Can you paint pebbledash? Yes, but only if you follow these expert-approved tips

Painting pebbledash is tricky, but you can still paint it if you know how

How to paint an exterior wall with pastel painted houses
(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

Whether you know it as pebbledash or roughcast, the coarse texture of pebbledash is often seen on the front of old houses, garages, or garden walls. But as pebbledash is often beige and boring, you might wonder: Can you paint pebbledash?

All the rage during the 1920s, pebbledash was once used as a cost-effective way to cover up the low-quality brickwork underneath. And while many homeowners choose to render over the pebbledash on their property, this can be expensive. That’s why painting seems like the most affordable option.

However, painting pebbledash isn’t as easy as painting an exterior wall. You need to tailor your painting process to the unusual texture of pebbledash and use specific tools to bring your house exterior colour ideas to life. That's why we've put together the ultimate step-by-step guide to painting pebbledash.

What you’ll need


‘Painting pebble dash can indeed be a cost-effective way to improve the aesthetic appeal of your home,’ explains Jon McCrory, Founder of Broadwalk Investments. ‘A fresh coat of paint can transform that tired, grey exterior into something much more inviting and contemporary.’ So, this is how to do it:

1. Assess the surface

What makes pebbledash so much trickier to paint than a normal rendered wall is its texture. While this texture can make the wall seem more hard-wearing, it can actually hide underlying problems that painting won’t fix.

Because of this, you need to assess the surface before painting pebbledash. In severe cases, painting may not be the right option, and you may have to render your house or render your garden wall instead.

Jon warns, ‘It's crucial to consider the quality of the existing pebble dash. Some older applications may have degraded over time, causing discolouration or loose stones. Painting over poor-quality pebble dash can sometimes be a temporary fix, masking underlying issues rather than solving them.’

If you’re confident your pebbledash is in good condition, however, you can move on to the next step.

2. Choose your tools

Before you start any DIY project, you must ensure you have the right tools. And if you want to paint pebbledash, you need to buy two things: paint and something to paint with.

Jon says, ‘Choosing the right type of paint is vital. Exterior masonry paint designed for textured surfaces works best, providing a durable finish that can withstand the elements.

'I recommend looking for paints that offer good breathability to prevent moisture build-up, which can be a common issue with pebble dash.’

In many cases, these paints won’t require a primer - but it’s always a good idea to double-check if a primer is required when purchasing this paint. Then, you can move on to the tool you’ll be painting with.

Scarlett Mack, the DIY whizz behind @lady_muckmack, recently painted a pebbledash wall in her garden - and she found the perfect tool for the job.

She told us, ‘Pebbledash is known to be quite tricky to paint, so I was dreading it. I have tried it before with the daub method, and it’s utterly wrist-breaking work, so I decided to do it with my paint sprayer instead.’

Of course, it’s also important to consider what you’re painting. If you’re looking to paint a simple garden wall, you should have no problems at all (although you may need a ladder if you’re on the shorter side).

If you’re painting the full exterior of your two-storey home, it’s probably safest to use scaffolding for this process.

3. Prep the surface

At this point, you’re probably eager to get started. But it’s important to prep the surface of your wall before painting pebbledash. This will clean the wall and provide you with the finish you’re after.

Thankfully, Scarlett knows from experience that this is a quick and easy task. She told us, ‘With regards to prep, I chose a paint that didn’t require a primer, so all I had to do was rub the wall down with a rough brush to remove any loose pebbles, and I gave it a wash with the hose.’

And while you may feel inclined to grab one of the best pressure washers for this task, doing so can actually damage your wall. So, stick to a normal garden hose - like this Hozelock 30m Hose Reel from Amazon.

If needed, you should use masking tape to protect the edges and keep your painting neat and tidy.

4. Start painting

Terracotta pebbledash wall with a white vase of flowers and a tin of paint sitting on a table in front

(Image credit: Scarlett Mack/@lady_muckmack)

While you can use normal paintbrushes or rollers to paint pebbledash, using a sprayer will make the process so much quicker - and not to mention easier. There’s still a technique to getting an even coverage, though.

Scarlett says, ‘I had to angle the spray gun one way and then the other to make sure that the paint hit all the edges of the stones.’

Although one coat of high-quality masonry paint may be enough to paint your pebbledash, it may be worth giving it a second (or even a third coat) to ensure every single nook and cranny has been covered.

5. Add the finishing touches

Painting pebbledash can make a huge difference to your home, but it’s always worth looking at the bigger picture when you’ve completed this job. After all, a freshly painted wall can make other aspects of your home look worn and tired.

This is especially true if you’re painting the outside of your home, and the experts at UK Composite Doors agree. They say, ‘When you have a pebble dash wall, coordinating it with a stylish front door can create a cohesive, eye-catching look that boosts your home's curb appeal.’

‘Colour coordination is key too. If your pebble dash has grey tones, choosing a composite door in a matching or complementary shade can create a unified look.’

Alternatively, you could paint your front door if it's wooden - taking inspiration from the many front door colour ideas out there.

And if you’ve painted a pebbledash wall in your garden, you could also utilise tricks to make your garden look more expensive by adding wall planters and mirrors or planting a container garden.


Is painting pebbledash a good idea?

Yes! If you’re on a budget and don’t want to remove or render over your pebbledash, painting is a cost-effective solution that can modernise this old-fashioned feature.

By giving your pebbledash a lick of paint and freshening it up, you can also increase the value of your property and make it more desirable to buyers.

However, it’s important to inspect your pebbledash before painting, as it may not be in good enough condition. In some cases, it may have to be removed or rendered over.

Is pebbledash hard to remove?

Pebbledash can be extremely difficult to remove, especially if it’s still in good condition. As the pebbles are embedded in cement, you need to chisel away at the surface to remove them - and this takes a lot of time and patience. Because of this, you should employ the help of a professional to remove them.

If you don’t like the look of pebbledash or are worried about the state of your walls, you could also choose to render over your pebbledash. However, this needs to be completed by professionals as it’s easy to get wrong and needs to be applied in a very specific way.

So, can you paint pebbledash? Of course you can!

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.