Concrete, even though it is strong and durable, can be damaged by sunlight, and over time, it can cause block foundation walls to wear down. The result can be small holes or cracks forming or the mortar crumbling.
The answer is yes if you’re wondering whether you should paint over your house foundation to fix issues like these.
Paint products in the modern age are being designed to waterproof masonry foundations and will cover concrete easily for as long as a decade with no peeling.
Plus, you can find paint colors outside of the usual white or gray that can help make your house look appealing.
Types of Paint for House Foundation
When it comes to the type of paint to use on a house foundation, there are many options you can choose from.
Below, we’ll look at a few of them, so you can get a better understanding of which one is best for your home.
1- Concrete Stain
This is a stain instead of a paint and is either acid- or water-based. Acid-based stains are permanent and last longer, so be sure you put some thought into the color before choosing it.
It requires a sprayer, plenty of pressure washing, and a sealant for concrete. Water-based stains are simpler to apply but won’t last as long as acid-based stains.
Even so, water-based stains come with more color options, making them the preferred choice for many people.
A semi-transparent concrete stain is usually available in various colors but will show more of the surface texture than others, offering a rougher appearance that many homeowners prefer.
2- Elastomeric Paint
This type of waterproof choice often comes with a lifetime guarantee. Like the name might imply, elastomeric acrylic masonry paint only means that the finish is somewhat elastic.
It can fill tiny pores in the concrete and can move as the concrete does. It is capable of expanding 500 percent higher, keeping the seal over the concrete.
This paint is designed to cover vertical surfaces that sit above a certain grade since it will allow more moisture to escape and is quite breathable.
Put it below such a grade, and the seal that waterproofs it may fail. This makes it an ideal choice for painting any above-grade foundations.
3- Acrylic Waterproof Paint
Similar to the above paint in that they are both acrylic, this is a non-elastic version that is made to be used for below- and above-grade applications.
The ability to waterproof the foundation is more efficient and effective than its elastomeric counterpart since it offers a significant seal with no moisture coming in or going out.
Unlike elastomeric paints, this type of paint often only has a ten-year guarantee, meaning you’ll need to eventually repaint it. Both of these kinds of paint are available in various colors.
4- Latex Paints for Foundation
This type of masonry paint also comes in many colors and is often less expensive than acrylic paints.
The main difference between these two categories is that latex doesn’t waterproof anything the way acrylic does.
One of the benefits of latex, besides its lower price point, is that it doesn’t need a primer, and its application is straightforward; instead of a sprayer, you can use a standard roller brush.
You will often see guarantees on latex that are between 20 and 25 years, though it won’t offer the same kind of protection as acrylic masonry paint does for your foundations.
Pros and Cons of Painting Foundations
The most common type of foundation is concrete, including concrete blocks.
It is visible below the siding and above the ground, and many homeowners decide to leave it as it comes because it will provide the most aesthetically pleasing finish.
Fortunately, it is easy to paint concrete foundations with many options for the paint to choose from. If you are considering that option, here are a few advantages and disadvantages of painting foundations…
- Seals up small holes or cracks
- Protects masonry against moisture and UV damage
- Elevates the aesthetic value of the house
- Your foundation paint won’t match if you change your siding
- Paint for this job is not cheap and can cost up to $155 for a five-gallon bucket
- Painting alone is not a good substitute for waterproofing your foundation
Despite the name, a brick foundation is also actually concrete. It just means that the homeowner opted to cover the foundation using brick at some point.
Brick can be trickier to paint since it is more porous than concrete, meaning the surface will usually have more penetrations or cracks.
Furthermore, the surface of a brick foundation has more undulations which can make painting harder. Even so, brick can be painted and can change the entire look of the home.
If you use a primer before painting, it will save you a lot of time and effort.
Can You Paint Over House Foundation Coatings?
Chances are high that your foundation is already covered with something.
This could be the mortar that is often applied over poured foundation walls or a concrete block, also known as parging. It could also be a coating of tar that waterproofs the foundation.
Whichever one you have to work with, it’s important to know that not every cover for a foundation wall is supposed to be painted.
Tar is one of the most common coatings for foundations, especially in older homes. It has been used for decades as it offers a weathertight layer between the foundation walls and the earth.
If you have tar, you can’t paint over it. You can only remove it.
To do so, you’ll need hydrochloric acid diluted with water. After this, you can use a heavy-duty scrub brush and attach it to a cordless drill to scrub the foundation with the acid.
With that done, you can use an electric scraper to remove it.
Finally, you can wash it all off with water. This process is a long one, but it’s all you can do if you want to paint over the foundation.
This is a smooth coating of mostly decorative mortar that is put over block concrete or poured foundation walls. It offers a uniform appearance and hides any imperfections on the wall like cracks.
Because parging is mostly cosmetic, it doesn’t offer any weatherproofing. Because of this, it can trap in some moisture after it rains and may even take on water stains after it has rained hard and then dried by the sun.
You must use care when painting over parging. Because moisture can build up in it, painting using waterproof paint can keep moisture trapped in the parging, which could cause swifter deterioration.
Conversely, not using waterproof paint could cause the foundation to leak.
If you weren’t having any problems with water seeping into the wall of the foundation before you painted, then wait until the weather is dry and paint the parging.
What Color to Paint the Foundation of Your Home?
Unfortunately, many siding manufacturers don’t offer colors that match their foundation paints, so you may need to mix and match, making the process a trickier one.
Instead of attempting to match the exact color of the two paints, pick an accent color.
Choosing a neutral color such as gray or a shade of brown that matches the earth’s color near the foundation is a good idea.
Do I Need to Prime the House Foundation Before Painting?
If you have a self-priming product, you won’t have to prime the surface.
For any other types, priming is a good idea. If you choose not to, then the warranty of your paint will usually be void, and your finished result will be poorer.
Most acrylic paints aren’t self-priming, but latex products are, which may influence your decision to buy one over the other.
Water is not the only enemy of house foundations. UV light is a big threat as well.
Painting your exterior foundation will not only protect the surface but can also enhance the curb appeal of your home.
There are many color matching sites that can help you choose the colors, or you can visit a home renovation store and get their help.
The type of product you use is arguably more important than the color itself and should be treated as such.
Some of these products, like a stain, won’t come off easily after it is applied. It is important that you consider factors like this when choosing your masonry finish.
Douglas Becker (aka Painter Doug) has over twenty years of experience as a painter in Adkins, Texas. At present, he resides in Florida with his family.
From painting multi-storeyed houses, condos, and apartments to large commercial buildings and small offices, he had served various customers in areas not only in Adkins but also in Southwest Florida, Sarasota, Naples, and many more. To know more about him check here.