Is your property looking tired on the outside? Perhaps it's time to brighten the exterior of your home or repair any winter damage? You may even be ready for a change of style or colour to give a fresh new look to your home. Taking the time to paint your external walls will not only enhance the look, but also help it prevent against weather damage.
Exterior masonry paint comes in a wide range of colours and is developed to help protect against weathering. From neutral to bold, find the colour for your home.
When using a ladder, place the bottom quarter of its total height, away from the base of the house. Make sure it is on firm flat ground and not tilting left or right. If using and extension ladder, at least three rungs should be overlapping for stability.
Have someone holding the ladder and maintain a balanced centre of gravity (belt level) inside the rungs. Wear flat shoes or boots with grip.
Never lean over or reach out more than an arm's length away. If possible use scaffolding as this is much safer.
Step 1 - Clean the area
Use a medium to stiff bristled hand brush to remove any surface dirt and loose paint. Use a scraper to remove any loose masonry.
If the wall is very dirty wash the wall with household detergent and rinse well with water. Problem areas affected by mould, algae or climbers should be thoroughly cleaned and treated by a fungicidal wash. Always read the instructions of the product prior to use.
Step 2 - Repair Damage
To fill small cracks and holes, firstly make sure the damaged area is free from loose materials. Then apply the exterior filler or mortar using a knife and smooth off with a wet filling knife.
If the crack or damage is deeper than 10mm, you may have to build up the filler in layers, leaving each layer to dry before applications.
Rub down with medium grade sandpaper when dry.
Step 3 - Seal and prime
Seal and prime porous or powdery surfaces with a masonry primer using a small paint brush for edges and hard to reach areas. Use a medium or long pile roller for larger areas, this will create a stable surface for painting and make it easier to apply paint and make it go further.
Choosing masonry paints
These are great for a hardworking finish. It will also help mask imperfections in the masonry.
This gives a nice even finish. It can disguise minor blemishes and is easy to apply.
Pick up some tester pots and paint on to cardboard or plasterboard. This will give you an idea of how it will look. Don't forget - the colour will look different depending on the time of day and which way the wall is facing.
How to paint exterior walls
Painting the exterior of your home is all about timing, be sure you have several days of good weather to complete your project. Ensure you have all the correct tools from the start. A sturdy ladder is essential as you will be working at height, a specialist masonry brush to get into difficult areas and a masonry roller brush and extendable handle to cover large areas quickly. We would also advise using a paint kettle which will help you work with a manageable amount of paint and can be hung from the ladder.
Start by dividing each wall into manageable sections that you can finish in each session of painting- a good tip is to use features like windows and drainpipes as your boundaries.
Top tip - Stipple action
Painting heavily textured walls? Try holding your brush at 90 degrees and dabbing the bristles into the surface with a stippling action.
Wrap newspaper around the downpipes and hold it in place with tape. Start painting at the top of your house, and work your way downwards so the newly-painted surface doesn't get splashed. Push the brush carefully right behind the downpipes.
Use short horizontal or vertical strokes when you're painting. It's a good idea to apply a loaded brush to an unpainted area, and work your way back to a painted area.
Paint in the opposite direction to make sure the surface is completely covered. On rough surfaces, rotate the brush in all directions to ensure you've covered everything evenly. If you're using a roller, try to vary the angle of your strokes. Cut into the corners and obstructions in the same way as you would when painting interior walls.
Remaining paints, stains and oils should be stored or disposed of according to their individual instructions. Do not empty down drains.
Remove as much of the product from the brushes, rollers or paint pads before cleaning.
If you have used water-based paints, simply wash with water. Work a little soap into them, rinse them clean and leave them to dry.
If you have used oil or solvent-based paints or stains simply clean with a solvent such as white spirit.
How to replace a damaged brick
Old bricks can break down and rainwater can soak through to their inner face. If this happens, a damp patch will eventually appear on the plaster indoors. The same will happen if a brick gets cracked, it's much better to fix the problem before any damage is done.
Top tip - Seal out damp
Brick and masonry sealer forms a protective water repellent barrier that can help prevent damage by water and damp. It also allows the surface to breathe and moisture to escape. Remove any moss, lichen or loose mortar with a stiff brush before applying it and ensure the surface is completely dry.
Drill some 10mm holes into the mortar joints around the damaged brick.
Use a cold chisel, or bolster chisel and club hammer, to cut into the joints until the brick becomes loose.
Tap and wriggle the brick until you can remove it.
Scrape out the old mortar in the cavity with a trowel or bolster chisel, and brush away the dust.
Use a jointing tool to rake out any loose or flaking mortar from the surrounding joints.
Wet the surfaces of the cavity with an old paintbrush.
Spread mortar on the base and ends of the cavity with a trowel.
Wet the surface of the new brick and spread mortar on all sides.
Put the brick into the space and tap it with the trowel handle until it lines up with the other bricks. Then you'll need to re-point the surrounding brickwork.
When the mortar starts to harden, brush the surface of the bricks with a soft brush.