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The Best Masonry Paint - The Ultimate Guide

What is the best masonry paint is an often debated question. In this guide, we are going to try and give you a comprehensive guide to masonry paint and put you in a position to make the best informed decision regarding your what paint is best for you when painting an outside wall.

Best Masonry Paint

What Is Masonry Paint?

Well, firstly lets tackle the issue of what is masonry paint? Masonry paints are mostly acrylic based paints for exterior walls. Masonry paint is a versatile formulation as it is required on a range of substrates, including brick & concrete.

Masonry paint comes in two forms; smooth masonry paint & textured masonry paint. The more traditional type, textured masonry paint offers the ability to cover any blemishes or cracks. The most common choice of masonry paint these days is a smooth masonry paint, which is easier to apply & gives a modern finish to your exterior walls.

Things To Consider When Buying Masonry Paint

There are a number of considerations to make when deciding on what is the best masonry paint for the job. Durability, water-resistance & finish are all key factors to bear in mind. If you are looking for a smooth masonry paint, then there are some fantastic choices of masonry paint available.

Which Masonry Paint Is Best?

The longevity of masonry paint & it's weatherproof abilities go hand in hand. A common cause of failure of masonry paint is the presence of moisture. When the moisture gets behind the paint, it causes peeling & cracking of the paintwork, which will need to be rectified. This is why many masonry paints offer waterproofing abilities to prevent this issue and extend the lifespan of the painted masonry.

Waterproof masonry paints create a water repellent surface on masonry that does not allow moisture to soak into the brickwork. However, while waterproofing the surface, many waterproof exterior paints seal the surface of the walls completely, not allowing water vapour from the outside of the structure to escape. This leads to a build up of moisture within the property, causing damp.

When using a waterproof masonry paint, it is crucial that this masonry paint is highly breathable. This breathability is what allows moisture to escape from inside the property. The breathability of a paint is measured in an SD value. To be considered breathable, a masonry paint should have an SD value of 1 or lower. If a material does not have an SD value of 1 or lower, this will not sufficiently allow water vapour to easily pass through the material. Read more about breathable masonry paint.

The Best Masonry Paint - Emperor Masonry Paint

So what is the best waterproof paint that is also highly breathable? Well, at Painters World we stock Emperor Paint & Tikkurila Finngard, which are the most advanced masonry paints available today in the UK.

These products use the latest nano-technology to create a super hydrophobic (water repellent) surface on exterior brick, concrete & more. The silicone-based formulation ultimately allows the masonry to breath and expel moisture from inside a property, while repelling any moisture that may otherwise have been absorbed by the exterior wall.

Both products have an SD value of 0.60, while an untreated wall had an SD value of 0.57, as shown in Emperor's independent testing. This means that while being water repellent, these systems remains almost completely breathable.

But why else is Emperor Paint the best masonry paint? Well, thanks to this combination of waterproofing & breathability, Emperor Paint has been proven to withstand harsh weathering for 25 years or longer.

This was also demonstrated in their independent testing. A wall treated with Emperor Paint showed no signs of deterioration in performance or appearance after a 25 year test. As there was no signs of failure at all, Emperor Paint offer a lifetime guarantee on their masonry paint.

If you are looking for a smooth textured masonry paint that is waterproof & highly breathable, Emperor Paint is the best option to go for. We would particularly recommend Emperor Masonry Paint as the best masonry paint for coastal areas. The high moisture conditions mean that the water repellency & breathability of Emperor Masonry Paint is the perfect choice.

Emperor Masonry Paint comes in 12 standard colours but can also be mixed in a range of light and pastel shades upon request.


  • Super hydrophobic
  • Highly breathable
  • Proven to keep painted walls up to 6°C warmer on average
  • Has a fantastic coverage rate
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Prevents penetrating damp


  • Available in 12 standard colours (please see Tikkurila Finngard silicone masonry which comes in full colour range)
  • Is more expensive than other masonry paints on the market

Alternative Options

While standard masonry paint do not offer the durability, self-cleaning properties or heat retention of waterproof masonry paints, there are still some fantastic options to choose from. We would advise using a standard masonry paint if you are on a budget, need a particular colour or simply want to regularly update the colour of an exterior wall, in which case a masonry paint such as Emperor Paint is not the best option for you. Here are our experts choices for the best standard masonry paints.

Armstead Masonry Paint

A very popular choice amongst professional decorators, Armstead Masonry Paint is a fantastic all-round masonry paint. While it does not offer the weather protection of a waterproof masonry paint like Emperor Masonry Paint, it offers great value for money. Not only does it have a 15 year lifespan, but it can be mixed in any colour you want with the paint mixing service we offer here at Painters World. This means that you can get creative & transform your home exactly how you want, whether using a modern Anthracite Grey or a striking pink!


  • Shower resistant
  • 15 year lifespan
  • Can be mixed in any colour
  • Cheaper than other masonry paints


  • Does not offer waterproof weather protection
  • Is not as high quality as alternatives in terms of finish & opacity

Dulux Weathershield

Made by the same manufacturer's as Armstead, Dulux Weathershield is a similar quality to Armstead Masonry Paint and is almost exactly the same price! It also shares shower resistance & a 15 year performance with Armstead Masonry Paint. Where the two differ is with the colour options, as Dulux Weathershield comes in a range of popular pre-made colours like Concrete Grey & Classic Cream. If one of these shades is exactly what you are going for then we would recommend Dulux Weathershield over Armstead Masonry Paint as many professional decorators find Weathershield to be slightly higher quality than Armstead, although it is not a significant difference.

Overall, Dulux Weathershield is a good all-round option, which is why it is the best known masonry paint on the market. Bear in mind however that just with Armstead Masonry Paint, it is not waterproof which may be a significant factor for you!


  • Shower resistant
  • 15 year lifespan
  • Available in a range of popular colours
  • Cheaper than other masonry paints


  • Does not offer waterproof weather protection
  • Is not as high quality as alternatives
  • Cannot be mixed in any colour

Armstead Pliolite Masonry Paint

Here is the first oil-based masonry paint on our list! Pliolite masonry paints are much more tolerant to showery or cold weather during application than traditional water-based exterior masonry paint. This makes them the perfect choice of masonry paint if you are need to paint your exterior walls in cold or wet temperatures. As with any oil-based paint, it can be more difficult to work with than a standard water-based paint, especially for the DIY'er, but is a great choice of masonry paint nonetheless.


  • Can be applied all year round
  • 15 year lifespan
  • Can be tinted to any colour
  • Resistance to alkali attack


  • Does not offer waterproof weather protection
  • Is more expensive than it's water-based version
  • Can be more difficult to work with compared to water-based masonry paint

Sandtex High Cover Masonry Paint

The final entry on our list of the best masonry paints is from one of the most recognisable brands of masonry paints in the UK. Sandtex Trade High Cover Smooth Masonry is an inexpensive masonry paint that is available in a pre-made exterior colours. Like many of the masonry paints we have mentioned on this list it has a 15 year lifespan and has an excellent opacity, as the name would suggest.

Again, it does not offer weather resistance, but that does not mean it isn't the best masonry paint for you. If you are looking for a cheap masonry paint to give an exterior wall a quick refresh then this is an excellent option. If you want a long-term weather protection masonry paint then this isn't the one for you!


  • Excellent opacity
  • 15 year lifespan
  • Is one of the cheapest trade masonry paints available


  • Does not offer waterproof weather protection
  • Only available in pre-made colours

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the best masonry paint for pebbledash?

A. Any masonry paint can be applied to pebbledash and other rough exterior surfaces. The key to painting pebbledash is to use either a masonry brush or a long-pile roller in order to allow you to paint in and amongst all of the gaps that any standard roller would miss.

Q. How many coats of masonry paint do I need?

A. Masonry paints are more often than not two-coat systems. Some masonry paints such as Emperor Masonry Paint appear to cover extremely well on the first-coat which leads to some people believing that this is fine. Unlike interior emulsions, exterior paints most often designed for multiple coats in order to provide full weather protection. It is essential that you read the manufacturer's instructions before painting in order to establish exactly how it is recommended you apply the masonry paint.

Q. How much masonry paint will I need?

A. This entirely depends on what masonry paint you are using and how large the space you are painting is. A standard mid terrace is roughly 40 sqm, with a standard masonry paint having a coverage of 10 sqm per litre. This would mean that you would require 8L to cover this area, with two-coats required.

Q. Is masonry paint water-based?

A. The majority of masonry paints are indeed water-based as they are easier to use, easier clean up, contain less VOC's and are generally just as high quality as their oil-based alternatives. A form of oil-based masonry paint is Pliolite, which is often chosen instead of a water-based solution as it can be applied in any weather conditions.

Q. Can you get black masonry paint?

A. Yes, you can get masonry paint in black, which is a very popular choice especially for garden walls. You can find a range of black masonry paint here at Painters World.

Q. Where can I buy masonry paint?

A. We have a wide range of masonry paints that are available here at Painters World with free next working day delivery on all orders over £50. Whether you are looking for a waterproof masonry paint, a pliolite masonry paint or a masonry paint that can be mixed in any colour, we have what you are looking for.

We hope this has answered any questions you may have had regarding what the best masonry paint is. If you require any more help, just send an email to and our expert team will be on hand to give you any advice you require. At Painters World we have a wide range of paints available, so no matter the job, we've got the right tools for you. Shop our full masonry paint range today & get FREE next working day delivery on all orders over £50.

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