Painting Exterior Walls – a Simple Guide

Updated Jun 23, 2024 | Posted May 20, 2022 | Professional insight, Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Painting exterior walls, especially masonry, render, or brick, is something I do on a regular basis as a Professional Decorator. I thought I’d take the time to sit down and write a quick guide for anyone who is thinking about carrying out this type of work. I’ll keep it brief and simple.

First, I’ll list everything you need. I’ll then briefly outline each step you should take when painting exterior walls. Finally, I’ll go into further detail about some of the steps, and I’ll give you my product recommendations. I really hope you find this blog useful.


How to Paint an Exterior Wall



Scraper – Click here to see online prices. 

Paint brush – Click here to see online prices. 

A long-pile roller – Click here to see online prices. 

Paint Scuttle – Click here to see online prices.



Stabilising solution – Click here to see online prices. 

Masonry Paint – (see product recommendations further down).

Fungicidal wash – Click here to see online prices. 

Filler – Click here to see online prices.




Remove Loose Material

No matter how good your paint system is, if the existing paint system is failing, then so will the new. So, if your exterior wall is previously painted and is flaking, then you need to remove as much of it as possible.


Treat Algae

Algae growth needs to be treated before you apply any paint. Otherwise, it bleeds through your new paint and carries on growing. If you don’t see any green or red algae on your wall, then you can skip this step. If you do see algae, dilute the fungicidal wash with water, roll it onto the affected areas, and then leave it overnight.



Any crumbly or chalky masonry on your wall needs to be stabilised. Equally, if you have removed flaky paint, then you also need to stabilise, so the remaining paint doesn’t keep failing. If your exterior wall is already stable, then you can skip this step, however, some masonry paints require a primer.


Fill Imperfections

Use a good-quality cement-based filler to repair holes and cracks. You should then wait at least 24 hours before applying paint.



Apply two thick coats of masonry paint to your exterior wall. Allow plenty of time to dry between each coat.


Preparing an Exterior Wall for Painting


Ask any decorator and they will tell you that prep is the most important part of any job. This is especially true when painting exterior walls. To prep a job like this, you should first remove any loose or flaky paint with a good quality scraper.

Imperfections such as holes, cracks and contours can be filled using Toupret Masonry filler. On a smooth wall you can fill as normal, then sand down until smooth. On a textured wall, it is often better to blend the filler in when wet, using a paintbrush.

Chalky or unstable masonry on your wall should be primed using a good quality stabilising solution. The one I use is Zinsser Peel Stop, which is water-based, can be recoated after a couple of hours, and creates the perfect base. Click here to see online prices.

Moss and algae needs to be treated to stop it from coming back or bleeding through your finished paint. You can pick up a treatment online by clicking here, which you apply to the affected area a day before you’re due to paint the wall, then just allow it to dry.

Click here for a more detailed guide on how to prep an exterior wall.

painting an exterior wall
best way to paint a garden wall

Choosing Paint for an Exterior Wall


There are a few different things to think about when choosing the best paint for an exterior wall. I’ll give you the best options based on my experience and let you decide. A couple of things I would say, is breathability is important when it comes to masonry paint. You do not know if your render contains lime, which always needs to breathe. Plus, using a breathable paint helps to prevent trapping moisture inside your wall.


Emperor Paints

This is the best masonry paint on the market for a few reasons, but it isn’t cheap! Available online for over £25 per litre, Emperor Paint uses hydrophobic technology which makes it water repellent. So, not only will your exterior wall remain VERY waterproof, but dirt will not stick to it and the wall will look cleaner for longer.

There are other benefits too. It is breathable, and it is also heat retaining!! So, if you paint the walls on the outside of your home with this paint, you will save money on your heating.

There’s more; because of the technology in the paint, you are only going to need to paint your exterior walls every 25 years!! Full review here

Click here to see online prices. Use code DFUK at checkout for a little bit of discount.

Wethertex AP77

Available online by clicking here, this is the best of the standard trade masonry paint in my opinion. Very breathable, self-cleaning, easy to apply and looks great! It leaves a very flat finish, which is perfect because imperfections on your exterior wall will not be highlighted. This is a water-based paint, which does come with a few advantages, however it can allow stains to bleed through. Full review here


Oil-Based Masonry Paint

Oil, or pliolite-based masonry paint can be used in weather conditions which wouldn’t suit water-based paint. The other advantage is stains will not bleed through your paint finish (which can be a problem on garden walls and sandstone windowsills). My two favourite pliolite products are Johnstone’s Stormshield and Wethertex PP77.


Multi-Surface Paints

The beauty of multi-surface paint is they can be used on anything. Masonry, timber, and uPVC, to name a few. This means you can stick with one product for all your exterior decorating, rather than swapping around.

I do like multi-surface paints on certain jobs, but I tend to stick with masonry paints when I can. The best multi-surface paint I have used is Zinsser AllCaot.

best paint to use on an exterior wall
The best multi-surface paint to use when painting an exterior wall

Painting your Exterior Wall


Your prep is done, you’ve chosen your paint and now you’re ready to apply it. This part is quite self-explanatory really. Cover windows and doors before you start. Cover the floor with dust sheets. Then get set up.

I like to give my paint a mix before starting to ensure all the dye is evenly distributed within the material. I can also gauge the viscosity of the paint and decide whether to dilute it slightly to help ease of use.

Get yourself a stiff paintbrush and a long-piled roller. Cut in around the edge of your wall and then roll off the larger areas. Work on one section at a time to keep a wet edge. Don’t worry too much if you notice the odd imperfection. They often only show-up after your first coat when painting. Just allow the paint to dry, fill anything you’re not happy with, spot-prime, then apply your second coat.

Updated Jun 23, 2024 | Posted May 20, 2022 | 0 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.
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