If you have decided to have a go at painting your exterior pebbledash walls rather than render them  or outsource the work to someone else, then be prepared for some hard graft.  Any professional painter will tell you that pebbledash exteriors are tough surfaces to paint due to their heavily textured nature. The small sharp pieces of stone that jut out will require you to use a brush which can be time consuming and require a lot of patience!  Here is our guide to tackling exterior pebbledash walls.

Preparation is key

“It’s all in the preparation” is a phrase often heard within our trade and is particularly important if you are planning to paint an old wall.  Before you start to paint you should remove dirt, dust, grease, and any other debris that will have built up over time.  Wash the wall surface with water and detergent to get rid of the debris and any old flaking paint.  A power washer will help you enormously if you have one.  You can even use a scraper or wire brush if you still have quite a lot of old flaking bits of paint left after washing  – make sure you clear all the debris away from the area as you don’t want it all blown back onto the wall again.

Cover up your windows to help protect them from small bits of stone and debris that may come loose when cleaning (and from paint drips when you get to that stage) and lay plenty of dust sheets on the floor too – this will save you a ton of cleaning up time when you have finished the job.

Before you start painting

Before you crack open the paint, you will need to repair any areas of concern.  If you try to paint over existing cracks in your pebbledash you will see the cracks reappear once the paint has dried.  Water can seep behind the cracks and cause more cracks, or worse, damp inside your house.  Likewise, if you try to paint an area where the rendering has worn away, the area may completely crumble at the touch of the paintbrush.  Remember, masonry paint is not a filler, so you need to repair cracks with a good mortar mix and address hollow rendering.

You will also need to address any areas of concern, such as the height you will be working at.  If you live in a two-storey house (or taller) and you are not good with heights (or are very accident prone), you may want to duck out of your plan now and consider an alternative.

Once you have cleaned down the wall and repaired any damage, you will need to apply a primer.  If you are painting onto unpainted pebbledash, the first coat of paint you apply will be absorbed into the walls due the porous nature of the pebbledash.  This first coat will act as your primer.  Of course, this does mean you will have to paint another coat.  You may want to consider using a stabilising primer for sealing as pebbledash can be quite a chalky, porous material.

What should I use to paint a pebbledash wall?

Applying standard masonry paint with a masonry brush is perfect for the job as they are really wide paint brushes that will allow you to dab the paint onto the pebbledash easily, get into all the nooks and crannies, and apply an even covering of paint.  If the pebbledash is not too deep, you might be able to use a long pile roller.  Some people apply one coat with a brush and then another coat with a roller.  Ideally, we would recommend applying both coats with a brush as the paint will go on thicker and cover better.  You will need to apply at least two coats of paint to make sure all areas (particularly those between the stones) receive a good covering.

Top tip:

Keep your tub of paint away from the wall to ensure lose bits do not fall in and congeal together.  Pour some paint from the tub into a smaller tub and use a bit at a time.  This also helps reduce wastage if you accidentally spill any!

Safety and comfort

If you are not used to this type of work, the physical affects it can have on your body can be a little daunting, so take your time and don’t veer outside your comfort zone.  Working up a ladder is hard work and it is always a good idea to have someone working with you to support and look out for you.

Painting the exterior of your house is quite a big undertaking and dealing with pebbledash adds yet another dimension to contend with.  Allow plenty of time because you have to be meticulous to get good coverage and an even finish.  It will be tiring but, a well-done paint job of a pebbledash exterior can last between 10 and 15 years so it is well worth the time and effort.  If you decide to bring in the professionals for some help with external painting and repairs, don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We would love to help.

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