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Waterproof Paints – Dispelling the Myths

When looking for a ‘waterproof paint’, you can find yourself in a bit of a minefield. Most paints claim to have some level of waterproofing properties and yes, most paints are waterproof in some way (excluding the sort from nursery you stick on the family fridge).

However, there is one critical question that could cause your local vendor to shift sheepishly from foot to foot:

“I appreciate these paints are all waterproof, but just how waterproof?”

When it comes to clothes, there are definitive terms and guides; ‘Shower-resistant’, ‘Waterproof’, ‘Wetsuit’. But in the paint industry, we seem to be in somewhat murkier waters (pardon the pun). There isn’t a go-to chart we can refer you to, but what we can do is help you understand what level of waterproofing is needed for which type of project.

For simplicity’s sake, we will start with smaller, domestic projects and work our way up to thicker waterproofing.

Quick Links:

Waterproofing Masonry and Exterior Walls

waterproofing-concrete

If the exterior walls of your home need waterproofing, there are some ESSENTIALS you should be looking for from your product:

  • Elasticity – this prevents tearing, blistering and flaking
  • Breathability – It is vital the substrate isn’t strangulated
  • Crack Bridging – This hold off signs of ageing in all conditions
  • Anti-Corrosion/Carbonisation. It needs to not let in harmful chlorides

There are other excellent qualities you may look for, such as fungal protection, solvent-free, fast-curing and so on, to meet your tailored needs.

To make things easier, here are THREE popular waterproofing paints for exterior walls in the Rawlins Paints product range:

Rust-Oleum Mathys Murfill Waterproofing Coating

Rust-Oleum’s esteemed Mathys Murfill range offers a waterproofing coating that is 100% waterproof, 400% elastic, colour protection from sunlight in even the darker shades, low odour and minimal VOCs, making it environmentally friendly.

Zinsser Watertite

The overriding selling point of Zinsser Watertite is it’s exceptional ability to stop up to 34psi of water pressure and provide mould and mildew protection. It can be applied to wet or dry surfaces, an unusual and exceptional trait, and boasts a recoating time of four hours.

Remmers MB 2K

This is an incredible product and deservedly leading in its field. This multi-tight paint from Remmers provides a thicker coating that can be used on containers and tanks as well as buildings. It can also be used on horizontal surfaces that are NOT habitations (see below for waterproofing flat roof paints). Like the Zinsser, it has a fast-curing time, can be painted over, and is resistant to frost. It can also be applied by spray. All things considered, it is an eclectic and efficient piece of kit.

Other products
Sikagard 670 W ElastoColor
Wethertex HBS Flex-Coat Hi-Build Coating

Waterproofing Interior Walls

brick-wall-and-timber-floor

Both Zinsser Watertite and Remmers MB 2K are waterproofing paints for interior walls designed to be used on interior or exterior walls. However, there is a very important disclaimer to be addressed when treating interior walls.

Waterproofing a damp wall will not fix the problem.

Sealing up a damaged, damp wall with a waterproofing paint will not magically make the water disappear, it will lock it inside your wall to wreak further havoc. It’s a little like spilling wine at a party and putting newspaper over it – the issue hasn’t gone, you’ve obscured it.

We have a range of paints designed to combat damp, and a comprehensive blog on rising damp which explains the healing process.

We also have a full guide on how to diagnose what type of water damage you may have, how to fix it, and how to avoid an insurance claim.

As more stock is brought in for the Christmas rush – though applicable all year round – it is imperative to have your basements and storage areas correctly waterproofed and protected from mould and mildew. We have a blog specifically for waterproofing basements, cellars and stockrooms to assist you.

Waterproofing Roof Paints and Coatings

gaco-roof-waterproofing

In this wonderful country we call ‘home’, waterproofing a roof properly goes without saying. Do not at your peril!

Due to higher pollution levels, you should look to benefit from acid resistance in the rain and application in wet weather is useful. Again, climate change considered, elasticity is going to allow your roof’s compounds to “move” and adjust in high and low temperatures without cracking or blistering. Here are THREE of our products:

Rust-Oleum Mathys Fillcoat

Rust-Oleum Mathys Fillcoat is an instantly waterproof, seamless, smooth liquid finish for roofs, non-walkable terraces, gutters, ridge-pieces, chimney stacks, pipes, etc. It seals small leaks quickly and simply, even in bad weather and is thick in texture. It is for immediate renovation and waterproofing that can be applied by brush, roller or spray.

GacoPro Roof Coating

U.S. based Gaco are roof paint specialists, so must get a mention in this segment. This professional grade roof coating has a 20year protection guarantee and can be applied to a vast array of materials. If you have an issue with pooling water on a roof, GacoPro Roof Coating is ideal. If you have pooling on your roof, you do not need the same paint as the local swimming baths would.

Tor Elastaseal Fibretex

This elastomeric urethane is a single pack, that can be used on pitched or flat roofs. It can also be used as a bridging stripe coat for lap joints and bolt heads when refurbishing profiled metal sheet roofs. Fibretex also has reinforcing components and can be made even stronger with Tor’s Elastaseal Top Coat.

For more detailed advice on repairing cladding panels and metal sheets, we have a guide on the blog section of our website.

Other Products
Blackfriar Professional Solar Reflective Paint White
Bedec Super-Flex

Waterproofing Floor Paints and Coatings

waterproofing-concrete

In line with the theme of this blog, the waterproofing of floors will vary greatly depending on your environment. If you are looking to waterproof a domestic kitchen or varnish a wooden floor, you are looking at very different specifications to an industrial garage.

Waterproofing Concrete Flooring

These three waterproofing coatings can be applied to concrete or cementitious flooring. They can be used on walkways, terraces, balconies, and stairways. For heavier use of mechanical equipment, the Resin Surfaces Limited (RSL) product would be better suited to the Sikafloor.

Rawlins Paints 402 Damp Proof Coating

Our own Damp Proof Coating is a solvent-free, low odour primer/coating that offers excellent resistance to water, grease and oils (ideal for a garage). Its suppression of residual moisture created in construction makes it perfect for use in fast-track building programmes. It also comes in a decorative red!

Sikafloor 420

Sikafloor 420 is a one part, moisture triggered polyurethane resin coating. Its UV protection and abrasion resistance makes it excellent for areas exposed to public footfall. It can also be exposed to low to medium mechanical exposure and is non-yellowing.

RSL R.S. Dampshield FH

FH is the faster-curing of the two R.S. Dampshield products brought to us by Resin Surfaces Limited. With an overcoat time of just 6 hours, it can be applied to substrates with hygrometer readings of up to 97%. It can be used where there either is not a Damp Proof Membrane (DPM), or it is ineffectual (an issue we discussed in the water damage blog).

If it is a hygiene coating you are needing, that requires vigorous scrubbing on a regular basis, or a food-safe paint that offers waterproofing but to specific hygiene standards, please visit our recent blog on the differences, benefits and products we have to offer.

Other Products
709 MMA Damp Proof Primer
Coo-Var Damp Shield

Waterproofing Wood and Timber

waterproofing-timber-decking

Whether it be fencing, paneling, decking, flooring or garden furniture, wood needs protection from the weather just like your concrete does. Waterproofing such as this however, is not to be confused with varnishing.

For a versatile waterproof paint for wood that can cover all the above bases, step forth one of our newer manufacturers!

Mona-Guard WD Clear

This Hydron Protective System wood sealer can be applied to bare or rejuvenated wood to revive and protect. Clear in colour, it will not disrupt any current shade, is resistant to oil, wood, dirt and pollution, and has up to 10 years performance. It is even weather and UV resistant. What more could you want?

Varnishing Wood

Varnishing wood is an excellent way to ensure a longer life for your furniture, paneling or flooring. It decreases the risk of abrasion and protects from dirt. If you are looking to do this, we have varnishes from Blackfriar, Coo-Var and Timberex that come as polyurethane, glaze, wax and more. For the full selection, check out our ‘wood finishes’ section.

Furthermore, we have a blog to help you with varnishing too! There is a guide to varnishing floors, doors, windows and more.

Marine Paints and Coatings

waterproofing-boats

Marine paints will give excellent protection to the underside of your boat and hull, as well as masts, superstructures, and deck work on both steel and wood. Teamac are a marine paints specialist and one of our manufacturers.

Teamac Marine Gloss

This glossy finish has excellent opacity and is suitable for general marine areas above the waterline; bridge fronts, deck work, masts and so on. It has superb adhesion and is available in a huge selection of colours making it decorative as well as waterproof.

Teamac Metaclor Underwater CR Primer

This multipurpose primer offers resistance and protection both above and below the waterline, on prepared steel and wood. Like many of the other paints featured, it is flexible and hard-wearing, leaving a matt finish in unobtrusive metallic grey.

Teamac Antifouling D

Teamac Antifouling D actively discourages the growth of barnacles, weeds and other water life that become attached on the submerged hull of the boat. It contains a high level of cuprious oxide and a blend of biocides to give good performance even on boats with speeds ranging from 25-30 knots. It is available in black, red, blue and green.

Waterproofing Metal Paints and Coatings

waterproofing-submerged-structures

When it comes to substantial equipment that is subject to rigorous industry, a metal paint will provide greater protection from corrosion and the elements. They are around 5 times thicker and will protect metal from rust.

For those structures that are either immersed in water offshore or are prone to tidal splashing, a paint is needed which will be salt resistant, acid resistant and chemical resistant. The same applies to a swimming pool.

Rust-Oleum Mathys Noxyde Peganox

The Noxyde range from Rust-Oleum is a real crowd-pleaser. The Peganox allows your structure to be virtually unaffected by time. It forms an anti-corrosive membrane that has a high resistance to water, salt spray, acid and aggressive environments.

Teamac Chlorvar Chlorinated Rubber Paint

The multi-talented Teamac rubber paint can be applied to metal, wood and asbestos. Its gloss finish and easy-to-clean nature makes it perfect for laundries, saunas, parlours and swimming pools. It also conveniently comes in a shade of light blue if it is a decorative protection you are looking for.

International Interzone 954

Interzone 954 is a modified epoxy barrier designed specifically for offshore splash zones. It is approved to NORSOK M501 for submerged areas, deck and splash zones, has good compatibility with sacrificial and impressed cathodic protection systems and has become popular in the offshore wind power market too.

Other products
Jotun Penguard Universal
Sherwin-Williams Macropoxy M922
International Interzone 954 (Rapid Cure)

Still unsure? We are here to help!

If you are not sure which of the above options is ideal for your project or wish to enquire about application, please do not hesitate to give our technical team a call on 0113 245 5450, or you can email us on [email protected]. Further still, feel free to leave a query on the comments section below.

68 comments

  1. i have a balcony that i would like to waterproof.It has a mosaic tiled area which a could coat with a clear product The main suspect area is the concrete edging which is painted with a
    masonary paint
    Can you help Ian

  2. I want to paint a mural on garden walls and the cement bricks, I was thinking of using acrylic paints and coat it with clear latex or what what would you recommend?

  3. I want to paint Siesta pool loungers that are resin. They have become stained and chalky from the elements. What would you recommend?

  4. The top rails of my above ground pool have formed some oxydation around the surface that borders the water. How can I remove it and is there a waterproofing paint that will not break my bank?

    • Hi Gary,

      Thanks for your question. The coatings we would recommend depend on the type of metal you’re working with; I’ve put two options below, for preparation it would require a coat of the recommended primer and 2 coats of the topcoat:

      Aluminium – you would need to first use Coo-Var Rust-Converter before application of primer and topcoat.

      Steel – abrade back to a sound substrate prior to application of primer and topcoat.

      Let us know how you get on, and if you need any further help then please do get in touch either on here or with our technical team on 0113 2455450 (option 2) or send a message to [email protected].

  5. I’m making home-grown jump poles for our barn, out of PVC pipe, and striping with duct tape. I’m looking for a clear hard wearing adhesive to seal the duct tape. These will be left outdoors in all weather, and knocked down periodically by horses. I fully expect to reseal yearly. Any thoughts??

  6. Hi. I’ve a cast iron bird bath I want to paint as it’s got rusty bits. Appreciate I have to thoroughly clean this off but what waterproof paint can I use? Don’t want to kill the birds etc that use it! Cheers

    • Hi Jacky,

      We would recommend that any existing rust be removed back down to a bare substrate before priming with Teamac Metaclor Antifouling Primer and then 2 coats of Teamac Chlorvar Chlorinated Rubber in your desired finish colour (we have over 350 colours to choose from). Please note the topcoat should be left to dry for 14 days prior to exposure to water.

      Hope that helps, if you need any more information then please do get in touch. Let us know how it goes!

  7. Please could you recommend a paint to use over moisture resistant plaster board (without skimming) to be used on the ceiling of a roof which connects house to the garage- so can get exposed to some rain/weather conditions.

  8. Hi,

    I would like to paint the inside of treated pine planter boxes as I’ve been told plastic lining breaks down quickly.

    Regards

    Fi

    • Hi Fiona,

      I’m afraid we haven’t anything suitable for such an application, sorry. Certainly feel free to contact us if you need information for other painting tasks though!

  9. Hello,
    I have a small masonary/cement garden fountain (about 24″ diameter, and 4″ deep) that has developed some hair-line or slightly larger cracks that have begun to leak. I would also like to add some color to to the bowls (currently just cement gray), either by painting after, or at the same time as sealing the cracks. Birds will often visit the fountain, so I do not want to use anything toxic in the fountain. What can you recommend for me?

    Thanks!

    • Hello Rick,

      Thanks for reaching out but I’m afraid we don’t have a suitable product to recommend at this time.

    • I want to paint a trompe l’oeil fish on a rock that will then be placed in water. Can I use acrylics and then some sort of topcoat? Suggestions?

      • Hi Sue,

        The only product we could really recommend for this would be Teamac Chlorvar Chlorinated Rubber but it is only available in 5lt tins and not smaller quantities, I assume this will be too much for what you need? You would need to let the paint cure for a minimum 14 days before submerging in water.

    • Hi I have recently taken the wallpaper of the main wall in the kitchen leaving rendered damp plaster, do I seal it with pva, or put a mist coat on it or use a waterproof primer, or all of the above thankyou.

  10. The interior of my washing machine is starting to rust. Which paint can handle full submersion?

  11. Hi! I am looking to place a structure made from galvanised steel tubes into a freshwater environment for demonstrating an environmental remediation product. The structure will be in place for up to a year before being redeployed elsewhere. What would you recommend as a waterproof coating to prevent corrosion? Thanks. Keith

  12. Is there a type of paint that would protect a wooden window frame in a shower?

  13. We have a wooden counter around our ceramic sink which started to show black mould due to water from the sink. After treating the area with bleach is looks very unsightly.
    So our question is, until we get the wooden counter top replaced, is there a white water repellent paint we can use to tidy up the area. In other words an anti mould, white/off white paint we could paint around the sink with?
    Any help much appreciated

  14. Hi,
    I have 2 large planters bought second hand that appear to be made from a mix of plywood and varnished pine. I am trying to ensure they will be as waterproof as possible outside. I would be happy to paint them an opaque colour. My main concern is to weatherproof them as far as possible. What would you suggest please? Am I right to prime wit( an oil base & then paint in an exterior wood paint, or should I be using a yacht varnish?

  15. Installing a large digital sign with 2, 5.5″ x 1/4″ dia. well casing pipes as the sign posts. These will be concreted 4 ft. into the ground. What is the best water proof paint to use on these pipes to prevent rust while providing a smooth finish on the above ground metal? We will coat all metal below ground with rubberized sealant.

  16. We are looking to paint the base section of a shower. The plastic base is now discoloured and needs to be painted or we are looking to replace the entire shower. Not looking for perfection, just a temporary solution until we perform next renovation f bathroom. Any ideas for us?

    • Hi Murray,

      We would recommend trying (but can give no guarantees) Smartkote Safekote – abrade and clean well using Xylene, allow to dry before applying Safekote directly. An adhesion test is recommended prior to use though, as I say, we can’t give guarantees.

  17. I live on a small lake and the legs on my dock are metal. We lower the lake every 5 years and I want to paint them again. What would you suggest. They will be underwater when it comes back up

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your question; providing you can remove the existing coating back down to a sound metal surface, we would recommend 2 coats of the following surface tolerant epoxy coating: Jotun Jotamastic 90.

      Please let us know if we can be of any further help.

  18. Hi, I wonder if you can help me.
    I have an old coastal property and am looking for something to line the casement of the sash windows. We are 10 metres from the sea and the regular 50mph+ winds just drive the rain through the joins. We have had all of the windows replaced and painted regularly but the harsh environment is just too extreme for products such as weathershield. I would use a physical barrier such as perspex but do not have the clearance between the sashes and the casement so it has to be a paint that is thick and can withstand a high pressure of water that can cope with the expansion of wood. What do you recommend?

    • Hi Mat,

      For this we would recommend something more substantial to fill the joints – such as Rust-Oleum Mathys Elastofill – which can then be overpainted.

      Let us know if we can be of any further help.

      • Hi, I’m looking to use some type of waterproofing or damp proofing paint on my garage wall internally… The external side of the wall being against an area of my neighbours garden (they are about 2 feet higher than us). Internally the wall is slightly damp toward the bottom. I have seen products but most say they should be covered with render…. What do you suggest and is it essential to cover with render or plasterboard? Thank you.

        • Hello there,

          Assuming the wall on the inside is bare brick or block work then we would recommend Zinsser Watertite which can hold back up to 34 psi. of water pressure. This can be left as a finish or over painted should you wish to have a different colour to the ones available on our website.

          Hopefully this helps, but let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

  19. Hello Kyle Frazer,
    I am looking to repaint our puffed metal sheet roof from the outside. Our requirements are that the paint be waterproof as well as rustproof. What do you recommend? The roof in question is exposed to no snow, but plenty of rainfall and sun

    Thanks!
    avinash

    • Hello Avinash,

      Due to the time of year we would recommend Rust-Oleum Mathys Noxyde Pegarust, a direct to metal coating to provide corrosion protection and waterproofing. It can also be applied over plastisol if required.

      Hopefully that helps, but do let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

  20. Hi, is it possible to use marine paint in a shower over ply walls? I’m looking to install a shower over my bath where the surrounding walls are currently painted in standard (eco friendly) interior paint. I absolutely don’t want to take risks with mold etc, would applying marine paint be enough? thank you

    • Hello Kahu,

      Providing the shower stream isn’t directed at the walls then we would recommend Zinsser Perma-White Interior for this application. The product page has a technical data sheet to download (from the “data sheets” tab) with details on preparation and application, but certainly come back to us if we can help in any way.

  21. Hi, my back wall has a lot of flaking and mold coming through, the main issue was that the wall was the barrier which allow us to build up or back garden patio area there has a lot of the moisture coming from the clay through the wall so paint is always flaking, what is my best option?

    • Hi Paul,

      Sorry to hear of the issues! Providing you can get back to a bare sound substrate such as blockwork, brickwork or concrete, then we could recommend Zinsser Watertite. This is only suitable for bare substrates and would not be OK being applied over a previously painted surface or a plaster/plasterboard and skim finish.

  22. what would you recommend for dampness seeping through a 9 inch solid wall which is plastered both outside and inside

  23. Hello,
    What would you recommend for kitchen walls, including behind the sink? The walls are newly painted drywall with stenciling done and we’d like to protect it from water intrusion and damage.
    Thank you!

  24. Hello,
    I’m looking for paint for the outside of a cast iron bath. What would you recommend and is it possible to get it colour matched?

  25. I would like to build an underwater pathway in our pool for my wife to do walking exercise. The current pool floor slopes so a SS frame will be built that is topped with a 20mm fibre cement sheet. What could I coat the sheet with preferably a non-slip surface +

  26. Hi there, I have an old ornate plaster frame that houses a mirror. It is quite delicate and we are going to put it in a bathroom above a sink. Can you recommend the best type of paint we can use (white) to protect it and even strengthen it a little as the room will get steamy quite regularly and may get splashes from the sink. Many thanks.

  27. Can you recommend a damp proof paint I have a metal shed and I would appreciate if you could advise

  28. Hi, we would like to paint our metal powder coated pond cover, what would you suggest please, we are after a grey colour that will last, the previous marine paint hasn’t lasted a year.

    Thanks

  29. The inside of my washing machine drum has a small amount of rust build up if I can steel wool it is there a rustproof paint I can use that is waterproof and want damage the clothes

    • Hi Steve,

      Thank you for getting in touch. Unfortunately, we don’t have a recommendation which would be suitable for this particular application.

      If you have any other questions, please feel free to get in touch and we will do our best to help.

  30. I want to paint a pizza oven I made using a mix of mortar made from Fondu cement and perlite. The dome was built up in layers, including a ceramic fireblanket to insulate it, to lessen heat loss, and a final top layer of the fondu and perlite. I need the paint to be able to withstand rain and frost and would like one which lasts for years. Ideally I would have a chhoice of colour- trerracotta being my preference.

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your question. I’m afraid we do not offer heat resistant paints suitable for application on to mineral surfaces, the products we offer are for application on to metal substrates only.

      If heat resistant paint is not required then a standard exterior masonry paint may be suitable, such as Zinsser AllWeather Exterior Masonry Paint, which is available in over 4000 colours including Terracotta.

      If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact our Technical Department on 0113 2455450 (option 2) or send a message to [email protected].

      Many thanks and I hope that helps.

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