Masonry paint is an exterior paint formulated for use on masonry surfaces like stucco, concrete, brick and stone. With its weatherproofing properties and durability, some may wonder if masonry paint can also be used on exterior wood surfaces. This article will examine the key considerations around using masonry paint on wood.
Overview of Masonry Paint
Masonry paint, called concrete or cement paint, is a thick, opaque exterior paint designed to withstand exposure and adhere to masonry building materials. Here are some of its key features:
- Acrylic or latex-based – Modern masonry paints have an acrylic or latex base, making them more flexible and breathable than older oil-based formulations.
- High elastomeric properties – Contains elastic polymers that allow the paint film to expand and contract with temperature changes without cracking or peeling.
- Excellent adhesion – Formulated to bond tightly to smooth mineral surfaces like concrete, stucco and brick.
- Weather resistance – Resists moisture, mildew and UV damage better than standard exterior paints.
- Thick consistency – Has a dense, mud-like consistency to help fill pores and holes in masonry.
- Alkali-resistant – Not damaged by the alkali salts found in cement and mortar.
- Wide range of colors – Available in white and popular exterior siding colors, unlike older cement paints that only came in grey.
Masonry paint provides a protective coating that prevents moisture intrusion into masonry while allowing moisture vapor to pass through the paint film. This “breathable” permeability is important for proper masonry health and performance.
Using Masonry Paint on Wood
While masonry paint is formulated primarily for concrete, stucco and masonry, it can be used on exterior wood surfaces like siding, fences, decks and outdoor furniture. There are some advantages, along with drawbacks to consider.
Benefits of Using Masonry Paint on Wood
Applying masonry paint to exterior wood surfaces offers some potential benefits:
- Durability – Masonry paint is more durable, scuff-resistant and crack-resistant than standard exterior paints. This makes it useful for surfaces prone to wear like decks and outdoor furniture.
- Moisture resistance – The elastomeric polymers provide a water-resistant barrier that can protect wood from moisture damage.
- Fade resistance – Masonry paint is better for UV exposure than typical exterior paints.
- Hides imperfections – Can help conceal flaws, cracks and grain patterns in wood thanks to its thicker consistency and opaque coat.
- Long lasting colors – Provides for longer-lasting, vibrant colors on exterior woods.
For situations like painting aged, weathered wood or surfaces that require maximum durability, masonry paint can be a good solution for protecting and enhancing the look of exterior woods.
Potential Drawbacks of Masonry Paint on Wood
Using masonry paint on exterior wood also comes with some potential disadvantages:
- Breathability concerns – Masonry paint forms a thicker, less permeable film than standard exterior paints. This may block the wood from “breathing” properly, leading to peeling, cracking or trapped moisture. Always choose a breathable masonry paint formulation for wood surfaces.
- Adhesion challenges – The paint may not bond as effectively long-term to wood as to masonry. This can result in premature peeling or flaking, requiring more frequent repainting. Proper priming is essential.
- Active ingredients – Some masonry paints contain alkaline resistant ingredients like zinc oxide that may not interact well with certain woods over time, causing discoloration or degradation. Verify wood and paint compatibility.
- Frequent repainting – Masonry paint on wood may need reapplication every 2-4 years as the wood expands, contracts and ages. Masonry requires repainting much less often.
- Color matching – Achieving an even, consistent color across wood surfaces may be difficult due to variations in wood grain, porosity and age.
While masonry paint can deliver extra protection and longevity to exterior woods, it also comes with application challenges and limitations.
Best Practices for Applying Masonry Paint to Wood
If planning to use masonry paint on exterior wood surfaces, follow these best practices for successful, long-lasting results:
Select the Right Paint
- Choose a 100% acrylic latex masonry paint, which offer superior adhesion, durability and breathability on wood.
- Verify the manufacturer approves and recommends the paint for application to wood surfaces.
- Select a low-sheen flat, satin or matte finish to help minimize appearance of imperfections or flaws in the wood.
- Opt for lighter tones that hold up better on wood over time than darker hues. White and pale neutrals work well.
Prep and Prime the Wood Surface
- Inspect wood for damage, rot, mold, mildew, and repair issues before painting.
- Remove existing paint or badly worn finish, peeling or blistering using sanders, chemical strippers or pressure washers.
- Fill any holes, cracks or openings with appropriate wood filler and let dry completely.
- Sand surfaces to smooth out roughness for optimal adhesion.
- Remove all dust, dirt and debris. Clean with TSP substitute if needed.
- Allow wood to dry before priming and painting fully. Wood should have a moisture content below 15%.
- Apply high-quality exterior wood primer suited for acrylic paints. Cover all sides/edges of wood.
Apply Masonry Paint Correctly
- Add anti-skid additive to paint if using on decks, porches or other surfaces prone to slipping when wet.
- Box together multiple cans of the same paint batch to avoid color variances.
- Use a nylon/polyester brush for best results. Add paint conditioner if needed for workability.
- Work in temperatures between 50-90°F and avoid painting in direct sun or if rain is expected within 24 hours.
- Paint a 2-4 inch section at a time, maintaining a wet edge to prevent lap marks and texture differences.
- Apply in thin, even coats. Thick coats take longer to cure and may sag, drip or wrinkle.
- Let paint dry 2-4 hours between coats based on humidity levels.
- Apply at least 2-3 coats for best coverage and protection, following manufacturer’s guidance for recoat times.
Ongoing Care and Maintenance
- Allow paint to cure fully for several days before subjecting surface to regular use, abrasion or cleaning.
- Make sure wood can properly expand and contract over seasons. Don’t paint over joints or block ventilation.
- Inspect paint film yearly for any cracking, peeling or deterioration. Spot repair as needed.
- Plan to reapply masonry paint on wood every 2-4 years as it weathers faster than masonry.
Following these best practices for surface prep, application and maintenance will provide the best results when using masonry paint on exterior wood surfaces.
Comparison of Masonry Paint vs. Standard Exterior Paint on Wood
How does masonry paint compare to a typical exterior latex paint when used on wood siding, trim, fences and other exterior wood surfaces? Here is an overview:
|Standard Exterior Paint
|More durable, fade resistant, scuff/crack resistant
|Less durable, scuffs/fades faster
|Better water, moisture and mildew resistance
|Moderate water resistance
|Flat, matte or low-sheen finish
|Wide range of finish sheens
|Thicker consistency gives more coverage per coat
|Requires more coats for full coverage
|Can have potential breathability issues on wood
|Better breathability on wood
|May have long-term adhesion challenges on wood
|Excellent adhesion to wood
|More limited range focused on neutrals
|Wide range of colors
|Typically costs more per gallon
|Lower cost for most exterior paints
|Longer dry times between coats
|Faster dry times in good weather
As this comparison shows, masonry paint has some advantages in durability, coverage and weather resistance. But it also carries some application and performance drawbacks on wood surfaces. Carefully weigh the pros and cons when deciding between masonry vs. standard exterior paint.
Common Questions About Using Masonry Paint on Wood
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about using masonry paint on exterior wood surfaces:
Does masonry paint work on all types of wood?
Masonry paint bonds best to smooth wood siding like planed cedar and pine. It adheres less effectively to rough sawn wood or wood with an uneven surface texture. Avoid using it on redwood, cypress or other woods with natural oils that resist paint adhesion. Always test adhesion on a small area first.
Can you use any color masonry paint on wood?
Lighter masonry paint colors like white and pale neutrals work best on wood over time. Darker colors show more signs of fading, discoloration and flaws in the wood. Stick with lighter tones for optimizing appearance on a wood surface.
Does masonry paint need a primer on wood?
Always use a high-quality exterior wood primer before applying masonry paint to wood. The primer enhances adhesion and provides a smooth, uniform surface for the thick masonry paint to bond to. Skipping primer may lead to peeling or poor durability.
How is masonry paint different than elastomeric paint?
Elastomeric paint is an extremely flexible rubber-like coating while masonry paint contains resins that make it less prone to cracking and peeling. Elastomeric paint also provides superior expansion and contraction on wood. But masonry paint offers better alkali and moisture resistance.
Can you use interior masonry paint outside?
Never use interior masonry paint, only exterior masonry paint outside. Interior formulas lack the UV blockers and weathering additives that exterior masonry paints contain. Interior paint will quickly fade, peel and allow moisture damage when exposed to the elements.
Does masonry paint need ongoing sealing or topcoats?
Quality masonry paint provides its sealing protection without need for a clear topcoat. Adding a sealer or topcoat blocks the masonry paint from breathing properly. Just reapply fresh coats of masonry paint as needed for maintenance.
Can masonry paint go over oil-based paint?
Masonry paint bonds optimally to bare wood or acrylic latex paints. For best results, remove oil-based paint completely or apply an oil-blocking primer before using masonry paint. Otherwise the new paint may have adhesion issues over old oil-based coatings.
Hopefully these answers help clarify some common questions surrounding the use of masonry paints on exterior wood surfaces. Always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations too.
Recommended Products For Painting Wood with Masonry Paint
When selecting materials for a masonry paint project on exterior wood, here are some top-rated products to consider:
- BEHR PREMIUM Masonry, Stucco and Brick Paint – 100% acrylic latex formulation, breathable, fade and mildew resistant
- Sherwin-Williams Loxon Masonry & Stucco Paint – Excellent adhesion and protection on wood and masonry
- INSL-X ToughShield Masonry Paint – Contains silicone additives for greater water resistance
- KILZ Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint – Budget-friendly option for painting concrete, wood, stucco and brick
- Valspar Duramax Exterior Acrylic Masonry Paint – Resists cracking, peeling and fading for up to 15 years
- KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior/Exterior Primer – Great for surfaces where paint adhesion is a challenge
- Zinsser B-I-N Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer – Seals in stains and odors from wood while blocking tannin bleed
- INSL-X Prime Lock Premium Acrylic Primer – Bonds tightly to glossy and difficult surfaces
- Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Primer – Provides excellent adhesion on wood, metal, masonry and more
- Purdy XL Series Swan – Stiff nylon/polyester bristles for smooth masonry paint application
- Wooster Pro Extra Firm – For fast, efficient coating of broad wood surfaces
- RIGHTECH Paint Brush Set – Budget brush pack with sizes and shapes for all masonry painting tasks
Investing in the right products helps ensure a smooth, professional masonry paint project on exterior wood surfaces.
Thanks to its superior durability, weather resistance, and thick protective finish, masonry paint has definite advantages for certain exterior wood painting applications. However, potential adhesion issues, breathability concerns and color limitations should also be factored in when using it on wood versus masonry surfaces. Following best practices for careful prep work, application in multiple thin coats, and ongoing maintenance will provide the best results and longevity. For many projects, a high quality 100% acrylic latex exterior paint may still provide good protection for wood while avoiding the drawbacks masonry paint can have on certain wood materials. Consider the demands of your upcoming exterior wood painting project and examine the pros and cons before deciding if masonry paint is the best choice. With the right guidance, masonry paint can be a good option for enhancing the appearance and protection of exterior woods.