How to Paint Concrete

Concrete is a truly amazing building material, as it is extremely durable, reliable, and fairly affordable. With that being said, there is a variety of different ways that you can enhance or improve the current look of your concrete.

One way to do this is by painting it. Of course, painting concrete requires more than just having the right tools and materials. The process requires know-how, precision, and the right amount of time. 

If your concrete is damaged it may be beneficial to concrete cut and remove the damaged section before painting.

Concrete is a lot trickier to paint than what you might imagine. The surface breathes, transports moisture, and sucks up paint extremely fast, making the process very time-consuming.

Simply painting a piece of drywall can take anywhere between one or two days. But, painting concrete can take anywhere from a week or more, depending on the surface area that you are working with. Below, you will learn some tips and tricks that will help you when it comes to painting your concrete.

Properly Cleaning The Concrete

When it comes to painting concrete, the first step that you must undertake is cleaning the concrete. Concrete is a very porous surface and it really traps dirt, dust, grease, and oil.

All the above will hinder your paint. You can simply remove dirt and grease with trisodium phosphate or a pre-paint cleaner, which is available at your local hardware store this was recommended to me by my american buddy who runs a cleaning service in Seattle.

Make sure that the concrete surface is free of vines and moss, which really tend to grow on the foundation of concrete. Moss and vines might have to be removed by hand, but they should come loose fairly easy.

A pressure washer can be a good tool to utilize, because it may break any remaining dirt and debris loose from the surface.

Stripping Old Paint

Keep in mind that if your concrete already has an existing coat of paint that is peeling or blistering, it will need to be removed before applying a new coat. For indoor purposes, you will probably have to utilize a wire brush and paint scrapper.

This can be time-consuming and it will take a lot of hard work. If you are removing paint from an outdoor surface, you can simply use a pressure washer to remove the existing coat of paint.

A commercial-grade paint remover can also be utilized to loosen the bonds of the old paint, before sanding and scraping. However, the chemicals in these products are not always reliable.

In fact, they may not work for some types of paint, especially those that contain oils and other ingredients that repel water and moisture.

Sealing Interior Concrete

Water can easily move through concrete, because it is such a porous surface. If you are painting an interior concrete floor in a cold, damp, wet basement, it will be absolutely necessary to seal the walls.

This will prevent moisture from seeping in and destroying your paint and concrete. A masonry sealer will be the product that you want to utilize for this job.

Just make sure that you follow the mixing and applying directions located on the back of the product that you purchase. In most cases, it usually takes two coats to completely seal the surface and unfortunately it can take anywhere from 5 to 7 days for the first coat to dry.

Priming The Concrete

Concrete primer, also known as block primer, is a product that you will have to apply before painting your concrete. The primer was specifically designed to fill in pores and even out the surface.

If you are painting an exterior slab of concrete or a driveway, you will have to purchase a primer that was specifically designed for exterior use. If you are painting an interior concrete floor, you can use either an interior or exterior primer.

While each primer will probably vary, it can take anywhere from two to three hours to completely dry. It is recommended to wait at least 8 hours after applying the primer before you start applying paint.

Painting The Concrete

Once you have completed all the above steps, you will now be ready to move onto the painting process. Masonry paint, also known as elastomeric paint, can be an excellent choice for painting concrete. Check out your local paint store and ask.

The reason most people prefer masonry paint is because it contains binders that contract and expand along with the concrete. Always avoid choosing exterior house paint, because it can crack and peel when applied to concrete.

With all that being said, you will need to keep in mind that masonry paint must be applied with a brush, roller, or texture roller. Unfortunately, masonry paint is much thicker than exterior paint, so it cannot be utilized in most sprayers.

The larger particles in the paint tend to clog sprayers. However, if you do want to spray your concrete, you can speak with your local hardware store about paints that will work.

Whichever method your choose, it will be absolutely necessary to wait at least 1 day between coats. It will probably be an excellent ideal to check the weather forecast and choose a good sunny weekend to finish up this project.

Concrete Paints

There are also paints that were specially designed for concrete. These paints share a lot of similarities to other paints, as they are available in two different forms. You have the oil based and the water based paint.

Oil based paints are much more durable, but they do take longer to dry once applied, give off more odour, and require paint thinner to clean up. This can make the project messy if you aren’t careful.

Water based paints are much more eco-friendly, dry faster, and can be easily cleaned up with soap and water. However, they are not as durable as the oil based paints. One of the biggest advantages of choosing a concrete paint is that there is a wide variety of colours available.

You don’t just have natural tints. You can literally customize your concrete in any colour that you want. Unfortunately, paints do come with some downsides and one major downside is that they do require reapplications over the years.

In addition to this, the surface can peel, blister, and flake. This is especially true, if the painted concrete surface is exposed to sun, precipitation, and foot traffic.

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