All masonary surfaces require a sealer, be it block, brick, or stone. If none is used there will be a need for 3 coats minimun to look like it was painted, the surfaces draws out the moisture very severly due to dryness. A thin coat of water and mortar spounged on will help fill the empty spaces, mostly on blocks.
I painted our basement walls with a white powder mixed with water. It was called "Thoroughseal"
It seals the surface of the wall that will keep water from coming through them. It will even plug holes as big as a lead pencil. It don't have an offensive odor.
The paint store had a big cone made from window screen. They had painted it with thoroughseal and later filled it with water. It never leaked any water.
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