Best stabilising solution for Masonry

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 22, 2022 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 4 comments

As a professional decorator with over 20 years’ experience, self-proclaimed decorating geek, and seasoned reviewer for the Decorators Forum UK, I’m used to putting comparison blogs together and comparing 4 or 6 preferred products for a specific task. These blogs could be anything from the best ceiling paint to the best water-based gloss products.

Things are a little bit different when talking about the best stabilising solution for masonry, because there’s only really one stand-out candidate for me. A lot of decorators I know still use oil-based stabilising solutions, but these come with loads of drawbacks. Not least the smell, drying time, adhesion, and overall performance. I just don’t understand it. The product I use, and have done for several years, is Zinsser Peel Stop.


What is Stabilising Solution and Where Would You Use it?


Stabilising solution is a very viscous liquid used on crumbly or chalky masonry before painting. The idea is simple, it penetrates deep into the surface and binds any loose material together, creating a sound base.

The other thing it does is slow down the weathering process and protect the stone underneath. Corrosion is a natural process for rock, but it isn’t ideal on your sandstone windowsills or rendered walls. Your masonry may have already started to break down, but stabilising solution will reverse the process (to a point).

Some people wrongly assume that stabilising solution should be used anytime you paint masonry, but that isn’t the case. Masonry paint such as Wethertex AP77, Dulux Weathershield, and most others are self-priming, meaning they bind to stone without the need for an additional product.


The advantages of Using Zinsser Peel Stop as a Stabilising Solution

Best stabilising solution for Masonry
The advantages of Using Zinsser Peel Stop as a Stabilising Solution

Available online by clicking here, or any good trade decorating centre, Zinsser Peel Stop is a water-based product that is touch dry in around half an hour and can be painted over after a couple of hours.

It’s very viscous, so expect to it penetrate deep into any porous surface. I find it penetrates much deeper than its oil-based counterpart. It even seeps underneath the edges of any flaking paint and ensures they’re stuck down!! So, not only is your loose, crumbly masonry more stable, but so is your existing paint!!

You’ll find it very easy to apply and extremely easy to clean off your skin and tools once finished. One more advantage of using Peel Stop as a stabilising solution on masonry is it seems to fill surface imperfections. I use it a lot when fixing peeling masonry paint, not only for its stabilising qualities, but also because it helps to hide the edges of the existing paint.

In my honest opinion, Zinsser Peel Stop is the only stabilising solution you need to consider for exterior masonry. It’s so easy to use and performs better than anything else out there. If there is a better product, I certainly haven’t used it yet. Click here for more info and to see current prices.

The Best Stabilising Solution

A quick demo by Mike Cupit on the benefits of using Zinsser Peel Stop to stabilise exterior masonry before painting.

Best Paintbrush and Roller to use When Applying Stabilising Solution


I thought it would be helpful if I included a section on the best tools to use for this type of material. Regardless of whether you take my advice and opt for Zinsser Peel Stop as your stabilising solution, or one of the other options, your material is going to be very thin. Therefore, you need a brush and/or roller that can handle it.

Your paint roller needs to be long pile to hold onto the stabilising solution and spread it over an uneven surface. You won’t find better than the Purdy Colossus, which is thick and dense, so it’s perfect. Available online by clicking here.

The paintbrush doesn’t matter as much as the roller. However, something with a thick stock and long bristles will make life easier. The Purdy Monarch Elite will do brilliantly. Available online by clicking here.

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 22, 2022 | 4 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. Phil

    Good call Mike. I used to be “stuck on” the oil based stabiliser too. Granocryl used to be my favourite but they changed the viscosity of it so it was too gloopy and wouldn’t penetrate. Dulux oil based stabiliser is too pricey and can end up being the difference between getting a job and losing it. That’s when I turned to Peel Stop and I have to say I’ll never go back. It can also be used indoors aswell because of its low odour so I always make sure I have at least a gallon on the van.

  2. Glenn Munn and son Ltd decorators

    Agree that the peel stop is fantastic but I find the Johnstone wb stabilising solution for masonry . does the same job. Drying time quick and never had any problems with it

  3. Amanda

    My house is made pf sandstone bricks and literally flakes like sand when rubbed will this work as a primer before we paint please?

    • Mike Cupit

      yes, it’s the perfect primer for something like that


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