how to paint cinder block wall to look like stone 1

How To Paint A Cinder Block Wall To Look Like Stone?

Cinder blocks, with the unique old-fashioned appearance, have become quite popular in today’s construction. However, most people find the gray color of cinder blocks to be a sign of some cheap, dark materials with zero aesthetic values.

Of course, you can always make the wall livelier by painting it. As you might be wondering: “How to paint cinder block wall to look like stone?”, this article will show everything you need to make that dream come true. 

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Things you need to paint a cinder block wall

Here are some things you need to prepare before doing a little “makeup” on the wall: 

– Pressure washer

– Brick cleaner

– Primer

– Paintbrush (must be flat and wide, a 3-inch brush will work)

– Paint roller

– Latex paints of 4 colors. For these I would suggest the following colors: brown, gray, beige, and cream; since the mixtures of those colors with each other can make quite similar colors to a real stone wall.

After you have gathered all the things mentioned, let’s move on to the next part, which will explain the detailed steps of painting the cinder block wall. This process may take a few days but remember: Good things take time. 

3 Steps Of Painting Cinder Block Wall To Look Like Stone

Step 1: Clean the cinder block wall 

After a long time, you may notice that some powdery white stains are emerging on the cinder blocks’ surface. This is a phenomenon called efflorescence, which appears when the blocks are constantly put in a high moisture environment. 

You must remove those stains to make the block’s surface even, and easy to paint. Use the brick cleaner and add some water to scrub the wall, until the surface becomes smooth.

Next, wash the wall with the pressure washer to blow out all of the dust. You can also use a water sprayer or garden hose and scrub the wet wall with a brush. 

Tips: Do not use soap to clean the cinder block wall. It simply will not work as effectively as you wash dishes, and it will take a long time for the wall to dry itself. 

After washing, let the wall dry for 1 day before we carry out the next steps. Sunlight and wind can be a big help. 

Step 2: Priming

Before painting any walls, we must apply a coating of bonding primer first. For this cinder block wall, you should use acrylic-based primers, since it is durable, flexible, and easy to dry.

Use the paint roller to apply a coat of primer to the wall. First, you should paint along the 4 edges of the wall with a paintbrush. Then switch to the paint roller to paint the wall surface.

Tips: To paint the wall effectively, imagine it to consist of a bunch of 1-meter square areas, then paint each area thoroughly before moving to the next ones. 

Next, allow the primer to completely dry in 24 hours. Although some primers are said to be able to dry in 4-6 hours, the best is to leave it for an entire day, as we do not want to mess up after a lot of energy and money have been spent. 

Step 3: Painting 

You should measure the wall’s area to buy a reasonable amount of paint. It would be a wise choice to buy high-quality latex paint to make the wall surface durable. 

With the 4 different colors of paints, mix them to get the colors you like, as you will paint adjacent blocks with various colors to arouse the feeling that the wall looks like stone. 

Next, you use the paint roller to apply paint on each block of the wall. Try not to paint the space between blocks, as it creates a resemblance to the grout filling between 2 stone blocks. 

Move the roller gently and consistently in the vertical direction. Avoid overlapping rolls at any cost, as you do not want to see the color uneven on the overall surface. 

Finally, leave the wall dry for 24 hours. After that, you can enjoy your result – a lively wall that looks like stone. 

Read more: How to Paint Unfinished Garage Walls?


1. Is the concrete block the same as the cinder block?

There are quite a lot of differences between these 2 kinds of blocks. I will summarize some of the most noticeable signs to distinguish them: 

– A cinder block is made of concrete and cinder; a concrete block is made of steel, wood, or cement. 

– Concrete block is heavier than cinder block since it contains stone and sand. Therefore, cinder blocks cannot withstand high pressure.

– Although cinder block is cheaper than concrete block, it is not so durable and requires usual repairs, which is much more costly.

– Concrete blocks are used in almost every construction project. Meanwhile, the cinder block still has some distinctive, old-fashioned appearance that is suitable for someone who wants to bring new structures into their house. It is used for small projects such as a garden wall, outside kitchen, outdoor fireplace,…

Read more: Additional Tips To Paint The Exterior Of A House

2. How many kinds of primers and why should we use acrylic primers on cinder block walls?

Primer plays an important role in bonding the paint to the surface and preventing cracking. It comes in three different types: oil-based, latex, and shells. Based on the surface we need to paint, each type of primer can reveal its strengths.

– Oil-based primer is excellent at withstanding the temperature change and preventing stains. That makes it almost impossible to clean the dirt on the wall using this type of primer. It is recommended to be used on raw wood, patched walls, and stained surfaces. 

– Shellac primer is a pretty perfect type that can prevent stains and is easy to clean. It can be applied on many surfaces: metal, wood, plastic; but the drawbacks are its fumes are heavy and toxic, so unless you are a professional, do not use this type. 

– Latex (Acrylic) primer is water-based, which makes it easy to clean, no piece of paint cracking once it dries, and it can apply on various surfaces, including plaster, and masonry – which explains why it is suitable for cinder block walls. 

3. What paint do you use on the cinder block wall? 

Just like the primer, I suggest you use latex paint. Cinder blocks require durable paint to prevent cracking and falling into pieces of paint. Latex paint will provide the most optimal coverage and the smoothest appearance for rough cinder blocks.

4. Can I paint the wall with a paint roller on my own, even if I have never touched that thing?

Don’t worry, everyone must have their first time with something. Here is a good video showing needed techniques to paint with a roller:

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