I have a cinder block house & want to get the smooth look of an Italian Villa (or Stucco)-any inexpensive ideas?

Updated November 24, 2020
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Question by Guest_95781374: I have a cinder block house & want to get the smooth look of an Italian Villa (or Stucco)-any inexpensive ideas?

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Answered by LCD: Again, I have a cinder block house and storage building and love them as they are great in warmer seasons, but want them to at least have a smooth coat appearance. From what I understand we can get a cement smooth coat put on them relatively inexpensively correct? I would imagine we could use the dryvit or Stucco products, but now don't you have to put holes into the cinder blocks to attach these, and I don't want to have any problems with the products and cause moisture problems in the block, or behind the Stucco. We haven't had any problems with the cinder block, we just want a better look, at an inexpensive price if possible. Also, we would be open to smooth coating/plastering the inside of the house as well.

I have been avoiding answering this one about as long as I can, I guess. I sympathize with your wanting to spruce up the look, but this is something that can go very wrong if done like you are talking about.

A simple "parge coat" - a thin layer right over the block (or concrete) like you are talking about, will start to peel off in a few years at most if it gets at all wet - from sprinkler, rain, etc. Just will not bond well enough, even with a bonding agent under it. Here is a photo of what commonly happens with a troweled or sprayed on parge coat -

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To do the job right, you would have to use concrete anchors, like you were talking about, to secure a perforated reinforcement like this, also called diamond lath -


then apply the surface layer on top of that - which could be a portland cement or a lime stucco - former best for wet environments though cracks more easily but is tougher (and more expensive), latter no good for wet environments but is more flexible and shows fewer visible cracks. Both can be troweled or "sprayed" on - if sprayed is called gunite or shotcrete for the concrete mix, and blown or shot stucco with stucco mix.

Now - with what I just described, you have no gap between the new surface and the cinderblock, so any water that gets through the surface will make the cinderblock wet and it will not be able to dry so can cuause moisture problems inside the house finish wall, and if it freezes can pop the outer surface off. Therefore, it is recommended to fir out with wood strips, sometimes insulation board, then housewrap, then the reinforcing and surface coat - which adds about 3-6 inches to wall thickness plus costs about half as much as a new wall. Good for insulation, looks very bad at doors and windows, which become recessed and need special waterproofing measures taken.

One alternative you could try yourself on a small scale - is sanded paint (also called textured masonry paint), designed for just what you want, though not as ritzy looking as the villa look, but would be cheap to try in an out of the way place along the back or under a deck or such. Sold byRustoleum under Zinsser and Rustoleum names in oil paint version, by Sears as Weatherbeater Ultra Latex, and many other paint manufacturers like Behr and Glidden and such. Some have the sand mixed in,other sell paint and sand separate and you mix as desired. I have had success with both Rustoleum and Sears Weatherbeater versions in the past, and also with ThoroSeal cement version - of course, oil based one would be expected to last better than latex. Following is a link to a number of product images you can review - no tougher to apply than any other oil based paint, though takes a good masking job as a lot drops off as clumbs, and needs a heavy wide paint or wallpaper brush and of course needs frequent (every 10 minutes or so) mixing to keep the sand suspended in the paint. Some stucco contractors and painters will apply this product as well - some actually trowel it on, then stipple or texture with wallpaper or plaster texturing brush. The downside is you should power wire brush or belt sand the existing paint first so be sure you get a good bond, or it might start peeling off - which is messy, backbreaking, and if lead paint involves lead abatement requirement.


As far as contractors, for the outside you need a stucco contractor or painter depending on which way you go - possible a plasterer doing your inside surfaces would do the outside sanded painting option too, and could probably do a better texturing job if that is what you want. Would certainly need a funn sheet of plywood test panel done first to figure out what texture pattern you want.

Answered by Sealerman: To smooth out a cinder block wall with a skim or parge coat we have mixed Hydro-Seal 75, a water based epoxy waterproof coating with Rapid Set Cement All. With this combination you get the waterproofing performance of Hydro-Seal 75 and the fast setting, and high strength qualities of Rapid Set Concrete products, using for this application the Rapid Set Cement All product.

Another plus is the ability to tint the White Hydro-Seal 75 to pastel colors giving you endless color possibilities.

In regards to moisture problems nothing seals out moisture better than Hydro-Seal 75 (Tested to Withstand over 40PSI). Hydro-Seal 75 could be applied to the block surface first as a waterproof primer(applied by itself with a roller), and then can be added to the Cement All instead of water as an add mixture for a waterproof skim coat at an affordable price. Plus, you have an odorless coating and skim coat material that contains no solvents or VOC's. Applications for interior basement walls to exterior cinder block are possible as wel as many other applications over other masonry surfaces.

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