Adding texture can brighten an ugly wall and disguise its flaws. Gritty textures are achieved with textured paint or you may comb, stipple or use textured rollers. A person with experience may choose to coat the wall in cement first, using the cementing trowel to make patterns, which are enhanced with the textured paint. Suitable products include premixed paints with integral texture, powder products based on cement, and colorants to which you add water or texturizing products that mix into any paint. Texturizers usually are based on silica sand or stone aggregates and are available in fine, medium or coarse textures.
Decide on the type and degree of texture required. Even with texture, concrete walls can look blank. Consider breaking the wall into sections and using two colors of textured paint or different textures for different sections.
Brush the wall with the stiff brush and the wire brush to remove dirt and debris. Get into all the corners. Power wash large expanses. Remove any grease with masonry cleaner or trisodium phosphate.
Patch major cracks and flaws with concrete patch or cement. Textured paints will disguise small hairline cracks.
A newly patched wall or a new concrete wall must "cure," or harden, for five days. Hardening requires moisture -- keep wall moist with a sprinkler, fine hose or wet burlap.
Prime and seal the wall. Consult your hardware store for the most suitable product for use with your chosen textured coating. Allow to dry.
Mix paint or stir texturizing compound into paint according to the manufacturer's instructions. The consistency should be thick.
Roll on the textured paint. Use a brush to get into edges and corners. Allow to dry.
Apply further coats as needed. The texture and consistency of the paint mean full coverage will require several coats.
If adding further texture with comb, trowel or roller, apply the final coat more thickly. Comb, roll or stipple the chosen pattern, working on small sections at a time. Combs or notched trowels can produce swirls, wavy lines or zigzags.