Painting pebbledush (spar dash actually)

Our 1960's house has a spar dash exterior (small sharp stones, pebbledash style).When we had our extension built a couple of years ago the builder tried hard to match the new and old exteriors, but it doesn't look very attractive. Despite the well documented reservations (once you do it has to be repeated on a regular basis, etc) we decided to go ahead and paint the house white.
Having never attempted to do it before we have a few questions for the panel:
1. The stones (spar) are generally well stuck to the wall, but the guy that was painting the neighbours' house suggested that, considering the age of the original render, a 1st layer of paint mixed with PVA would be advisable to ensure everything remains intact . Does it make sense? If so, at what ratio? 2. How many layers will be required? Note that the house has never been painted before. 3. Do we need to prime the walls? 4. Does the 1st layer need to be thinned, and at what ratio? 5. Should we use oil or water based paint, and why? 6. Which paint should we use (we live in one of the wettest parts of the UK if that makes a difference)? 7. How often should it have to be repainted to achieve an acceptable appearance? 8. Roller or brush? The stones are very small and sharp. Any recommendation of a make/type/etc? Time no issue (pretty much) - quality of finish is the main concern. Don't want to use spray (long story...) 9. Should we just get the experts in? The gable ends (it is a detached) are very high and difficult to reach, so we will have to get them to do those anyway, but we were hoping to do the front and back ourselves (better finish, and cheaper overall). 10. Any thoughts on window sills (they are concrete ones) - should we leave them or paint as well?
Many thanks in advance for any useful information.
J.
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JoeJoe wrote:

Leave it to someone who has the wherewithall to do it correctly - painting pebbledash is a pain in the arse, and he'll probably charge you as much just to do the high bits.
If you are definately having it painted and you want a try, just do a square at ground level with a roller to see what it's like - you won't be doing it yourself.
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Phil L
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Phil L wrote:

I agree - one of the worst diy jobs I ever took on IMHO. Though I tried every permutation of roller I could lay my hands on, none worked properly and I ended up using a brush - 'stippling' most of the time to get the paint down between the stones. It took forever to do and even then I wasn't hsppy with the result; and as for the pain in my wrists... never again.
David
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Lobster wrote:

I have to disagree. It's very satisfying the way that even with a brush, you can gradually cover the whole surface.

Ditto. I think a lot depends on whether you have loose stones and how well covered the original pebbledash is. If it's still very "jaggy" I think a brush is the only tool to use.

Okay, I've got the sore wrists but I'm happy with my results and I know that there's no way a paid painter would have taken the time to pressure wash and stipple it in as thoroughly.
Eminently DIYable.
Tim
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JoeJoe wrote:

I can vouch for this stuff

http://www.johnstonestrade.com/product-range/product.aspx?product=Pliolite_Based_Masonry_Finish
but it ain't cheap. If the masonry is at all iffy, I wouldn't use anything else.
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Roller, with thick pile roller insert. Maybe worth buying a 12" version. Paint brush around window frames, 3" thick pile brush. Roller bucket for the paint, not a tray. Pole for fitting on the end of the roller. Great for reaching 8 feet from 1 position, no need to go right to the top of the gable end. Sandtex Trade masonry paint. Get it from a decorator/paint merchant. You wont need an account to buy it, they sell to anyone. Normal Sandtex is different, dont believe B+Q when they say it is the same. Use smooth paint, the textured is slightly harder to put on, and the texture tends to sink in both the paint pot and bucket. No primer, put the Sandtex straight on. Dont bother with cheap own brand paints from B+Q/Wilkinsons. It is rubbish Use loads of paint, dont skimp on it, you may get away with one coat then. More than likely to need 2 coats though. Can be recoated when it is touch dry, probably 4 hours when cool, 1 hour in hot sun. Budget for 40 litres or so of paint.Maybe more. Yes really.
I've done 4 houses this year, and all customers have been very happy with the results. Alan.
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JoeJoe wrote:

Our house has your kind of pebble dash but it *has* been painted before so I can't comment on PVA etc.
I pressure washed my walls first and then started with a shaggy deep pile roller. While this did work, it was a lot of work getting good coverage and I still needed a brush to "stipple in" a lot of bits. Also, I found that the fibes of the roller was pulling stones off the wall sometimes and these gradually clogged up the roller.
In the end, I've done the whole house with a 6" brush which wasn't as bad as it sounds. Very satisfying and made an awful lot easier by hiring one of these for the high bits.
http://www.hss.com/g/69961/Compact-Boom-Lift-9-5m.html
Beats messing about with ladders any day but of course a lot depends on your access.
Tim
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Tim Downie wrote:

When I worked for Karcher we used to get every new German brochure sent over with a translation & a request asking if we wanted a UK version printed.
A surprising number were aimed at decorators, promoting the use of pressure washers to pre clean outside walls. Made perfect sense to me, shift all the dirt & loose paint, great surface to start with.
Don't think we ever sold a single machine to a decorator in the UK. No imagination, negative attitude, no money.
Big business for Karcher in Germany though.
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The Medway Handyman wrote:

As I discovered the other day, they're tough too! I was using my Karcher on the platform of my hired cherry picker but failed to allow enough slack in the power & water supplies. I was about 8m above some block paving when my Karcher did a swan dive over the side.
The case got a bit busted but after reassembly, the machine still works.
Tim
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