What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Cinder Blocks?

Cinder blocks are commonly used in building construction for their strength and durability. However, they need to be painted to keep them looking their best and prevent premature wear and tear. So what type of paint and primer is best?

An acrylic paint specifically made for masonry and exterior surfaces is the best for painting cinder blocks. It is water-based and provides a durable finish that can withstand the demands of exterior conditions. A masonry bonding and filling primer should be used before painting to provide a smoother finish.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 4 factors to consider when choosing paint for cinder blocks
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for cinder blocks

The 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Cinder Blocks

1. Type of Paint

Choosing the right type of paint for cinder blocks can greatly affect its overall look and durability. Masonry paint is the best choice for cinder blocks, providing a strong bond that resists cracking and chipping. It also blocks moisture penetration and does not require any additional priming.

2. Quality of Paint

The quality of the paint you choose will also play a role in the final appearance and durability of the finish. Cheaper paints may not provide the same level of coverage or adhesion as higher-quality paints and may require more coats to achieve a satisfactory finish.

Look for paints specifically formulated for masonry surfaces, as these will be more likely to provide the durability and protection you need.

3. Location

Another critical factor to consider is the location of the cinder blocks. If they are outside, they’ll be exposed to sunlight, wind, and rain. In this case, you must choose paint that can withstand the elements.

Look for paints with UV protection and weather-resistant properties. On the other hand, if the cinder blocks are inside, you have more leeway in the type of paint you choose.

4. Painting Technique

When it comes to painting cinder blocks, there are many techniques you can use. Before purchasing paint, make sure it suits the application method you plan to use.

The most common techniques are brushing, spraying, and rolling. Each method has its pros and cons. You should decide which one is best suited for your project before beginning.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a versatile and durable option for painting cinder blocks, providing a crisp, vibrant color that adheres well to rough surfaces. It’s resistant to weathering and moisture, making it suitable for indoor and outdoor use on cinder block walls.


  • Durability: Acrylic paint is known for its ability to withstand extreme weather changes, making it suitable for interior and exterior walls.
  • Adhesion: It adheres well to rough textures like that of cinder blocks.
  • Vibrancy: It can bring dull surfaces to life with its bright colors.
  • Low Maintenance: Once applied, it requires minimal upkeep.
  • Flexibility: Acrylic paint is flexible, which prevents it from cracking on surfaces like concrete.


  • Cost: Generally more expensive than other types of paint.
  • Multiple Coats: Often requires at least two coats for a pleasing finish.
  • Drying Time: It dries quickly, which might be a disadvantage if you work on a large area or intricate design.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is an excellent choice for painting cinder blocks due to its durability and ease of application. It requires at least two coats for a pleasing finish and is suitable for interior and exterior cinder block surfaces.


  • Easy Clean-up: Clean-up is easy with soap and water due to its water-based nature.
  • Less Odor: Emits less odor compared to oil-based paints.
  • Non-Flammable: Lower levels of VOCs make them non-flammable and easier to store and dispose of.


  • Durability: Not as durable or resistant to scratches and abrasions as other types of paint.
  • Interior Use: It is better suited for interior environments as it may also not withstand harsh outdoor conditions.
  • Priming Required: Cinder blocks must be primed before painting with latex paint.

What Paint Finish Is Best?

While gloss is known for its durability, it accentuates imperfections in the surface it is applied to. Cinder blocks have rough textures and uneven surfaces, so using gloss paint on cinder blocks will only serve to highlight these imperfections, thus resulting in an overall unappealing finish.

On the other hand, flat finishes are great for concealing flaws, but they are notorious for their lack of durability. However, with the innovative paint technology available today, there are specially formulated flat finishes that possess a higher level of durability.

Satin is a happy medium between gloss and flat as it provides some of the concealing properties of flat paint, while also providing a slightly glossy finish for added durability.

Satin finishes possess a low level of shine, just enough to add a touch of elegance to a surface while still being subtle enough to not highlight flaws.

In the end, personal preference will ultimately determine the best finish for your cinder blocks. Consider your options carefully and always keep in mind that proper surface preparation is key to achieving a beautiful, long-lasting paint job. 

The Best Paint and Primer for Cinder Blocks?

Best Paint

KILZ Interior/Exterior Self-Priming Masonry, Stucco, And Brick Paint is the recommended choice for achieving a beautiful, long-lasting finish for painting cinder blocks.

This high-quality paint is specifically formulated with excellent hiding properties and great adhesion, providing exceptional water repellency on textured interior and exterior surfaces.

It is an acrylic latex water-based paint that is easy to apply and cleans up effortlessly with soap and water.

Its self-priming formula ensures it is suitable for various surfaces, including properly prepared smooth, rough, or textured surfaces. This paint is alkali-resistant up to pH 12.0, making it the perfect choice for exterior cinder blocks.

What sets this paint apart is how it accentuates all textured surfaces while achieving a natural look.

With its flat finish, this paint will provide a smooth and uniform appearance to your exterior cinder blocks. Moreover, a 1-gallon (3.8L) can cover 250 to 400 square feet (23-37m²), depending on the surface’s texture.

Best Primer

Zinsser Block Filler 2X Primer is the premier choice for painting exterior cinder blocks. Its high-build acrylic formula is specifically designed for residential, commercial, and industrial use.

The primer features twice the thickness of other primers, making it ideal for filling pinholes and sealing voids in concrete blocks and masonry.

This results in a smoother and more uniform topcoat, providing a seamless finish for your exterior cinder block projects. Additionally, it tolerates high pH levels of up to 13 in new concrete and masonry, providing excellent alkali and efflorescence resistance.

It can be applied to new masonry surfaces before the full 30-day cure, saving you time and enabling you to complete your project efficiently. Its high-hiding formula seals semi-porous surfaces, providing better topcoat coverage and consistent sheen without pin-holing.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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