How to Paint Concrete Floors and Patios

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If you have some dreary concrete spaces on your front porch or backyard patio, it’s easy to spiff them up with a coat of paint, stain, or fun stencils. Just follow these steps to liven up concrete stairs, porches, patios, pathways, and much more. You’ll be amazed at how much it can freshen up your outdoor spaces! 

1. Prepare and Clean the Concrete

Prep the concrete by giving the area a through sweep, or use a leaf blower to remove any surface debris. Then use a pressure washer to remove any stubborn moss or dirt.  

2. Remove Any Grease or Oil

Use a concrete cleaner and degreaser to remove any grease and oil from the concrete surface. For acid staining, use a special concrete clean and etch product to prep the area. Also, coatings of any kind should be removed before applying any other products.  

3. Patch Any Cracks or Uneven Surfaces 

Use special concrete caulk sealant to patch any small cracks. Allow this to dry for at least 24 hours before applying any other products. Once dry, use a scrub brush to remove any extra caulk residue from the concrete prior to applying additional products.  

4. Wait for a Period of Dry Weather

Make sure the concrete is completely dry for at least 24 hours prior to applying any primer, stain, or paint. Try to time the application to a period when you may have 3-4 days of sunny or dry weather to complete the entire project.  

5. Apply Concrete Paint Primer

Before applying concrete paint primer or any paint, you will want to use painter's tape to protect any surfaces that you don't want painted. Then you will apply a bonding primer before you apply concrete paint. This will ensure a smooth application and a more durable finish.  

6. Choose the Right Paint or Stain 

Be sure to use masonry paint or concrete stain when painting or staining concrete. Some paint brands offer a stain and sealant in one for optimal convenience. 

Pro tip: Masonry paint is sometimes called elastomeric paint or elastomeric wall coating. 

For application, masonry paint is often thicker than regular paint and can be applied with a high-capacity roller or brush. Be sure to use a thicker roller. If you use one that's too smooth, it won't get in all of the nooks of the concrete. No matter how well you cleaned the concrete prior to painting, dirt and debris can still get stuck on your paint roller. To avoid that, you can also use a paint sprayer for this project. You can use this same process with a decorative stencil as well. 

7. Apply a Second Coat 

Wait at least 12 hours for the paint to dry before you apply a second coat. Be sure to add a slip-resistant additive for pathways, steps, and highly trafficked areas. 

8. Allow to Dry and Then Apply Sealant 

If the paint you selected isn't a stain and sealant in one, you will need to apply a sealant once the paint is dry. Allow the second coat of paint to dry for another 24 hours before applying sealant. The sealant will add durability to your paint or stain and help prevent fading. 

9. Allow to Completely Dry 

Before using the concrete space, allow the area to dry fully for at least 24 hours, but ideally 48 hours to be safe.

This is a DIY process that can take several days, but it’s not really that difficult and is well worth the effort for the payoff of a refreshed outdoor space that will be enjoyed for years to come. 

DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Please be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions and ensure your project complies with any applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations. 

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