Cinder block is known as the eyesore among building materials due to its pale appearance and plain gray color. Although popularly used in smaller constructions or renovating the apartment, it is considered a cheap material that has the least aesthetic value.
However, there are ways to turn a cinder block wall into an aesthetic piece of art. With just a few cans of paint and some technique, you can make the cinder block beautiful.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to paint cinder block wall to look like stone. Achieving this feat is simple, and you are going to love the result for sure.
How Will It Finally Look?
After you’re done with the project, you cannot but thank us for this article. Sometimes people become tired of seeing that old dreary and drab cinder wall. This project will give it a total makeover which will look more like a stone brick wall than an actual stone with just a little hint of whimsy added.
There are, however, ways to turn it into the most aesthetic stone wall, but this write-up is meant for a fairly simple project capable of being handled by the most novice hands.
How to Paint Cinder Block Wall to Look Like Stone: Step by Step
Painting the cinder wall is quite easy but requires few important steps. We’ll go through all those steps to make the instruction easy for you.
Step 1:– Gather the Equipment
Before going into full-on work mode, you need to prepare some equipment.
- Paint primer
- Pressure washer
- 3-inch paintbrush
- Brick cleaner
- Few shoeboxes
- Latex paint (4 colors: brown, tan, gray, and cream)
- Painter’s tape
Step 2:– Clean the Cinder Block Wall
The surface has to be clean enough for the paint to stick. Cinder block walls produce efflorescence which is a kind of powdery white stain. This powdery substance emerges on its surface after being kept in an environment with high moisture for a long time.
If you want to paint on it, you have to clean the cinder block canvas and remove all the stains and powders. The cinder wall cleans well with a pressure washer which blows the dust out. Use the brick cleaner to clean all the individual brick parts.
Using a garden hose or a water sprayer can also work instead of the brick cleaner. However, it is better not to use any kind of soap for this purpose since it simply won’t work as well as on dishes. Besides, using soap will take the wall longer to get dry.
After cleaning the wall properly, wait for at least 24 hours before carrying out the next step.
Step 3:– Priming
Although the wall is clean enough to paint, you shouldn’t paint it yet. Since cinder blocks have a porous surface, much of the paint will be absorbed by them. Hence, the color will not be to your expectation.
Apply primer paint on the wall to prepare it for painting. The primer will fill the cracks and many pores on the surface, blocking any way for the paint to get absorbed. It will also neutralize the pH of the wall.
You should use latex acrylic-based primers for the cinder wall. This primer type is flexible, durable, and also dries fast. You can find this acrylic in almost any home improvement store.
Apply primer with the paint roller over the wall by starting along the four edges first. Paint each of the blocks on the wall separately before moving to the next block. Afterward, allow the primer to dry completely in 24 hours before proceeding.
Step 4:– Tape Grout Lines
Now the most important thing to do is to create a grout line. Grout lines are spaces between two stone blocks that are filled with grout. While painting, you must create or keep the existing lines so that the wall looks authentically made of stone.
To make the grout line, you can use painter’s tape. Use it to tape the spaces between the blocks so that paint doesn’t go inside that area.
Step 5:– Prepare the Paint Tray
We’re making a paint tray out of shoe boxes. You can also use a cardboard box of 24 soda cans for the same purpose. Cover the box with a plastic trash bag. Pour in the four colors in four spaces. The flat box will keep the paint level, unlike the regular paint tray.
Step 6:– Make the Shades
Stone has different shades, and a wall made of stone will never have a uniform color. So, you need to make different types of shades you want to paint. Since we chose the colors brown, tan, gray, and cream, you can combine them to produce multiple new shades.
Make few dollops of colors in the paint tray, each having its own place. While painting, you need to choose multiple paint swatches and mix them to give a natural stone look.
For suggestion, mix gray with brown for a type of shade, cream with tan for another shade, and gray with cream for another. You will see multiple textures on the wall with these.
Step 7:- Paint the Walls
Dip the paintbrush in a couple of colors and start painting the wall. It is a good idea, however, to practice your technique on scrap pieces of cardboard first.
Pick a single block each time you paint and complete that one before moving on to the next block. You’ll have to keep painting in a way so that each block has a different mix of colors than the next.
While working, make sure not to paint between the blocks and color the grout line. These spaces between the blocks need to be free of the paint you’re applying now.
A good thing about trying to copy a stone is that the color of each of the stones doesn’t need to be totally uniform-looking. However, the color mix of one stone should be different from that of the surrounding stones.
If you’re using a roller, move it gently in a vertical direction and avoid overlapping at any cost. Otherwise, the color will get uneven.
Open the grout line once you’re done with the painting by removing the painter’s tape. Let the paint dry for a day before placing any furniture in front of it.
Once the paint has dried, the whole process is pretty much done. You’ll now notice the stone-like façade on the wall.
Read Next: Full guide on removing paint from stone
Going the Extra Mile
As you can see, turning the cinder block wall to look like stone is pretty simple. You just need to mix shades and follow the grout lines. However, some people like to go the extra mile by adding depth to the paint and giving it a faux finish. Some also like to top it up with a glossy finish.
If you are good with a paintbrush and paint, achieving this faux finish should be simple. Adding highlights and shadows to paint to bring out depth and dimension is what painters are known for.
But if you are a novice but still want to get the perfect-looking stony finish on your wall, there is an easy tip for you. Grab a sponge, add some thick color to it and press the sponge against the stone paint. This method will bring out some grainy texture to the appearance – creating an authentic stony look.
Finally, apply some concrete sealant to the wall so that it is protected against stains and water damage. The sealant will also maintain the grainy faux appearance on the wall.
Read Next: Top 7 Basement Waterproofing Paint Options
Added Tip: Consider Buying Textured Paint
Being a first-timer, you must be thinking about how to make the job of painting easier. Well, good news for you. There are specialty paints that are available on the market, which come with a tactile bonus. You can buy textured paints, which will bring out the stone-like feature on your cinder block wall much easier.
Most textured paint comes in three common types: stone, sand, and suede. You have to use a paint roller to apply this paint. Although these paints cost a little extra but trust us, it is definitely worth it!
Question: Can I Apply Water Paint on the Cinder Wall?
Cinder blocks are manufactured by mixing cinder and cement. So you see, its production needs a good amount of water since cement tends to absorb it. Even after cleaning the cinder block wall with water, you were advised to let it dry for at least a full day at the beginning of the article.
So, when you apply water-based paint on it, most of the paint gets absorbed inside the block. Hence, you don’t see the color on the block you were expecting. Hence, it is a good idea to use oil paint instead of water paint.
However, if you’ve primed the wall properly with latex-based primer, then it is okay to apply water-based paint to make it look like stone.
At the end of the day, it is your wall we’re talking about, and so it should be you to choose the paint and texture on it. There is no reason to limit yourself to the only four types of color we’ve mentioned.
Now that you know the process of painting cinder block walls to look like stone, don’t be afraid to try out newer shades and textures. It doesn’t matter if the stones look odd; after all, no two stones are alike, let alone stone walls.