Both oil-based and water-based masonry paints have a place in the market, and it is just a case of choosing the best option for a particular job. They’re very different products, which I can explain in very general terms quite easily (there will be variations between brands). Just make sure you stick with trade rather than retail.
Water-Based Masonry Paint
Water-based masonry paint is the choice you would go with more times than not. It is easier to use, easier clean up, more breathable and better for the environment than it’s oil-based counterpart. You can dilute the paint, or clean your tools using clean water. Moreover, water-based masonry paint is cheaper and will last just as long.
Water-based masonry paint is also a lot quicker and easier to use. This makes it ideal if you’re rolling large areas of masonry such as render. You’ll find it just flies on.
Oil-Based Masonry Paint
Oil-based masonry paint is mainly made up of pliolite which is a synthetic rubber, but why on Earth would anyone use oil-based masonry paint if the water-based version is so good? Well, you’ve got to think of it as the problem-solving alternative. I’ll give you a couple of examples.
First off, you can use oil-based masonry paint in adverse weather conditions. Not to the point where you’re painting in the rain, but it’s shower proof in 30 minutes, dry in an hour and you can use it in much cooler conditions. This means you can use oil-based masonry paint all year round, whereas water-based relies on evaporation to dry, making it problematic to use in winter.
Another quality of oil-based is it’s stain blocking capabilities. Technically, you shouldn’t paint a garden wall anyway because they don’t generally contain damp membranes. That said, if you do paint a garden wall using water-based paint, it’s likely you’ll get brown water marks bleeding through your finish. Paint it with an oil-based paint and it’ll look great for a couple of years at least.
Stains do come through on other structures too, particularly when painting sandstone. I thought I’d give you the garden wall scenario because it is an extreme example.
As a decorator, I will use water-based masonry paint for about 80% of my exterior work. I find it much easier to use, there isn’t a drop off in performance, and it’s cheaper. I think most tradesmen agree with me, especially when coating rendered walls.
Oil-based masonry paint is used for exterior painting in winter, garden walls, and sandstone windowsills.
One more note; Do not be tempted to use either of these products inside your home. Masonry paints contain high levels of fungicide, which can be harmful if used in confined spaces.
The Best Masonry Paint
I thought I’d include a little section on the best masonry paint options. Whether you’re going for water-based, or oil – based, it’s important you buy quality. Good masonry paint will always look better for longer. If you buy retail, you’ll end up redecorating after a couple of years.
Johnstone’s Pliolite-Based Masonry Paint
I’ll start with an oil-based option. My absolute favourite is a product called Wethertex PP77, but I thought I’d talk about Johnstone’s because not only is it a good product, but if you buy it online, you can have it mixed into any colour from any brand. Opacity is good, as is the overall finish. Click here to see online prices.
This is by far the best water-based option on the market, although it is also very expensive. Emperor Masonry Paint looks great and is easy to apply, but what really makes this masonry paint stand out is its heat retention and the longevity. Paint the outside of your house with Emperor masonry paint and it acts as an insulation to keep your home warm. It also has hydrophobic technology to keep your masonry dry, it’s self-cleaning, and is likely to last a good 25 years!! Click here to see online prices. Use code Forum5 at the checkout for your discount.
Oil-Based or Water-Based Masonry Paint – Which to Use and When – by Mike Cupit