A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to freshen up any surface and bring it back to life. Painting concrete surfaces, however, can be a bit 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 needs some sprucing up, follow these steps to make them look as good as the day you moved in!
- 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.
- Clean the surface. Because of its porosity, dirt, grease, and other grime gets 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.
- Make repairs. After you’ve cleaned, fix any small cracks or surface blemishes with a simple concrete patch product and wait the recommended amount of time before proceeding. Of course, any large cracks or surface issues should be assessed by a professional, as they can indicate more serious foundation problems.
- Seal and prime. As mentioned before, concrete will absorb and transport water, so it’s important to seal it before applying any paint. A sealer is especially important for basement walls and floors- areas that are susceptible to leaks, water damage, and mold growth. After the sealer has cured (usually this takes 5 to 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.
- 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 in 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.
Giving the concrete in and around a home a fresh coat of paint is a project that often gets overlooked, but it can really make a space feel fresh and vibrant. Damaged concrete cannot be painted before it’s fixed, so give the experts at Epp a call for concrete repairs before you begin your painting project!