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Tips on How to Paint Concrete Floors

Updated on August 28, 2012

If you just flat out paint a concrete floor, whether in your garage, sun room, basement, or even your living room (as stained concrete flooring is becoming more popular), you don't just want to paint the concrete with any paint that you pick up from the hardware store. If you do, the paint may or may not last for too long. More than likely it will start to peel after normal wear and tear of foot traffic.

Depending on the moisture, you'll also find that painting may not be a good option. Floors, such as basements, will typically get a good bit of moisture, and in these cases, the paint will peel.

Sometimes it may be a better option to stain the floor instead of actually painting it.

How to Paint Concrete Floors

  1. If the floor is going to be damp, such as in a basement, then you may want to contact a contractor in order to fix the flooring before you get started. If you paint over the moisture or dry it up and not figure out what's causing the moisture issue, then you're paint isn't going to last as long as you probably would like. You can perform a moisture test by putting duct tape on the concrete, leave it there for 24 hours, and if there is condensation under the tape the next day, you have a moisture concern.
  2. You want to thoroughly clean the floors with high pressure water; warm soap and water will do as well, you will be on your hands and knees for a good minute scrubbing, though. You just want to make sure that you remove any grease or paint or remnants of past flooring from the floor. You can use cat litter to absorb most of the oil, scrub the floor, and then wash with a degreaser after sweeping up the cat litter.
  3. You may want to rough up a smooth floor with 100 grit sandpaper, acid etch (possibly more than one application will be needed), Blast-trac, or Grind and Go.
  4. Sweep or vacuum any dust, and wait a good 2-3 days so that the concrete dries.
  5. Use Cement Fixall or another epoxy crack filler product to correct any cracks or holes in the concrete. If you leave the cracks, they'll worsen and show in your paint. Let the product completely dry.
  6. Roll on at least two coast of a high quality epoxy primer and stain blocker. Let the primer dry thoroughly between each coat.
  7. Use a roller or a paint compressor to paint another two coats or more of a good latex flat paint or epoxy paint. This is where you'd add any designs that you want; it's actually recommended that you have at least one or two coats of the base color before adding any geometric patterns or brick designs.
    If you decide to add any patterns, you'll want to carefully mark off with painter's tape the designs. Let each painted section thoroughly dry for at least 1-2 days before moving to a different color or shape.
  8. Use a good sealer, and roll on at least two coats using a nap roller. Make sure that you use a respirator mask to prevent inhaling the fumes.
  9. Let the sealant dry for at least 2 days before moving anything in. You want to make sure that everything is fully dried. If it's not, then you can easily scratch up the concrete paint.

Cautions to Consider When Painting Concrete

  • Before you start painting, you want to have plenty of ventilation, and you want to make sure that you turn off any pilot lights for furnaces and gas water heaters.
  • Use a paint and varnish remover to remove any old paint on the floor.
  • If you had tile, carpet, or hardwood flooring, you'll probably see some remnants on the concrete when you pull everything up, so you want to make sure that you are able to remove everything off of the concrete as it will be visible after painting or staining.
  • If you decide to use acid to help clean the floors before painting, don't let it dry because it'll be hard to remove. Remove the acid wash before it dries to the concrete.
  • If you're painting outside floor, such as a garage, you probably want to consider a non-skid, anti-slip coating. You can add sand to first coat of primer. Test just a small area, before you cover the entire floor just to make sure that you like it and to determine how much sand to add.
  • If you're painting floor outside, keep in mind that epoxy paint yellows over time. You may want to consider a polyurethane paint or top coat, as it is more resistant to UV lighting.
  • Use a high quality paint manufactured for concrete floors.
  • Don't use alkyd paints if you know there will be a moisture concern with the floor. The alkyd paint will peel.
  • Always do test patches before moving to the next step. You don't want to coat the entire floor before you realize how much you don't like the color or job.
  • Use a filler to correct any cracks or holes in the floor before painting.
  • Fill any expansion joints after you've coated the floor with paint. The top coat will not flex over joint fillers and the paint will crack and flake.
  • Consider using area rugs and runners because no matter how good of a job that you paint or how well you prepare the floor, no floor paint is going to be indestructible.
  • Make sure that you give the paint or stain at least a day or two to dry before moving any furniture in.

Top Coat (Paint)
709401x Ropon Epoxy High Solids Primer
759301x Polycoat High Solids
709401x Ropon Epoxy High Solids
841001 INSL-X Garage Guard System
841001 INSL-X Garage Guard System
Rustoleum Concrete Paint


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    • profile image

      Sakshi Chem Sciences 5 years ago

      It denoted that how to paint concrete floor by concidering non-skid also it gives the cautions to concider painting concrete.

    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 6 years ago

      Useful tips. The floor will surely shine with your tips.Wonderful hub!