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Concrete is quite durable and versatile. It is therefore used in many areas of our home, such as the garage, the basement, the patio and sometimes even the laundry room and a variety of other spaces.

While in its natural dull grey colour it can seem a bit cold and unappealing, when painted, concrete floors can work great for several different spaces. Using the right tools and techniques, you can quickly turn your concrete floor into an attractive outdoor or indoor surface.

Follow our 5 simple steps if you want to achieve just that.

Before we begin, we’d like to give you a short list of all the materials and tools that you’ll need to have for the process:

  • Protective clothing, gloves and eye wear

  • Concrete patching compound

  • Concrete primer

  • Epoxy paint or concrete floor paint

  • Paint tray

  • Paintbrushes

  • Painter roller and roller covers

  • Painter’s tape

  • Trowel

  • Power sander or grinder

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Mop and bucket

Once you get all your supplies and tools ready, it’s time to get to work.

1. Visual Inspection

Regardless of the brand of the paint, you’ll be using, most of them are unable to stick to a wet concrete surface, which is why it’s crucial that your concrete is dry and cured and that there is no water coming out through its surface.  

If you want to test the moisture of your freshly laid concrete to see if it’s cured, you can use a piece of plastic, seal its edges on the concrete’s surface and check after 24 hours to see if condensation has occurred.

If you’re painting the basement, consider using a dehumidifier or a fan to control the humidity and speed up the drying process.

Once you determine that your concrete is dry and ready for painting, you can go onto the next step of the process, and that’s getting your concrete surface prepped for painting.

2. Cleaning and Repair

Before you get to the fun part, which is the painting, you’ll need to make sure your floor is thoroughly cleaned, any imperfections are repaired and the surface is ready for painting.

Inspect the floor for any cracks, peeled off paint and rough edges and use a concrete patch product to fill in any cracks and holes. Make sure to grind or sand off the areas you patched along with other rough regions you may find. Scrape off any paint that can be easily peeled off and lightly sand or grind areas where the old paint is intact. 

Use a vacuum cleaner or a broom to clean the entire surface and get all the debris and loose paint off the floor. Next, use a mixture of hot water and dish soap or vinegar and a scrub brush so that you can get all the dirt and dust out. Rinse the floor with water and leave it to dry completely before you start painting. To speed up the whole drying process, you can leave your dehumidifier or fan on for 24 hours to make sure that there are no wet spots left.

3. Check for Sealing Agents or Curing Compounds

Inspect the dried concrete for curing compounds which show up as small spots below the old paint. If you find evidence of such compounds use a mixture of equal parts denatured alcohol and hydrated lime to remove it. Mix the ingredients until they form a paste. Apply the paste over the spots, wait until it dries, scrape it off and sweep up the debris with a brush.

To check if the concrete you’re working with doesn’t already have some sealing agent on it, sprinkle a few drops of water on it and see if the water gets absorbed into the concrete. If it absorbs right away, that means that there’s no sealing agent used and you can go ahead and start applying the paint. If that’s not the case, you’ll need to acid etch the surface to remove the old concrete sealer right off the slab.

4. Apply Primer

While some skip this step and go straight to painting, taking the time to apply primer will make the rest of the process much easier for you. By using primer, you provide the ideal surface for the concrete paint to bond. Once you’ve applied the layer of primer, give it 24 hours to dry and then go onto painting the floor.

5. Painting

Once the primer is dry, you can start applying painter’s tape along the walls, which will keep the paint from spreading to other surfaces.

Epoxy paints come in two parts that need to be mixed before using them. Follow the instructions on the label to mix the paint properly, and try to mix just enough for the surface you have ready for painting, so you don’t have to throw out any paint. Note that you have a very short amount of time before the mixture begins to harden, so the quicker you apply it, the better.

Start by cutting in the edges and then use a roller to go over the entire surface one section after another. Leave the paint to dry 12-24 hours and check to see if it requires a second coat.

If you follow these few simple steps you’ll be able to get your concrete floor painted like a pro.