Most often you have found gray Portland cement used for bricklaying.
Sometimes called white cement, this is a variation of the classic Portland cement which is normally gray in color.
This version is white because magnesium and iron have been added when the cement was created.
Can you use white cement as a paint?
Yes, you can paint with white cement paint, if you do not want to add any primer or paint over the top.
This is typically the case when you are painting on a budget (like the walls in your basement or a garage).
Many people also like to apply white Portland cement to surfaces before they start painting.
This type of cement is preferable simply because of the pleasing look of the finish you get.
Why Choose White Portland Cement?
There are good reasons why white cement is applied to surfaces before they are painted.
The most common reason is that the cement provides a stickier surface which lets the paint attach easier without the need for a primer.
The better adhesion (and strength) it provides to the walls is generally due to the iron and magnesium content.
But there are other reasons as well.
- Resists Stains
- Provides Exceptional Finish
- Absorption Rate is Low
- Primes the Walls and Offers Base for Paint Color
- White looks much better than regular Portland grey cement
Whitewashing is also durable and will last longer using white Portland cement compared to lime cement.
It is thick enough to fill in any small gaps, but thin enough to be easily applied.
Plus, you can use white Portland cement with virtually all types of paint.
Now that you know why it should be used, the next step is applying the white Portland cement.
How to Mix and Use White Portland Cement?
It is relatively easy to apply and paint with white Portland cement.
Often called a “White Wash” or simply a “Wash”, you only need to add water and follow the directions on the packaging to properly cover a surface with this cement.
Below are the few steps you will need to follow…
Step 1- Prepare the surface
Before you begin, clean the walls thoroughly to remove any stains, dirt, or grime so the cement will properly stick.
The walls will need to be free of any lime or oil paint as well, so that will have to be scraped away.
Step 2- Prepare the cement
Mix two parts of clean cold water with one-part white cement.
When mixing the water and cement, be sure to mix it thoroughly enough to remove any lumps.
The consistency needs to be smooth before you can apply it to the walls.
You will need two coats for maximum effectiveness, so be sure you have enough cement for the job.
Step 3- Whitewash the Walls
Now that the cement paint and walls are ready, start by cleaning the walls using a slightly damp cloth.
Then apply the cement paint as you would do with a typical primer or paint.
Apply in even layers using the proper paint brushes, rollers, and other essential paint tools.
For this kind of cement paint project, you do not need to invest in a high quality paintbrush or a roller.
You can simply use your old paintbrush you have used, cleaned and stored before.
Two coats are recommended, although if you manage to apply a thick enough single coat and the paint will match, then you may be able to get away with one coat of white Portland cement.
The goal is not only to cover the walls, but fill in any gaps, cracks, or other small imperfections that otherwise might be seen if the walls were only painted.
And now that you have whitewashed the wall, let the white cement paint dry and you are ready to apply the first coat of latex or enamel paint of your color choice.
Tips and Warning:
While white Portland cement is non-toxic, ventilation is needed to ensure that it dries properly.
So, be sure that the room you are in is well ventilated.
Also remember, white cement when applied as a paint need to cure with water after 6 to 8 hours of drying time.
This will help you achieve better long-lasting finish.
So, regardless of how many coats of white cement you have applied, cure it with water for getting a better result.
The Bottom Line
Making, mixing and applying Portland cement powder as a paint is easy.
The cement paint will harden quickly and provide a smooth surface for any paint you use.
Plus, it can save you considerable amount of time and money if you choose to leave the surface look white and unpainted.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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