concrete walls painted purple

Painting outdoor concrete walls

Painting concrete and masonry is extremely tedious work, but the payoff is so worth it. I decided to paint my backyard walls as the next step in my modern backyard makeover. It was the only way to unify the look of three different cinderblock walls and the side of my neighbor’s garage.

I learned a few things in the process, with the main one being you need way more paint than you think.

With that in mind, the first thing to do is figure out the square footage of the walls to be painted. The formula is: Length x Height = Square Feet. Or you can just plug the numbers into this handy square footage calculator.

Tip for choosing a paint color

Paint swatches on cinderblock wall

Paint swatches on cinderblock wall

Before buying paint, bring home paint chips, several in each color. Cut them apart and combine the small swatches to make one larger swatch. Tape them to your outside wall and look at them during different times of the day.

Colors look so different depending on the amount of light. Usually you need a more intense color that won’t get washed out in the bright sunlight.

How much paint to buy

I went to the hardware store to get Kilz2 primer and Behr Premium Plus exterior flat paint. Coverage for Kilz2 primer is listed as 300 to 400 square feet per gallon, and coverage for Behr is 250 to 400 square feet. So I bought what I thought was enough to do the job and ended up having to go back a couple more times to buy more. It turned out the actual coverage was about 89 square feet per gallon. BIIIIG difference!

My cinderblock walls had never been painted before and their texture is extremely rough which is probably the worst case scenario in terms of coverage.

And here’s what else I learned.

Supplies needed for painting concrete

Besides paint, you also need a brush, tray, roller with a long nap (¾”), a long handle for the roller, cardboard or tarp to mask off the ground.

How to paint concrete and masonry

Step 1: Clean the surface

Either power wash or use the hose to wash down the walls. Let dry overnight.

Step 2: Apply primer

Primer applied to cinderblock walls (not garage)

Primer applied to cinderblock walls (not garage)

I believe this step is necessary for walls that have never been painted before. I used Kilz2 primer. I also used a large piece of cardboard to keep paint from splattering all over the ground.

One thing I noticed when painting is that I had to press really hard to try and get the paint down into all the nooks and crannies.

Step 3: Apply paint

Painting on top of primer coat

Painting on top of primer coat

The next day after the primer is dry you can apply the paint. Again, I used Behr Premium Plus.

Step 4: Touch up or add a second coat

The following day, go around looking for spots you missed, and there will be a few.

Step 5: Bask in the glory of your newly painted concrete walls

And treat yourself to a well-deserved glass of wine!

Check out the before and after

Here’s the before:

Before painting concrete walls

Before painting concrete walls

And here’s the after:

Concrete walls after painting

Concrete walls after painting

Soooo much better! Now I have a nice background to work with.

More projects and tutorials to follow as the backyard makeover continues.

Purple: Love it? Hate it?

Let me know what you think about this paint color. Would you dare to be this bold?

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