Cleaning Up Old Cinder Block

Fixing and old cinder block wall/fence patch and painting with Drylok @Remodelaholic

This summer we have been rather busy with the new house. I showed you the deck we built, or at least part of it, and I try to share updates on instagram (follow me @remodelaholic).  BUT to make a VERY Long story short, I feel like we are just treading water actually maybe drowning is a better verb for how I am feeling.  Nothing is getting done, and we keep hitting big road blocks that stop us from progressing, from mold remediation, to a bad roof, to possible asbestos tiles now on to chipping lead paint (and lest you think I am naive, I did get a thorough home inspection, or at least I paid for one, obviously a LOT was missed).

Breathe in and out…. in and out.

With all the frustration in this Remodelaholic’s life, I REALLY needed a win, and, just to be clear, it needed it to be an EASY win.  I just didn’t have time or energy to spend on something else, but I thrive on the finished project.  So, I decided to turn my attention onto a small section in our current backyard that has never been finished… I mean ever, in 20+ years.

Let’s just call it “the dump”.  It looks just like it sounds (see below).  We dump our grass clippings there and collect spoiled fruit or veggies from the garden to create a sort open concept composite bin.  To make matters worse, the neighbor’s property lines split right through that section and there are two fences that meet in the center of the yard.  An older cinder block wall and a white vinyl fence meet in that junction.  Then add to that the fact that the two side fences are wood and one is newer and one older so it looks like 4 different fences on one yard.

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (1 of 23)

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (2 of 23)

Something had to be done.

I had a plan.  A while ago, I realized the easiest thing to do would be to paint our side of the cinder block white to match the vinyl fence.  I didn’t want to paint it with just anything,  I like my projects to last.  So I decided to use Drylok, which is a masonry waterproofing paint.

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (11 of 23)

The whole process was VERY simple.

First we had to move a LOT of soil.  (Well a couple truck loads.  So while that wasn’t easy my husband and his brother got it done like champs!)  Luckily we had the perfect place for the soil in the side yard at our new house, so we moved it over there.

After that, the wall needed a good pressure wash to clean off the staining from the dirt and any loose soil. When the wall had dried, the mortar was looking pretty hammered so we needed to patch it.  We used Drylok Fast Plug Hydrolic cement, that is made to seal cracks in masonry.  We used exactly one bucket for the whole wall (size about 30′ x 7′ ish, and there was LOTS of patches needed, so I am sure it could go farther in other situations)

Patching cinder block drylok

 When the patch had dried, we painted the first coat of Drylok on the cinder block.  The wall was so pleased, it was beaming!  Literally!

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (9 of 23)

We used a roller and a special acrylic bristle brush to work the paint into the cracks, but also get the paint up quickly and evenly.

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (10 of 23)

When the first coat was done we threw a second coat up and BAM!  Easy as that, the whole backyard looked cleaner.  I can’t tell you what a huge difference was already made with the wall color change.

Lastly, we needed to do something with the ground.

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (12 of 23)

Originally, I had been planning on doing a garden bed of flowers, but the truth is I didn’t want to have to maintain it.  Also thinking of my mother having to maintain it, since this is my parent’s house, ultimately, I wanted to make it as easy as possible.  We decided sod was the best bet.

And can I say, for wrapping up a project quickly, sod is like the impatient gardener’s dream.

Basically, with 2 days of work, the cinder clock wall went from hideous, to bright and beautiful. (albeit the sun has been hiding for the last 5 days so I couldn’t get a pretty sunny fall picture! Sorry ’bout that!)

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (17 of 23)

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (14 of 23)

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (15 of 23)

It was the prefect quick project to smooth my remodel battered soul.   (You fellow remodelers know what I mean right?!!)

Painting a Cinder block fence @Remodelaholic (13 of 23)

I think this is the perfect picture of what a change it made to paint, the huge change in materials is almost non-existent, it is so much less distinguishable.. The best thing is by painting it white, from my back kitchen window it appears as if the white vinyl fence just continues on.

I actually have some left over paint… and a few concrete basement walls in the new house that are calling my name.  This quick painting project, has my mind and hope rekindled again!

Thanks to Drylok for working with me on this project.  All opinions are my own.

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. Aww, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all of that. When I hear stories like that, I wish that there was some kind of law that makes the inspector have to pay you back for what you paid to have it done. I mean come on, those are some big things they missed!

    But look at that fence! It made such a difference. That has to be a little relief until you go back to tackling the other stuff.

  2. That came out great! We’re actually looking at getting some sod for our backyard. We managed to end up with grubs this year and when I went outside this weekend, we found out that the skunks and racoons have been digging huge chunks in the grass to eat them.

  3. It looks amazing- what a transformation! So, are you going to make a compost area somewhere else, or give up on it for now? I have a love/hate relationship with my compost.

  4. Cassity, as a transplant from the Midwest to Las Vegas we are familiar with the horror of block walls. This I’ve learned: Never bring your sod right up to a wall (painted or not). The in-ground sprinklers, even when meticulously adjusted will still cause water to be sprayed on the walls (even with just a slight breeze) – and, as you know, water is the enemy of paint or any finish; especially hard water like we have here (from the Colorado River). Always create a few-feet-deep flower bed (or even rock bed) in front of a block wall. Flowers can be watered via drippers, rather than sprays. Even after creating a bed, be meticulous in ensuring your lawn sprinklers to NOT hit your walls. This way your walls will stay looking great for years. I know, as we are on year 16 of living here.

  5. My concrete wall in back is Huge! About 8 ft tall and a few hundred ft long. It’s not been painted for awhile and the paint is peeling. It’s such a eye sore from the pool and you can see it as soon as you drive in the driveway. We are selling and wanted a quick easy, budget friendly fix. Any ideas??

    1. Hi Dawn,
      Have you tried pressure-washing to remove the peeling paint, and then you could paint a fresh coat of paint? That would be my first suggestion. Hope that helps!

  6. I am planning to paint a very high & long cement wall. Can you tell me how that drylok holds up. how many yrs it lasts?? I think you painted yours a few yrs ago? and how does it hold up & look now?
    Thank you

    1. The paint is starting to flake in some small areas and it has been about 5 years now. It is holding up really well though. Make sure you really have it dust free and clean before you paint it.