Exterior painting with the Armstead Masonry range

Exterior painting with the Armstead Masonry range

Tony Pearson-Young, Skills Development Consultant at the Dulux Academy, provides his expert insight into the Armstead Masonry range and successful exterior painting

The British weather permitting, the exterior painting season is now upon us, and Armstead is on hand with its range of masonry solutions. There’s a choice of both water- and solvent based, with Armstead Trade Smooth Masonry in the former category and the Pliolite Based Masonry product in the latter, but which paint should you be specifying and where does the Armstead Trade brand stand out?

Tony Pearson-Young provides us with the benefit of his considerable experience behind a brush and roller: “As with any water-based paint Smooth Masonry benefits from being easier to apply, quicker to dry and recoat, as well as being easier to clean out. The weather is clearly the greatest determiner of when you can and can’t paint outside, but contracts and customers may well demand that you undertake exterior works in some of our more inclement seasons, and this is where Pliolite Based Masonry comes into its own. Whilst you should avoid using water-based in temperatures below 10°C, and never paint with them below 5°C – simply because the paint won’t dry – solvent-based formulations dry through a chemical reaction, which means that they can be applied even when it’s below freezing.”

Whichever product you specify for your decorating project, as always, the road to success lies in the surface preparation. “If you want the paint to properly adhere to the wall, provide a professional finish, and last for the duration, you must remove any dirt, contaminants and loose material by cleaning the entire area to painted,” explains Tony. “Any mould or algae growth, which can be more of an issue on north facing elevations – or previously painted surfaces and where trees and bushes are in evidence – has to be removed with a fungicidal wash, whilst subsequent jet washing will provide the most thorough clean. Masonry paints do contain a fungicide that will help to prevent mould growth but will not kill what’s already in place. Leave it there and the paint will peel.”

If the surface is unsound then a stabilising primer should be applied. Similarly, existing painted surfaces will ultimately start to break down, usually as a result of degradation from UV light. A simple test for this is to rub your hand against the wall. If any of the colour comes off then the application of a stabilising primer will again be required. Once that’s thoroughly dried it’s time to paint.


Two coats would be standard unless the client has specified a strong colour change, especially going from dark to light, in which case a third coat maybe required. On very absorbent surfaces the wall will need to be sealed with a thinned coat of Armstead Trade Smooth Masonry made of up of 1 part clean water to 5 parts paint. As with any water-based paint the drying time of Armstead Trade Smooth Masonry is heavily dependent on climatic conditions, whilst the condition of the surface should also be taken into account. Painting on a flat exterior will inevitably result in a quicker drying time than a pebble-dashed render, for instance, and it is for this reason that Armstead recommends a recoat time of between 2-4 hours with a touch finish in 1-2 hours.

“Compared to working indoors, anyone who’s ever painted the outside of a property will tell you it’s much harder work, especially over something like roughcast render or pebble dash,” continues Tony. “With these heavily textured surfaces the paint needs to be thoroughly worked into it, which means more elbow grease – and more product will be used. As a result, levels of coverage can vary widely depending on the substrate, with a guideline of between 6-12metres/litre. Provided all of the above is adhered, however, both the solvent and water-based Armstead products are BBA accredited for up to 15 years.”

“Masonry paint is a thicker consistency,” Tony adds, “and you need to make sure that the paint is getting into the surface. That requires a long pile roller, the downside of which is that there could be more roller spatter. All it takes is a bit of breeze and it will carry onto an adjacent properties or cars. If you want to look like a considerate contractor, and potentially win more work in the local area, always ask the client and their neighbours if you can cover anything that could be in the firing line.”

For the homeowner colour is, of course, king, especially when you’re making a statement to the world with the outside of your property. White and magnolia are still the most popular choices, but there is an Armstead water-based choice of more than 180 tinted colours.

In his demonstration Tony goes through some of the basic techniques of masonry painting, including stirring the tin contents thoroughly and decanting into a scuttle. As with any water-based paint rollers and brushes will be at their most effective when fully loaded, and need to be damped – without over wetting – first as a consequence.

Armstead Smooth Masonry products account for two thirds of Armstead Masonry sales. With the choice of either water- or solvent based, the extensive range of colours, and its levels of durability, Armstead represents a solid solution for the trades.

For further information on the the Armstead Masonry paint range, click here.

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