Breeze blocks are versatile construction materials, but they are incredibly porous. If your walls are made with these blocks, you might wonder how to prevent them from absorbing paint.
Proper surface preparation and priming are key secrets to painting a breeze block wall. Choosing the right paint type is also essential. For interior walls, using paint mist rather than a specific primer could improve the end results. On exterior walls, masonry paint is usually the best choice.
How To Paint A Breeze Block Wall
Painting a breeze block wall isn’t different from painting plasterboard. However, due to differences in material porosity, you’ll have to pay extra attention during surface preparation and priming.
1. Gather the Necessary Tools
Like any paint job, painting a breeze block wall starts with gathering the necessary tools and materials. For this task, you’ll need:
- Wire brush
- Broom or vacuum cleaner
- Muriatic acid (optional)
- Protective gloves
- Safety goggles
- Masonry primer (optional)
- Paint roller and brushes
- Masonry or interior paint
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloth or plastic sheeting
- Paint tray
- Ladder (if necessary)
2. Prepare the Surface
One of the most difficult tasks when painting breeze blocks is removing all dust and debris that could be embedded in the material’s pores. Paying careful attention during this step is crucial, as primer and paint may not adhere to a dirty surface.
If the paint products adhere, the bond might remain weak. This typically means flaking or peeling of the paint, situations that would call for repainting.
Start by cleaning the wall to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. Use a wire brush to scrub off any loose or flaking paint (if the surface has been painted already), mould, or efflorescence (white, powdery deposits). Sweep or, ideally, vacuum the area to remove any remaining dust.
If the wall is especially dirty or has significant efflorescence, you may need to clean it using a muriatic acid solution.
Mix the muriatic acid and water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically a 10:1 water-to-acid ratio.
Make sure to wear protective gloves and safety goggles. Apply the solution to the wall with a stiff-bristle brush, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly with water. Allow the wall to dry completely before proceeding.
Once the wall is clean, cover the ground and any nearby objects with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect them from splashes. Use painter’s tape to mask off any areas you don’t want to paint, such as windows, doors, or trim.
3. Prime the Breeze Block Wall
Priming is a crucial step when painting any wall, but especially so in the case of porous materials. The exact priming procedure differs depending on the wall type (interior or exterior).
For an exterior wall, apply a high-quality masonry primer to the breeze block wall using a paint roller or brush.
The primer will help create a uniform surface, improve paint adhesion, and minimise the number of paint coats required. Allow the primer to dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions, usually between 2 to 4 hours.
For an interior wall, applying a mist coat is generally recommended. A mist coat is basically watered down interior paint. The liquid product gets absorbed into the surface and acts as a sealer, creating a solid base for the subsequent coats of paint.
However, bonding is stronger between regular and watered down paint compared to paint and primer, reducing the risk of flaking. Using a mist coat can also make painting easier, as the priming material will have the same colour as the paint. Allow the mist coat to dry for 2 to 4 hours.
4. Apply the First Coat
Painting the breeze block wall once you’ve primed it is fairly simple. Use masonry paint for exterior walls and your preferred kind of interior paint for interior breeze block walls.
Using a paint roller, apply the first coat of paint to the wall, working in sections and using a “W” or “M” pattern. This will help ensure even coverage.
Use a brush to cut in around edges, corners, and any other tight spots. Allow the paint to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually around 2 to 4 hours for water-based emulsions or 6 to 8 hours for most oil-based paints.
5. Apply Additional Coats
Depending on the colour and texture of the paint, you may need to apply additional coats to achieve a consistent finish. Follow the instructions above and allow each coat to dry before applying the next one.
When you’re done, remove the painter’s tape while the paint is still fresh and dispose of the drop cloths or plastic sheeting.
Clean your brushes, rollers, and paint tray with soap and water (for water-based paint) or paint thinner (for oil-based paint). Store any leftover paint in a cool, dry place for future touch-ups.
Once the paint has dried completely, inspect your work to ensure a smooth, even finish. If you spot any issues, you can always touch them up with a small brush. Finally, step back and admire your freshly painted breeze block wall!
Breeze Block Wall Painting Tips
Painting a breeze block wall is similar to painting any other wall. However, these tips can make your job easier and improve the results.
Choose the Right Paint
For exterior walls, opt for high-quality masonry paint that is specifically designed for use on breeze block walls and other concrete surfaces. Masonry paint is more durable and resistant to moisture, cracking, and peeling compared to regular paint.
You can use any type of interior paint on interior breeze block walls. However, matt paint is typically the best choice as the concrete imperfections will become less visible.
Consider the Weather
Painting in favourable weather conditions will help ensure the best results. Aim to paint on a dry day with moderate temperatures (between 10°C and 25°C) and low humidity. Avoid painting in direct sunlight, as this can cause the paint to dry too quickly and lead to an uneven finish.
Take Your Time with Surface Preparation
Properly preparing the wall is crucial for a successful paint job. Thoroughly clean the wall, removing all dirt, dust, and debris, as well as any loose or flaking paint. If necessary, use a muriatic acid solution to remove stubborn stains or efflorescence.
Seal Any Cracks or Holes
Before priming, inspect the breeze block wall for any cracks, holes, or other damage. Repair these imperfections using a suitable masonry filler or caulk, and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Don’t Skip Priming (Even if You’re Repainting)
Applying a masonry primer will create a uniform surface for the paint to adhere to and help minimise the number of paint coats required. A primer will also help seal the porous surface of the breeze block, reducing the amount of paint absorbed by the wall.
Use the Right Tools
Invest in good-quality paint rollers and brushes specifically designed for use with masonry paint. A roller with a long nap (around ¾-inch to 1-inch) is ideal for textured breeze block walls, as it can reach into the crevices for better coverage.
Plan Your Approach
Start painting from one top corner of the wall and work your way down. This will help prevent drips and runs from ruining your freshly painted surface. Paint in small sections using a “W” or “M” pattern for even coverage.
Apply Multiple Thin Coats
Applying multiple thin coats of paint will yield a more durable and even finish than a single thick coat. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one, as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Maintain a Wet Edge
To avoid visible lap marks, always maintain a wet edge by overlapping each new stroke with the previous one. This will help ensure a seamless finish.
Clean Up and Touch-Up
Promptly remove any accidental paint splatters or drips with a damp cloth or sponge. Keep some leftover paint handy for future touch-ups, as breeze block walls can be prone to scuffs and marks over time.
Do I need to paint a breeze block wall?
While painting a breeze block wall is not mandatory, doing so can significantly improve its appearance, protect it from weather elements, and prolong its lifespan. A well-painted wall can also enhance the overall look of your property.
How many coats of paint do I need for a breeze block wall?
The number of coats needed depends on the type and colour of the paint, as well as the wall’s condition. Generally, two to three coats are required to achieve a consistent and even finish. Be sure to let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next one.
Can I use a paint sprayer to paint a breeze block wall?
Yes, you can use a paint sprayer to paint a breeze block wall. In fact, a paint sprayer can help achieve even coverage and save time, especially on larger walls. However, be prepared for more paint wastage and take necessary precautions to avoid overspray.
How to clean a painted breeze block wall?
To clean a painted breeze block wall, use a soft-bristle brush or sponge and a mild detergent solution. Gently scrub the surface to remove dirt and stains, then rinse it thoroughly with water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools, as they can damage the paint and the wall’s surface.
Painting a breeze block wall is a simple DIY project, as long as you’re using the right paint and painting technique. Since the material is porous, priming the surface with a good masonry primer or mist coat can ensure your project’s success.