to re-paint!! Buying a “cheaper product” is false economy in my opinion.

Emperor Masonry Paint is also “self-cleaning”. This basically means that because it is water repellent, a dirty mark from say, a muddy football, is likely to be washed away in the next downpour. Leaving your home looking cleaner for longer.

From my point of view as a decorator, it is easy to apply, opacity is good, shows a lovely depth of colour and leaves a luxurious flat matt finish. (I told you it was on another level).

An easy 10/10. Nothing else comes close. Use code DFUK for a little bit of discount when ordering.

The Best Trade Masonry Paint Products

Wethertex AP77 Smooth Masonry Paint

Wethertex AP77 is the second-best masonry paint on this list, and easily the best standard trade masonry paint available in my opinion. What really makes this product stand-out is its breathability and self-cleaning qualities, meaning your painted surface is likely to last.

This is because, like Emperor Masonry Paint, it’s silicone-based rather than polymer.

The opacity and finish are great too. It will easily a achieve a strong colour change in two coats. This paint is incredibly good value for money and looks fantastic every time you use it.

9/10 from me! this is a paint I use all the time.

Dulux Trade Weathershield


Dulux Trade Weathershield masonry paint probably has the best opacity out of all the big three. It is nice and thick, easy to apply and does everything you’d expect. You can dilute this product quite a lot and still achieve a solid finish in two coats. It leaves a nice flat finish which is lovely.

Dulux Weathershield has a party trick – it is shower proof within 30 minutes, meaning there is less chance of a sudden downpour ruining your work. The re-coat time is 2 – 4 hours, but it completely depends on the conditions. You can get Weathershield masonry paint tinted into any of the colours in Dulux’s vast (and I mean vast) colour range.

Dulux Trade Weathershield masonry paint is good in most cases, but it isn’t as breathable as some of the other products on this list. You’re essentially wrapping your masonry in plastic, which means the paint can fail on certain surfaces. 7/10 for me.

Sandtex Trade High Cover


Sandtex Trade masonry paint is manufactured by Crown. It is very rich, creamy and satisfying to apply. The drying time of this product is more than that of its Dulux and Johnstone’s counterparts, however this is a positive on a hot day when you need to keep a “wet edge”. Opacity is good, 2 coats over previously painted and 3 over bare masonry. The sheen level is a little high. Only use this product when the weather is good, or you’ll have issues with drying. I once painted a chimney stack and the paint was still wet two days after I’d finished the job, so it’s no good for exterior decorating in winter.

I think its just a case of buying the correct brand for a particular job.

I do recommend Sandtex masonry paint, but I wouldn’t use it on large areas of flat masonry because the sheen level shows too many blemishes. It is fine on everything else and outstanding to spray.

Sandtex Trade masonry paint gets a 6/10. It is a good product, but I prefer the Dulux on most jobs.

The Best Oil-Based Masonry Paint


Oil-based masonry paints are a lot different to water-based versions. They’re designed to be used virtually all year round and unlike water-based, they also block out any nasty stains, but do not allow your stonework to breathe. All the big three have their own versions of oil-based masonry paint and they’re all pretty much the same. Just try and avoid getting it on your skin because it can be a nightmare to get off. Another tip is to dilute the paint slightly with white spirit to loosen it up.

You’ll find oil-based sticky and slower to apply, however the job will normally last longer. Garden walls should technically never be painted due to the absence of a damp membrane, but if you are going to paint a garden wall then oil-based masonry paint is the way to go.

Zinsser AllWeather Masonry Paint

Zinsser AllWeather is one the best oil-based masonry paint I have used (although I haven’t tried them all and I also like Wethertex PP77). Unlike similar products, Zinsser AllWeather is relatively easy to use. Opacity is fantastic; you can dilute it quite heavily and still achieve a colour change in two coats.

Adhesion is fantastic too, and the overall finish is spot on. It’s a low-sheen matt that hides blemishes well.

Best Place to Buy Masonry Paint


Ok, so you know the different products that are available and how they perform, but where is the best place to buy masonry paint? Well if you need a physical store, I’d recommend going directly to the source. So, go to a Dulux Decorating Centre for Dulux, Crown for Crown, Johnstone’s for…. Well you get the idea. It generally isn’t cheaper going direct unless you have a trade account with favourable rates, but what you will get is expert advice from highly trained staff who know the products inside and out.

If you know what you want, you may be better ordering online. The best trade website I know of is The Decorating Centre Online, where you can get most brands at reasonable prices. More times than not they are a lot cheaper than going directly to the manufacturer. Another plus point is you can see how much a product costs with the VAT before you order it. Oh, and you can get the colour from one brand mixed into another brand’s product. You can visit the The Decorating Centre Online by clicking here.

You need to go directly to Emperor Paints to buy that product. visit –




What is the longest lasting Masonry Paint?

The longest lasting masonry paint that we have found is Emperor. This paint is expensive, but it’s likely to last around 25 years before your masonry needs repainting. Moreover, it is self-cleaning, the colour will not fade, it’s breathable, and it’s hydrophobic (water repellent).

If you do go for Emperor and you buy direct, use “forum5” at the checkout for a little bit off.


Is Wickes masonry paint good?

Wicks is a retail brand, meaning it’s made from cheaper materials and sold to the masses. My advice would be to stick to trade products. That way your masonry will look good and last longer.


Does masonry paint need a primer?

Most masonry paint products do not require a primer. There is the odd exception, so it’s always worth checking the technical data sheet of the paint you’re using.

The only exception is when your masonry is chalky or unstable. In which case you should use an appropriate stabilising solution. My recommendation is Zinsser Peel Stop.

What do Other Decorators Think?

We used Emperor Paints Masonry paint on this job, simply because the previous coating was coming off in sheets, so we wanted to use something breathable.

Emperor Paints is a fantastic masonry paint. We know its expensive, but it’s quite an easy sell to our clients. This house is white and it’s next to a main road, so a self-cleaning paint gives it a good chance of staying dirt free for a few years.

The black was painted in Zinsser AllCoat Water-Based Satin. We did this because black masonry paints tend to mark easily. A satin trim paint is more likely to withstand scuffs.

the best masonry paint to avoid flaky paint

Sandtex and Johnstone’s are both good in terms of price, opacity and quickly for those “will it rain or won’t it rain” days? They do the job very well.

I have never used Finngard and probably never will at their price! It is hard to justify the price of paint to my customers sometimes.

Then there is Dulux Weathershield! This is one field where they come into their own. It’s opacity is amazing! You pay more for it, but it’s so worth it. especially when you have walls that are really dirty or been neglected in the past. It’s dries really nicely leaving this plastic type feel to it which you don’t get with the other two.

They’re all very good but I would always use Dulux masonry if I could, except if the client wants a F&B colour or something then I would use Johnstone’s.

James Miles

Professional Decorator

Johnstone’s Stormshield masonry paint, covers amazingly and shower proof 20 mins!! It is long lasting too.

Ben Morris

Professional Decorator

Sandtex and Little Greene masonry paints cover as well as each other, the only difference is the cost.

Ian Thompson

Professional Decorator

I’ve just completed a 4 bed bungalow in Tikkurila Finngard.

It is a bit pricey to be honest, but I was really I’m pressed with it.

Opacity was excellent!

Really nice off the brush for cutting in!

No issues what so ever

I comment on the durability obviously, but I did a scratch test in few places and all seems good

Nathan Broom

Professional Decorator

Tikkurila finngard opaque 👍

Mark Healy

Professional Decorator

Sandtex Trade masonry paint never fails for me. Tough as old boots and good coverage. Decent prices at Crown as well. Johnstone’s would be my alternative as have used that as well without any problems. Tikkurila isn’t easy to get round here, only online, so would just get what’s quickest to get from the local merchants.

Chris Yeomans

Professional Decorator

Standard make smooth masonry, ie water based, is all very much the same. Johnstone’s, Sandtex (which is crown I believe) and Dulux.

I have used Johnstone’s self-cleaning masonry once on a mossy section of wall to see if kept clean longer.

Generally, as a rule of thumb I only use water-based masonry on rough or pebble dash render.

Flat smooth render I always use pliolite based masonry.

Graham Porter

Professional Decorator


Emperor Paint is obviously the best. I know a lot of people snub at the price, but if you only need to paint every 25 years, then going for a “cheaper” alternative is false economy, surly!

Other than that, I’m not sure there’s much difference. They go on, cover masonry, last a few years, then you paint over them again.

I do like the Johnstone’s pliolite. It takes a little bit of time to apply, but it looks great once it’s on.

Mark Lloyd

Professional Decorator

The best trade masonry paint on the market is Dulux Weathershield in my honest opinion. The opacity is brilliant, it’s shower proof in half an hour and it dries nice and flat. You don’t need to look at anything else.

I’m a little bit surprised this blog doesn’t go into the differences in brands when it comes to pliolite based masonry paint. Some of the budget brands are terrible, whereas the Dulux All-Seasons or Sandtex 360 are amazing products.

Lee James

Professional Decorator

Updated Jun 6, 2024 | Posted Sep 3, 2019 | 5 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Kelvin Maxwell

    Wethertex is on a whole different level. Ok I sell all the brands but I listen to the decorators and they cannot get enough of a superb product, coverage is a different level

  2. Luke

    Thanks for the excellent article Mike, very helpful. Do you have any experience with Zinsser? I need black and Emperor don’t make it! Luke

  3. Kelz

    Thank you to everyone who has put advice on this site, but I am still not sure what the best paint to use for this particular job is.
    In the UK it is not very good weather at this time of year and it is only going to have one coat. The main reason is that it is for a 94 year old lady who has not got much money and only wants it tidying up as she will not be living there much longer. I am going to try and paint it all myself for her for free. (Ps I am a lady myself who is not in very good health, but going to try lol.)
    Approx 5 weeks ago the render at the front of some of the steps was hacked off and redone with a cement and fine sand mixture. The wall either side had the cracked/ unsound render removed and repaired with the same thing as above.
    The old existing parts still have the paint on them.
    I need to know which type of paint to use that can go over both surfaces at this time of year in one coat and be cheap, so please can you advise me.

  4. Paul Grice

    there is absolutely no proof whatsoever to say that the Emperor paint is more energy efficient then any other paint apart from the manufacture saying it does , and the energy agency they quote at no point says anything about it keeping your house any warmer than any other paint that keeps your walls dry and breathable. Dry wall is a warm wall wet wall is a cold wall its that simple . If it makes you feel better and you have money to burn then buy Emperor I will be buying Wethertex AP77

  5. andrew clarke

    TBH the claims about Emperor paint’s thermal qualities take some believing. I would want to see independent evidence. I imagine they may have checked the outside temperature of the wall after wetting it compared to an untreated wet wall. The resultant evaporation would cause cooling. It would be a hell of a stretch to say that will equate to a reduction in internal heating bills.


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