Painting Cinder Block Walls Is Easy With These 7 Steps

By Kenvin F / August 1, 2016



Have you ever tried Painting Cinder Block Wall only to find out later that you skipped a few vital steps and your hard work is slowly becoming undone? Cinder block, also known as concrete block, walls can be challenging to paint.

Concrete has a porous surface which can release moisture, thus causing paint to become damaged. With my typical “I can do all things myself” attitude, I can tell you firsthand how frustrating it can be to do projects like painting cinder block wall without following steps made by someone with more experience than myself.

Proper preparation and application found in the below steps will make a world of difference for you on this project!

Tip: Because several periods of “drying time” are required, it is best to check your local forecast before choosing a block of days to tackle this project.

This is especially important if you will be painting outdoors. If you aren’t careful about this, you may end up sealing water into the concrete wall before adding paint which will only lead to flaking down the road.

What You Will Need

1. Pressure washer

2. KILZ 2 Primer and Sealer

3. Exterior latex or acrylic paint

4. Wire brush

5. Acrylic caulk

6. Putty knife

7. Paintbrush

8. Masonry sealer

9. Drop cloths (or old sheets)

10. Paint trays

11. Paint sticks

12. Painters tape (Optional)

13. Paint rollers (Optional)

Let’s Get To Work:

​Step 1. Clean The Area.

Scrape off any old chipping paint (this only applies to walls that have been previously painted). This can be done with a putty knife. Apply gentle force to the wall and scrape up-and-down or side-to-side until all visible flaking paint is gone.

It is also important to remove any debris that may be floating around in the area. Use a broom to clean up any leaves or dirt that could potentially stick to your beautifully painted new wall.

After this, using a power washer, clean the cinder blocks in order to remove any mildew and dirt. It is important to let the wall dry completely before moving on to the next few steps.

Step 2. Lay A Drop Cloth.

Spread a drop cloth on the ground in front of the wall. This will help to ensure that anything around the wall doesn’t get paint on it.

Step 3. Tape Off The Bottom Of The Wall.

Tape along the bottom of the cinder block wall with blue painter’s tape. Try to secure the drop cloth with tape as well for extra reinforcement to keep from adding specks of paint color to anything you don’t intend to add it to.

I misjudged how messy I can be and the handle of my brown lawn chair will forever be speckled with taupe (forget the fact that I tripped in order for this to happen – we won’t tell anybody this detail).

Step 4. Fill In Cracks.

Painting Cinder Block Wall


If there are any large cracks on the wall, fill them in with acrylic caulk. Using a putty knife, smooth the caulk into the wall. Be sure to allow this to dry completely as well. Apply more layers of caulk if necessary to completely fill in the cracks. Again, allow the caulk to dry before moving to step 5.

Step 5. Apply Primer.

Painting Cinder Block Wall


It’s time to start painting!! (Because primer is paint, essentially – right?)

But WAIT! Are you using regular paint primer? If so, STOP! You must have a special primer that will seal concrete to prevent moisture from weakening the paint by leaching out of the blocks. This is why I recommend KILZ 2 Primer AND Sealer.

Now that you have the right primer, begin by cutting the primer in with a small brush. Then use your roller to carefully apply the primer onto the outer edges of the cinder block wall. Pay special attention to corners, too.

Be sure not to add to thick of a layer! Adding too much will cause it to drip down below the tape you so carefully applied. Allow this to dry. I let it dry overnight.

Be sure not to add to thick of a layer! Adding too much will cause it to drip down below the tape you so carefully applied. Allow this to dry. I let it dry overnight.

Step 6. Painting Cinder Block Wall

Painting Cinder Block Wall


Apply the paint the same way as instructed above in step 5 (by cutting in with a brush first then using a roller on the bigger surface). Once the first coat is complete, inspect the coverage.

If you see any holes, use your small brush to apply paint to the area. I usually get a fair amount of paint on the brush and dab at the spots until I cannot see any holes and everything looks completely painted.

Once the paint dries from the first application, apply a second coat! Hang in there and don’t lose heart - you are in the homestretch! Remember to be sure to cut in before rolling with this coat as well.

Step 7. Clean Up!

Cut a line between your tape and cinder block wall with a razor blade to separate the paint from the wall base. Using a blade helps to keep the paint from peeling off with the tape. Do this all around the wall; anywhere you have applied tape. It is also helpful if you pull the tape off at an angle and not too quickly.

Clean up your drop cloth and any tools/brushes if you have the energy to after all of this.

After you have completed all of the above steps, sit back and enjoy your hard work. You worked so hard that you deserve a break.


Did you find this to be helpful? Were there steps that you thought were maybe more than you want to take on? I often try to take a shortcut to make the overall time spent on a project less, which is why I urge you not to skip anything! I have experienced what happens if you don’t follow all of these steps!

Please let me know if you followed my instructions and how it turned out for you. Feel free to post pictures too!

If this post has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.​

About the author

Kenvin F

Greetings and welcome to our Home Improvement site! There are few things as rewarding and fun as working on your own home. The fact that you're here tells me you want to learn and get involved with your home too. I'm here to help you every step of the way. You can do this! Join me, won't you?

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