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How to Paint Concrete

Painting ConcretePeople paint concrete all the time for different reasons.  Maybe you had carpet down and decided that you wanted to rip it up because it was getting “old” looking.  Perhaps you have a garage and you are tired of that same old gray look.  Maybe you even have a patio area, and you want to create a new look, add in designs, or you just want something different.  Who knows, and who cares, the point is that this could be a really fun project!  Just depends on how much of a creative personality you have and how different you want to make the concrete look!  Below, I will be telling you how to paint concrete, as well as the best paints to use for concrete, and give you a few design options if you don’t just want to paint is a solid color.

How to Paint Concrete

It should also be noted, that painting concrete isn’t just about painting floors, people can also paint concrete walls as well.  For this application though, I am going to be acting as if you are painting a concrete floor.


Sanding is going to be one of the more important parts to this project.  You can buy a Pole Sander Head w/ Broom Thread in your local home improvement store.  Make sure that you use at least 80 grit sandpaper when doing this.  Sand the entire floor one way, sweep all the dust away, and then sand it the opposite way and sweep again.  The reason you are doing this is so that the surface will be flat and smooth so that the paint will go on easier – and stay on.  Sanding and sweeping should be done several times until you are sure it’s properly sanded.  Make sure you always get into any corners of the floor and that you get as close to the floor boards as possible.  Don’t bother using water for this step, if you do, you’ll need to wait a full 72 hours to allow it to dry before doing the next step.

Primer and Paint

In a perfect world this would be a one-step project.  Well, guess what, today it’s a perfect world!  There is a paint by Sherwin Williams called Porch and Floor Enamel.  This is an indoor/outdoor paint, and it’s quite beneficial.  First off, it comes in an array of colors.  You can literally choose any color under the sun.  Secondly, it’s a water based paint, this means that there are no fumes, great for indoor rooms or kid’s rooms or kids that want to be involved in this project.  Third off, it’s already got the primer in it.  This reduces one less step in this project and it works with the paint to ensure a smooth covering.  When using this type of a paint/primer, make sure you are using a roller, not a brush, and that the roller is microfiber that has a 5/16″ nap for a smoother finish.  If you buy a thinner nap, you will need to buy 2 naps or more.

Pouring the Paint

You do not need a paint pan for this step.  Simply go to the furthest corner of the room, and pour your paint out of the can – your surface paint should be about the size of a dinner plate.  Next, roll the paint roller over the paint in the same way you paint a wall, in a W formation.  Let the paint dry for the first coat once you have finished.  This takes a few hours to let it cure.  When done, add a second coating of paint on to the surface the same way as the first coat and let that cure as well.

Top Coat

For this specific paint primer you don’t necessarily have to use a top coat because it’s an enamel paint, it sort of has its own finish.  But, if you want a really easy way to clean the floor, you can and should use a top coat on top of the second coat of primer paint.  Once you add this second coating you can easily mop the floor with some warm water and a rag or mop.  One coating me really like is the H&C Wet Look Concrete Sealer.  By the way!  Make sure you do not use a polyurethane coating for the top coat.  Any exterior painter in New Jersey will tell you that putting polyurethane coatings on any paint will cause yellowness.  This is especially important if you painted your floor a light color like white!

Wait at least 24 hours to walk on your floor after all this has been done.  And wait 72 hours altogether before you actually start putting down furniture, putting your toolboxes back on the floor, rugs, etc.

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