7 Simple & Affordable Curb Appeal Ideas

7 Simple & Affordable Curb Appeal Ideas

Making your house look great at the first glance doesn’t have to be a costly investment. These simple and affordable curb appeal ideas can update your home while boosting its appeal to visitors and potential buyers.


House number wall planter box
This house number wall planter adds natural texture to a brick exterior. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

1. Dress Up Your House Number

First on our list of curb appeal ideas is stylishly displaying your house number. Not only does it add curb appeal but it also clearly shows your house number for first responders and ensures packages get delivered to the right home.

This house number wall planter project is a two-for-one – you get a wall planter that also prominently displays your house number. Plus, it can be built in less than half a day.

Materials 

Here’s what you need:

  • One 6-foot-long 1×6 cedar board
  • One 6-foot-long 1×4 cedar board
  • Elevated house numbers
  • D-rings
  • Titebond II Premium Wood Glue
  • Miter or circular saw
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Pocket hole jig and screws
  • Drill
  • Wood screws
  • 3/16-inch drill bit
  • Tape measure
  • Nail gun
  • Clamp
  • Wood sealer (optional)
  • Dirt
  • Faux plants

Instructions

Using a circular saw to cut a board
Cut boards to size with a circular saw. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 1

First, measure and cut the wood for your house number wall planter. For this project, we used cedar because of its scent, but you can use any type of wood.

Here are the cuts you’ll need:

  • Three 1x6s at 24 inches
  • Two 1x4s at 3.5 inches
  • One 1×4 at 12 inches
  • One 1×4 at 13.5 inches
Drilling pocket holes into a board
Pocket holes prevent wood screws from penetrating the panel’s front side. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 2

Choose whether you want the rough side or the smooth side of your cedar facing out, then drill pocket holes on the backs of two of your 1×6 boards. 

Applying Titebond wood glue to a board
Wood glue creates a water-tight seal between each panel board. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 3 

Apply wood glue and drill wood screws to attach the three 1×6 boards together to form the wall planter panel.

Drilling a d-ring into a board
Drill the D-rings into the back of the top board. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 4

Drill the D-ring hangers to the back of the panel.

Applying Titebond wood glue to a planter box
To keep dirt from escaping, seal the planter box with wood glue. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 5

To assemble the planter box, use the 12-inch piece for the bottom, the 13.5-inch piece for the front and the two 3.5-inch pieces as the sides. Apply wood glue and then nail them together. 

Installing planter box on house number panel
A scrap piece of wood is the perfect height to hold up the planter box place while you attach it to the panel. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 6

Use a scrap piece of wood to hold the planter box three-quarters of an inch from the bottom of the panel. Then, attach the planter box to the panel using wood screws from behind. Sand the house number planter box. If you want a glossy look, apply a wood sealer.

Install house numbers to the right of the planter box. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 7

Lay out your house numbers and mark the holes’ locations. Drill mounting holes with a 3/16-inch drill bit and attach the elevated numbers.

No green thumb? No problem! Use faux succulents instead. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Step 8

Hang the wall planter up on your house before adding the dirt and plants. 


Mailbox with flowers surrounding the post
Your mailbox says a lot about your home, and you. To maintain curb appeal, keep it painted well or purchase a new one that meets United States Postal Service guidelines.

2. Replace Your Mailbox

While we’re on the subject of house numbers, give some attention to your mailbox! 

Mailboxes serve a dual purpose: they collect your mail, but they also send a message about the homeowner’s attentiveness to their dwelling.

A tattered old mailbox suggests a lack of care. Don’t risk sending the wrong message: install a sparkling new mailbox.

From traditional to polished-nickel options, choose from dozens of styles and sizes. Consider whether you’ll need to enlist help for installation: a wall-mounted mailbox will only require some screws and a screwdriver, but roadside mailboxes that sit on posts might require an expert’s help.

If you have to dig a post hole for your new mailbox, call 811 before you dig to ensure that you stay clear of any utility lines.

And before you do anything, always review the US Postal Service’s mailbox requirements.

Yes, the USPS has requirements, and it enforces those requirements! For instance, roadside mailboxes must be at least 6 inches back from the curb.

If you’re installing a door slot, USPS requires that the opening be at least 1.5 by 7 inches.Find all the specifics at usps.com.

Alternatively, refresh your existing mailbox. Read “How to Paint, Stain and Repair Your Worn-Out Mailbox” for more information.


Front porch with rocking chairs, planters and a dining set
A front porch isn’t complete without comfortable chairs and potted plants. (DepositPhotos)

3. Spruce Up the Front Porch

Next on our list of curb appeal ideas is spruing up the front porch.

Here’s an easy formula to improve your front porch’s appearance: furniture, plants and wreaths.

Furniture

Front porch furniture — like gliding, lounging or rocking chairs — welcomes guests and invites them to sit, take a load off and enjoy some conversation.

You can find nice, inexpensive furniture at a thrift store to add character. Shop for something that looks good but doesn’t require refinishing.

Plants

Plants offer a nice break from your home’s hard features (such as windows, doors, roofing and siding). To add texture and soften your home’s exterior appearance, purchase plants at the home and garden center and place them in pots made for outdoor use.

Just get one or two planters — most hardware stores or gardening shops sell inexpensive faux terracotta ones — to arrange near your front entrance. Place two planters on either side of your front door or cascade multiple down the front steps.

Here’s a suggestion for a starter plant: hardy and beautiful hibiscus! These slow growers provide abundant greenery with massive (up to 10-inch) blooms.

When the weather turns colder, move the pots indoors to enjoy them through the winter months.

When you’re picking out your plants, one simple phrase should be the key to your planter or window box: “fillers, spillers and thrillers.”

  • Fillers: Leafy greens will fill the space and complete the look
  • Spillers: Flowers like Creeping Jenny flow over the container’s sides
  • Thrillers: These plants offer the “wow” factor. Pops of color will draw the visitor’s eye

To fully capture the senses, add some aromatics to emit a gentle fragrance as guests enter your home. Keep in mind that your climate will also play a role in what you should plant.

Check the online version of the Farmers’ Almanac to learn what will and won’t grow well in your area.

Wreaths

Who says door wreaths are just for winter holidays? Make any door look great with a year-round wreath. Embellish the wreath based on the current season and add or remove accessories — such as a large initial of your family’s last name — as needed.

Scan the web, shop around and purchase these items in advance and you can move them into position and dress your front porch in less than an hour!


Chelsea Lipford Wolf paints an entry door
You can paint a door on its hinges, but doors with lots of imperfections need special treatment.

4. Paint the Front Door

A new paint color is the most budget-friendly of this list of curb appeal ideas. Don’t underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint. The average gallon of paint costs between $15 and $30 — a reasonable investment that packs a punch when it comes to improving the look of a home.

Options for front door colors are as endless as your imagination. However, choose one that complements the color scheme of your home’s exterior. For a monochromatic color scheme, choose darker and lighter shades within the same color. To add eye-catching contrast, pick a door color that’s on the opposite end of the color wheel as your home’s main color.

Playful pops of colors are very on trend when it comes to door updates. But classic colors and stains never go out of style. A simple coat of faux mahogany finish can give instant curb appeal and won’t cost you a boatload.

Tips

Get the most mileage out of your paint job with these tips:

1. Remove any hardware. This includes knockers, kick plates and door handles. By taking these off, you avoid getting paint on your hardware, and you can ensure that you cover the whole door with paint.

2. Clean it. Soap and water should do the job, but if there’s years’ worth of build up, use a pressure washer to power wash the grim away. 

3. Lay it flat. Taking the door off its hinges is an extra step that most likely means a two-person job, but removing the door makes it easier to apply the paint in even coats.

4. Sand it. By sanding your door before you paint, you can remove dust, debris, and old paint layers. Sanding can also help your paint stick better, giving you a cleaner, crisper fresh coat.

5. Change the locks. Now is a great time to invest in some new home security. Replace your old deadbolt and handle with a brand new set and consider installing smart locks for keyless entry.

Watch: How to Paint an Exterior Door the Right Way


Red front door with wreath
Installing a new door handle is a small change that can make a big difference. (Jason Finn, Getty Images)

5. Add New Hardware

Number five on our list of curb appeal ideas is upgrading your front door’s hardware.

It’s a simple, cost-effective and you can choose from a variety of colors and metal types, like silver, gold, satin nickel, copper, and oiled bronze.

Plus, hardware comes in many shapes and sizes, so before heading to the home center, consider the look and function you want — for instance, do you want knobs or levers? Do you want to turn, pull or push the handle to open the door? 

With all of these options, you can easily find hardware to match your personal style and enhance your home’s aesthetic on a budget.

Just consider how the new hardware will look compared with your interior doors’ hardware. You may not want, say, an oiled bronze lever on the front door if brass knobs are on two close-by interior doors. 

Or you may want to replace all your interior knobs with levers to match the front door for a consistent look throughout the home. Or at least spray the existing knobs with an oiled bronze finish to match. 

Either way, it’s your home, and it’s your decision.  


Flower bed with concrete border in front yard
Add concrete borders to give any flower bed a sense of order. (©Mariusz Blach, Adobe Stock Photos)

6. Install Concrete Borders

Lawn borders contain your mulch and define flowerbeds and pathways, giving your landscaping a finished look.

It doesn’t cost much to install concrete borders — expect to pay an estimated $2 per linear foot for materials. Out of all these curb appeal ideas, this is the most hands on, do-it-yourself project, so keep in mind the time and labor it will take.

Expect to dig a trench, build and install wood forms, pour in some gravel and then top that with concrete mix. Add just a few extra steps if you want to color the concrete mix, and give this project about three days to cure.

In a week, your flower beds will look better than ever and your front yard will have a sense of order to it — all thanks to a simple border!

Read “How to Build Concrete Borders” for more information. 


landscape lighting
Want to add ambiance to your yard? Add landscape lighting. (Alberto Sava via Canva)

7. Install Exterior Lighting

While we’re on the subject of lawns, here’s another home curb appeal idea: install exterior lighting.

Adding a few lights to your front yard allows you to literally shine a spotlight on your home’s best features. 

Landscape lights are easy to install, and solar varieties are self-sufficient, so they won’t put a strain on your energy bill. 

First, light walkways with garden lights or bollard lights, then move on to accent lighting. Use spotlights or up/down lights to highlight features like a large tree or a flag pole. 

Want to add some ambiance to your patio? Hang some string lights

Before you install landscape lighting, test the layout and determine the focal point for the brightest light. Simply tape flashlights to stakes and position them around the yard at night to see how halogen or incandescent landscape lights will look. 

You can also place luminaries – composed of a white bag with sand and a candle inside – around your yard at night to mimic the look of solar-powered landscape lighting.

For more inspiration, read “Landscape Lighting Design Tips.”


Did we miss a project? Add more curb appeal ideas in the comments below!


Further Reading

Ask Danny | Ep. 3: Answers on All Things Painting

Ask Danny | Ep. 3: Answers on All Things Painting

Split image of Danny Lipford and Tracey Amadio
In this episode of “Ask Danny,” Tracey Amadio offers her tips and tricks for painting.

In Episode 3 of “Ask Danny,” painting expert Tracey Amadio shares her tips and tricks for getting the perfect paint job. 


Tracey Amadio of Porch Daydreamer
Tracey Amadio, a.k.a. the “Queen of Painting Everything” is passionate about painting! (Courtesy Tracey Amadio)

About Tracey Amadio

Tracey Amadio is passionate about painting. She uses expertise from her home improvement career to teach DIY projects, home design, and painting techniques on her website Porchdaydreamer.com.

Tracey’s fans have crowned her the “The Queen of Painting Everything” because there’s nothing she won’t paint!

Her superpower of color memory and long history of color trend analysis is combined to find the perfect paint colors for you.

Her mission is to take the pain out of painting and decorating with her easy-to-understand tutorials.

Tracey was named a 2021 Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker and her work has been featured in HGTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Apartment Therapy and more.


Open paint cans of white, blue and green on a wood background
Color pigments, additives, resins and carriers determine the price of paint. (annastories)

Paint Prices

Why is some paint much more expensive than other brands and types?

Tracey: Price matters… to a point.

Many homeowners only focus on the paint color and don’t think about what’s mixed in with the color pigments. Resins, additives and carriers — like water and oil — are key ingredients that will make paint more expensive. 

Higher-quality pigments and resins will make the cost go up, but you’ll have better coverage. The middle price point is the best option to choose. 

Remember: Quality perception is dictated by the person who’s using the paint. A professional may want a thinner paint because they’ll be using a sprayer, but a homeowner typically wants a thicker paint because they’ll be covering a wall with another color or painting a piece of furniture. 

Spending a little extra on that better paint is going to give you an easier application and fewer brush strokes. Also, the paint will dry to a better, more durable finish.


Hands holding up a sample of paint color swatches against a wall of paint swatches
Picking a paint color can be overwhelming. Find an object to start your color palette and work from there. (Feverpitched, Getty Images)

Picking a Color

Can you offer some guidance on how to choose a paint color?

Tracey: When picking a paint color, start with the color you want to base your palette around. It could be a piece of fabric, a rug, a plate, anything that helps you hone onto the color you want.

Take it to the store with you to choose the right paint. Also base it on the amount of light in the room, if it a darker too choose a  lighter paint color and sop forth.

I have a free guide you can download. 6 easy steps to picking a paint color.

Also, consider the lighting in the room you’re painting. If you have a dark room, lighter paint, if you have a light room, you can go with a darker paint color, a mid-value paint is going to be best for most people.  

After you have an idea of what color you want, buy a foam board and paint it with samples so you can move it around the room to see if it will work for you. 

Take your time deciding before you pick a color. See how the color samples look at different times of the day. 


Hand painting wall trim with a paintbrush
A satin or semi-gloss sheen is best for trim and molding. (JodiJacobson, Getty Images Signature)

Choosing Sheen

What are the different types of sheen, and how should you pick one? 

Tracey: I used to work at a paint desk, and I would often see the “deer in headlights” look when I asked what sheen a person wanted. 

Sheen matters! It’s actually more important than color. 

There are five types of sheen: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss. To determine what sheen you need, consider the room or project you’re painting.

If you’re painting a ceiling, you want a low-reflective paint to hide any imperfections, especially where the joints match up. A flat sheen is best for this. 

For walls, you want a higher sheen, like eggshell. Cooking splatters and accidental spills happen, so you need a finish that’s cleanable. 

When you scrub a flat paint, it burnishes it and makes it shiny. Flat paint is great for touchups but not for high-traffic areas where you need scrutability and durability.

The higher the sheen, the harder the paint will be when it dries. I typically recommended satin, at minimum, or semi-gloss for trim and molding. These sheens are still wipable but they’re more durable, so they’ll stand up to scuffing and jarring. 

I don’t recommend a high-gloss paint. The more reflective a paint is, the more flaws it’s going to show. It’s also hard to apply, so I would leave that to a professional.


Paint brush swiping deep blue paint over faded blue paint on a wood wall
Exterior and interior paint can’t be interchanged. Always paint the outside of your home with a paint rated for outdoor use. (Susie Hedberg, Getty Images)

Exterior Painting

What temperature is best for painting a home’s exterior?

Tracey: Most of the time, exterior paint can’t be applied in temperatures under 55-50 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to paint outside when there’s low humidity and the temperature is moderate — between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Paint has a lot of water in it, so the more water in the air, the longer time it will take the paint to dry. Allow yourself three sunny days, if possible, for the paint to dry.

When painting your home’s exterior, only use paint that’s rated for exterior use. Because exterior paint has to deal with temperature changes once it’s dry, it’s fortified with special resins and pigments for special durability. It can expand and contract to a degree that interior paint cannot.

The best paint for exterior use is acrylic latex. I steer clear of oil paints for the exterior. Oil paint isn’t easy to clean, and if you’re using a white oil paint, it will yellow over time because of the oil in it. 

Now, there is oil-enriched enamel paint that is water-based, so it’s easy to clean with soap and water like acrylic latex. This paint has oil molecules suspended within it, and as it dries, those molecules activate to act like oil paint. The end result is a surface that’s hard and durable with all the benefits and flexibility of latex paint. 


Black and green plastic outdoor furniture around a fire pit
Refresh plastic outdoor furniture with a new coat of paint. (Jonathan Cooper/Pexels)

Painting Plastic

How do you paint plastic outdoor furniture?

Tracey: I take a dual approach to painting plastic furniture. Apply a bonding primer spray first, then cover it with a regular spraypaint. 


Paint droplets on a beige carpet
(travellinglight, Getty Images)

Even Experts Make Mistakes

Tracey: Even though I’m a paint expert, I sometimes go online to see what other people in the painting world are doing. 

About a year ago, I decided to paint my stair risers, which were stained and heavily polyurethaned. 

One blogger recommended liquid sandpaper, and I thought that could save me a step. I taped off the risers, applied the liquid sandpaper and then painted on top of that.

When the paint was still damp, I pulled the tape off at a 90-degree angle. A full piece of film peeled right off the stair riser, and the entire job was ruined! 

I learned a tough lesson: Trust my gut and go with what works. Use a deglosser, then use a bonding primer, then apply the paint.

My paint has stayed put and is vacuum-cleaner proof as well!


Power sander sanding a wood board
Sand away any imperfections before painting wood. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Tracey’s Tips

  • Never ignore proper surface preparation. If you do, the paint will come off. Get the surface nice and clean and sand any failing areas.
  • Use stain-blocking bonding primer if painting over a stain. If you don’t, the stain will rise up to the surface and create color inconsistencies.
  • Pay attention to the re-coat time. A lot of people think dry time and recoat time are the same. Typically, recoat time is longer than dry time. If you don’t wait the proper amount of time recommended by the manufacturer, the paint will stick to itself and never fully dry. You end up with really tacky, sticky paint that’s almost impossible to fix.  

Further Reading

Eliminate Paint Drip With This Lid Hack

Eliminate Paint Drip With This Lid Hack

Over the years, I’ve shared more than 500 Simple Solutions — many of them have to do with painting specifically painting neatly

And over time, many Today’s Homeowner fans have shared their own solutions on how to make painting easier.

This tip from John from Clancy, Montana, will help you paint neatly from a can using a paintbrush. 

The challenge when dipping a paintbrush in a can is how to keep the paint from dripping around the rim. Not only do you waste paint, but you also make a mess on the outside of the paint can and the surface underneath it. 

To prevent any paint from dripping down the side of the can, create a built-in paint scraper in the center of the can. Here’s how to do it:

Snippers cutting a paint can lid in half
A sharp pair of snips will easily cut through a paint can lid. (3 Echoes Content Studio)
  • Cut the lid in half using a pair of snips. 
Paint can with lid cut in half to prevent paint drip from a brush.
The half lid acts as a scraper, so the paint stays inside the can instead of dripping down the side. (3 Echoes Content Studio)
  • Tap the half lid onto the paint can to secure it. 

When you dip your paintbrush in there, you can take that excess paint and just strike it off against the edge of the half lid.

Now, you can very neatly apply the paint without any drips, runs or errors.

If you don’t use the whole can, you can preserve the leftover with a separate paint bucket and save the half lid for future painting projects.  

(This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product from these links, we will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)


Further Reading

Simplifying Summer Home Maintenance

Simplifying Summer Home Maintenance

Pressure washing a wood fence for summer home maintenance
A quick pressure wash will make your fence look brand new. (RoschetzkkylstockPhoto, Getty Images Pro)

Home maintenance is a year-round event, but some tasks just make more sense to do in the summer.

Our 4 Seasons of Homeownership Summer Checklist, which divides must-do tasks by the time of year, is a great way to stay on top of your home maintenance projects.

With help from our friends at The Home Depot, we’ve compiled this list of timely chores to keep your house clean and comfortable.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast, and follow along below, to learn all about the top summer home maintenance projects!


Accumulair titanium mini pleat air conditioner filter
Changing the air conditioner filter makes your AC work better to keep you cooler. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

1. Change AC & Heating System Filters

Regularly changing your HVAC system’s filters is important because a dirty filter will slow down and strain your system. It should take about two to three minutes to take out your old filter and put in a new one.

Also, once your filter is out, go ahead and vacuum the cavity in case of dust build-up.


Shop vac vacuuming out an AC drain line during the home for home maintenance
Make sure to flush out the AC drain line to prevent damage. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

2. Flush Out AC Drain Line

Your AC drain line can get blocked with mold and mildew, causing its pan to overflow. Flush it with bleach twice during the summer, when it’s working at its hardest. 


Loose bottom rail on a step railing
Check your railings for any weak spots. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

3. Check for Loose Railings or Damage on Wooden Decks 

Changing weather can take a toll on your deck. Nails and screws can loosen during the temperature change and splinters can pop up once the heat rises.

Inspect and repair any damage to your deck so you can have some safe fun in the sun. Top it off with a coat of sealer to keep it protected all summer long.


Leaning fence resting on a tree
Fixing a leaning fence isn’t as complicated as it might appear to be. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

 4. Inspect Fencing & Gates for Damage

Look for rotting and damage and check your posts’ sturdiness. If any boards are warped, replace them with new ones.

Now is also a great time to pressure wash your fence and apply a fresh coat of stain.


Charcoal on fire on a grill
Keep your grill clean for a great-tasting barbecue. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

5. Clean & Inspect Outdoor Grill

Cleaning your grill will not take away any of your food’s flavor, but it will get rid of any nasty germs and fire hazards.

Whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, scrub away any drippings using aluminum foil and white vinegar.


Two rocking chairs on a brick paver patio
Regularly cleaning outdoor furniture extends its lifespan. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

6. Clean Outdoor Furniture

Regularly clean your outdoor furniture — especially if it’s wood.

Check for any loose parts or rot (if it’s wood). If you have cushions, be sure to wash them. In addition, if your cushions get wet from rain, be sure to hang them out to dry on a sunny day to avoid mold.

If you do this on a regular basis, it makes it a lot easier to keep everything clean.


A whitewashed brick fireplace
Your fireplace will be ready for winter if you have it inspected this summer. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

7. Have Chimney Inspected & Cleaned

Now’s a great time to have a professional inspect your fireplace and chimney because you aren’t using them during the summer. 

Plus, you’ll have more time for repairs if needed.


Paint peeling from wood siding
Scrape off peeling paint and put on a fresh coat for an exterior refresh. (mehampson, Getty Images)

8. Scrape Loose Paint from Siding & Trim

Boost your home’s curb appeal by freshening up siding. Scrape away any loose paint, sand if needed, then prime and paint on a fresh coat. 

If it’s an older paint, be sure to test it for lead as a precaution.


Row of windows in a sunroom
Clean your windows regularly so they sparkle. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

9. Clean Windows

Mix 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo to 1 gallon of water, or 1-1/2 cups of vinegar to 1 gallon of water, and wipe windows down with newspaper for a streak-free shine.

Involve family members and tag-team to speed things up! Have one person clean the windows inside while another cleans the outside. 


10. Pull Weeds & Add Mulch

Rake over brown mulch next to decorative grass
Mulch keeps moisture inside flower beds and inhibits weed growth. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Finally, summer blooms are burgeoning! Now is the perfect time to pull any weeds from garden beds and prevent further weed growth by adding 2 to 3 inches of mulch

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more summer home maintenance tips!


Further Reading

How to Build a Concrete Wall

How to Build a Concrete Wall

Applying a stucco finish to a concrete block wall
Whether it’s for a retaining wall or a patio expansion, you can build a concrete wall without using mortar. The secret ingredient is Quikrete Quikwall Surface Bonding Cement.

Concrete block walls have many uses, ranging from residential to commercial.

Want to introduce texture and unique design elements outside your home? Consider using concrete blocks for an accent or garden wall. 

You also can use large concrete blocks to build retaining walls, security barriers or massive bins for products and materials.

Regardless of the project, if the thought of tackling a block-and-mortar wall project seems daunting, there’s an easier solution.

Using dry-stacked concrete blocks and surface-bonding cement, it can be easier than you may think to build a low-maintenance, affordable accent wall.

The one-coat application of Quikrete Quikwall Surface Bonding Cement provides structural strength and a textured “stucco” finish. It’s also excellent for rehabilitating and waterproofing unpainted concrete walls.

Here’s how to build a concrete wall. 

Materials


Frost line, labeled below the ground

How to Build a Wall with Quikrete Quikwall

All concrete block walls — both structural and non-structural — require a solid, poured concrete footing. Use Quikrete 5000 for footing construction because of its high strength and quickly it strengthens.

Poured concrete footings should be at least twice the width of the concrete blocks you’ll use for the wall. Standard 8-by-8-by-16-inch blocks would require a 16-inch-wide footing. 

Make sure the footing depth extends below the frost line; this is the depth where groundwater in the soil is expected to freeze. If you don’t extend footings below the frost line, your concrete foundation could shift after frozen groundwater thaws.

In addition, check local building codes for construction requirements.


Marking concrete block positions on a slab with chalk

2. Lay the First Course of Blocks

Once the footing has cured, dry-lay the first row of blocks on top of the footing and chalk-mark the block positions using a level and mason’s line for accuracy.


Bag of QuikWall

3. Add the Quikwall Bed

Remove the blocks and lay a ⅛-inch bed of Quikwall on the footing. The Quikwall mix should be workable but firm enough to support the weight of the first course. 

You can mix it by hand or machine; the size of your project will determine which method you choose. Hand mixing can be done in a mortar tub or a wheelbarrow with a mixing hoe.  

One 50-pound bag of Quickwall will cover about 50 square feet at about ⅛-inch thick. Coverage may vary based on the texture and thickness of your final application. 

Each bag requires a gallon of water; you can add more water in small amounts, as needed, to get a workable mix. 

Add liquid cement color if you want a decorative stucco finish. Half of a 10-ounce bottle of Quikrete liquid cement color should color one bag of 50-pound Quikwall

To get a consistent color throughout the mix, blend the liquid cement color into the mixing water before adding it to the Quikwall mix. Using the same color-to-water ratio will maintain color uniformity from batch to batch. 


Setting the bottom cinderblock of a concrete wall

4. Lay the Bottom Course

Set the bottom course of concrete blocks. Using a level, check your alignment every three to four blocks.


Dry-stacking the concrete blocks to form a wall

5. Dry-Stack the Remaining Blocks

Once you’ve set the first course of blocks, dry-stack the remaining blocks in a running-bond pattern to the desired height — all corners should use an interlocking pattern.


Dampening concrete blocks with a garden hose to help them cure better

6. Dampen the Blocks

Thoroughly dampen the block wall with water. This is important because dry blocks will draw water from the mix, making it difficult to finish. This also can cause inconsistent color and cracking, especially in hot temperatures.


Applying QuickWall to achieve a stucco finish on the concrete block wall

7. Apply the Quikwall

Apply a consistent ⅛- to ¼-inch coat of Quikwall to both sides of the block. Use a square finishing trowel held at a 45-degree angle and work from the bottom of the wall to the top, covering the wall’s entire surface.

To texture your concrete wall, use a bristle-brush broom. Practice on a block or sheet of cement board to perfect your technique. 


Curing the surface of a concrete block wall with a QuickWall finish

8. Cure the Surface

Moist-cure the wall after eight hours by dampening it with a fine spray. Repeat spraying several times daily for three days. This is crucial to achieve color consistency and prevent surface cracks. 

Watch a video on how to build a dry-stack concrete block wall here.