How to Paint Concrete Foundations

Epp Foundation Repair posing on a poured foundation
Epp Foundation Repair posing on a poured foundation
Wondering how to paint a concrete foundation? If so, you landed on the right page!

Painting concrete isn’t the same as painting other materials

A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to freshen up any surface and bring it back to life. However, painting concrete surfaces can be trickier than painting drywall, wood, metal, or other materials. Concrete is porous, meaning it can absorb and transport water (and paint), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be successfully covered using the correct products and techniques. 

If you feel your concrete walls, floors, or exterior foundations need some sprucing up, follow these steps to make them look as good as the day you moved in!

Step 1: Remove old paint. 
If you’re repainting concrete, it’s probably because the old paint is chipping or peeling away. For exterior surfaces, remove any large vines or other debris from the surface and then use a power washer to remove old paint. If you’re painting an interior surface, use a wire brush, paint scraper, and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease.

Step 2: Clean the surface. 
Because of its porosity, dirt, grease, and other grime get trapped in concrete over time. After you’ve removed the old paint, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your surface to ensure the new paint will stick well. The force of a power washer is usually enough to clean exterior surfaces, but you’ll want to use a separate cleaning agent for inside walls and floors. Trisodium phosphate, known as TSP and found at most hardware stores, is an effective cleaner for this task. When applying TSP, wear safety goggles and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Make repairs. 
After you’ve cleaned the concrete, fix any small cracks or surface blemishes with a simple concrete patch product and wait the recommended amount of time before proceeding. Of course, a professional should assess any large cracks or surface issues as they can indicate more serious foundation problems.

Step 4: Seal and prime. 
Since concrete will absorb and transport water, it’s essential to seal it before applying any paint. A sealer is important for basement walls and floors because these areas are susceptible to leaks, water damage, and mold growth. 

After the sealer has cured – usually this takes 5 – 7 days, depending on the manufacturer – apply a primer to the surface to fill the concrete’s pores and even out the surface. Ask a professional at your local hardware store to assist you in picking the right product(s) for your project, and then wait at least 8 hours for the primer to dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 5: Paint the concrete. 
Finally, you’re ready to paint your surface. Use a formula specifically suited for concrete and apply it with a masonry brush or roller. Apply several thin coats rather than just one or two thick coats, waiting at least a day between each application. After the final coat, wait the paint manufacturer’s recommended amount of drying/curing time before moving furniture back and using the space.


Painting concrete is a project that often gets overlooked. However, it can make a space feel fresh and vibrant. Remember that damaged concrete can’t be painted before it’s fixed. So, if you have any damaged concrete, give the experts at Epp a call for concrete repairs before you begin your painting project!

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Epp Foundation Repair

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