How to Paint Concrete Floors [Indoors Yourself]

This post was last updated on June 23rd, 2018 at 10:22 am

how to paint concrete floorsWhen deciding on how to paint concrete floors, whether it would be your garage floor or the basement floor, I believe that some consideration should be made to use an epoxy flooring product instead of concrete paint or even a concrete stain.

When deciding on products for your floor try to find paint that is higher in solids than others.

This will give you a better chance of receiving a good product. Behr, Duron, and Olympic are good choices for this type of product.

Let’s run through some options for painting concrete floors such as the use of Porch & Floor Paint, Solid Color Concrete Stain, and Epoxy Floor Coating.


Porch & Floor Paint

how to paint concrete floorsThere is a “Porch & Floor Paint” product available with most paint companies/brands.

This product is 100% acrylic latex, mildew resistant and is usually available in two sheens, Low-Lustre and Gloss.

It comes in a pre-mixed color such as gray and brown or a tintable base for you to choose your own color.

Typically it’s ideal for painting concrete floors like Porches, Basements, Patios but can also be used on Decks, Siding, Trim, Patio Furniture and Trellises.

It’s NOT recommended for use on Garage Floors, however.

Being a paint with low “solids” content, this finish will be susceptible to peeling and flaking depending on the location – considering the humidity and how much traffic the floor will receive.

Preparation:

On previously painted surfaces, first, remove any loose paint, and then wash off any dirt and grease with detergent (T.S.P.)

  • Roughly sand any glossy surfaces
  • Remove all dust with a damp cloth, allow to dry.

Prime:

  • Use a proper concrete Interior/Exterior Bonding Primer

Application:

  • It’s always a good practice to apply the coating when the surface and air temperatures are between 50° – 90°F (10°-32°C).
  • Stir the paint occasionally. If you are running out on one can try to “box” or intermix a new can with the old of the same product to ensure color and sheen uniformity.
  • Use a high quality 3/8″-1/2″ nap roller cover, nylon/polyester brush or an airless sprayer (.015 spray tip).
  • Coverage is 200 to 400 sq. ft. (23-37m²) per gallon depending on the surface texture, porosity and application method.
  • Apply a second coat in the opposite direction of the first.
  • Do not thin if using a roller or brush; however, if using a sprayer and thinning is required, thin with water at a rate of no more than 1/2 pint per gallon.
  • Certain colors may require more than one coat for complete hide.

Dry Time:

  • Typically dries to touch in about four hours at 77°F (25°C) and 50% humidity. Allow first coat to dry 24-48 hours before applying the second. Allow 72 hours before subjecting to normal use. The longer dry time required in cooler temperatures and in higher humidity.
  • After four weeks, cured paint film may be cleaned with a mild, non-abrasive liquid detergent.
  • Dry paint film is mildew resistant.

Clean Up:

  • Use soap and water.
  • Properly dispose of all soiled rags and protect unused product from freezing
  • To recycle or properly dispose of paint in your community call 1-800-CLEANUP (U.S.A. only) or visit www.Earth911.org.

Solid Color Concrete Stain

If you decide on painting concrete floors using a concrete stain, always go with a high-end product that is durable, water repellent, and designed to help protect and enhance both exterior and interior, vertical and horizontal concrete surfaces.

Every concrete surface is different and therefore will accept stains differently. The most critical part of staining is preparation.

Preparation:

(The following steps are recommended for best results)

  • Proper surface preparation is essential for penetration of the stain.
  • Surface must be clean and porous prior to staining.
  • Smooth concrete surfaces must be properly etched. Follow etching instructions under “New Concrete.”

New Concrete:

  • Must cure for a minimum of 30 days.
  • Remove all dirt, grease, and oil with a reliable concrete cleaner and degreaser.
  • Remove mildew stains with a proper mildew stain remover.
  • For proper penetration and adhesion to smooth, dense concrete, use a concrete etcher and rust remover.
  • Wear appropriate eye, skin and apparel protection when applying etching solution. Protect plants and other surfaces from splashing.

Tip: Use a plastic watering can to apply the etcher.

  • Working in small sections, apply solution into the surface with a stiff bristle broom. On sloped surfaces, work from the lowest point to the highest.
  • Allow etching solution to remain on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep area wet before and during etching. Scrub while rinsing thoroughly with clean water and allow to dry.

Tip: A pressure washer may be used for best results.

  • Test the surface by applying duct tape to the etched areas and pull back up. The tape must be clean and free of any concrete dust or dirt. If particles or a white residue are still present, it must be removed with additional scrubbing and rinsing with the concrete cleaner and degreaser. Check the surface for water penetration by applying a few drops of water. Water should penetrate the surface.
  • For best results, apply a concrete bonding primer.
  • Allow Concrete Bonding Primer to dry at least 8 hours before topcoating.

Aged, Uncoated Concrete:

  • Remove all dirt, grease, and oil with a reliable concrete cleaner and degreaser.
  • Remove mildew stains with a proper mildew stain remover.
  • Spot etch uncoated concrete using a concrete etcher and rust remover.
  • Spot prime uncoated concrete using a concrete bonding primer.

Painted, Stained or Sealed Concrete:

  • De-gloss old coating to promote adhesion.
  • Remove any loose or peeling paint by scraping, wire brushing or grinding.
  • For best results, follow all steps under “New Concrete” for etching and priming instructions.

Application:

  • DO NOT THIN.
  • Allow all concrete surfaces to dry completely before applying the stain. The stain will not adhere or penetrate on a wet surface.
  • When working with more than one container of the same color, “box” or intermix to ensure color uniformity.
  • Stir stain before and occasionally during application.
  • Use product when surface and air temperature is between 50-90ºF (10-32ºC).
  • Avoid applying stain in direct sunlight or to “hot” surfaces.
  • Apply a thin even coat using a 1/4″-3/8″ nap roller cover or nylon-polyester brush.
  • Apply at a spread rate of 400-600 square feet (37-56 m²) per gallon.
  • If the concrete is broken into sections, apply stain in sections for ease of application.
  • Smooth out stain with long even strokes in one direction.
  • Concrete varies in porosity, therefore, two coats may be required for uniform color appearance. Wait 24 hours before determining to apply a second coat. If a second coat is needed, apply in the opposite direction from the first coat. Note: Horizontal surfaces may be subject to premature wear, therefore, periodic touch-ups may be necessary. Retain any leftover stain for this purpose.

Dry Time:

  • Allow 24 hours before recoating or subjecting to light foot traffic.
  • Allow 72 hours before subjecting the stained surface to automobile tires. Park tires on corrugated cardboard for 14 days after applying the stain.
  • Allow all newly stained surfaces to dry for 72 hours before repositioning objects such as planter boxes and furniture.
  • Additional dry time is needed in cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

Clean Up:

  • Use soap and water.
  • After two weeks, the dry-stained surface may be cleaned with a mild, non-abrasive liquid detergent.
  • Properly dispose of all soiled rags and protect unused product from freezing.
  • To recycle or properly dispose of stain in your community call 1-800-CLEANUP (U.S.A. only) or visit www.Earth911.org.

Epoxy Floor Coating

how to paint concrete floorsPainting concrete floors with an Epoxy floor coating will provide a surface that is weather-resistant, and unharmed by rain, snow, oil, and flooding.

This resistance is due to the fact that epoxy coatings, unlike paints, come in two parts. When mixed, a catalyzing process changes these two parts from a liquid to a permanent solid.

In contrast, paints are carried in water or solvent bases that evaporate to leave the finish. If you reintroduce one of those carriers to the surface, the paint often is able to re-dissolve back into a liquid state.

You can give your concrete a showroom look using epoxy concrete floor paint. Epoxy coatings aren’t new.

They have been used for years on industrial floors because of their toughness, durability, and resistance to oil, grease, and most other chemicals that ruin the regular paint.

That’s why many mechanic’s shops and dealerships use them. In the past few years, however, it has become a growing trend for homeowners.

 

how to paint concrete floorsEpoxy concrete floor paint is a great idea for garage floors and basement floors to cover dull, gray concrete and give you attractive, easy to clean surfaces.

It prevents stains from spills and leaky automobiles and helps maintain a strong concrete surface.

It will greatly reduce the need for floor repairs down the road caused by salts and chemicals that chew up concrete.

This is what you want to see on a general note.

Advantages

Epoxy flooring has these advantages:

  • Strong adhesive properties
  • Chemical resistance
  • Water-resistance
  • Doesn’t shrink
  • Durable
  • Tough
  • Non-flammable
  • Easy to use

Disadvantages

But there can be disadvantages as well, this being one:

  • Does require that the area be unused for at least twelve hours or longer after application
  • Chemical compounds may cause irritant and/or allergic contact reactions

Where to use:

  • Interior Garage Floors protected from the sun and other interior concrete surfaces. Not for use on exterior surfaces.

Where NOT to use:

  • DO NOT apply on surfaces subject to hydrostatic pressure. All interior concrete floors are subject to possible moisture vapor rising from under the concrete, which may cause coating failure. Test for moisture by taping a 3′ x 3′ (1 x1 m) piece of plastic directly to the concrete using duct tape on all edges. Allow the plastic to set for 24 hours. If water droplets appear on the inside of the plastic or if the concrete is damp, the surface contains moisture and the floor should not be painted. Moisture problem must be corrected before coating.
  • DO NOT apply over surfaces that have been treated with a concrete sealer or waterproofer. Test the surface by dripping a small amount of water onto the surface. If water beads and continues to stay on top, it indicates that a sealer is present and the coating may not adhere. The sealer must be removed before using this product. After stripping, re-test the surface for water absorbency.
  • DO NOT use over loose or peeling previously painted surfaces. Test for loose, flaking paint by cutting an “X” in the paint with a single edge razor blade. Apply a piece of duct tape over the “X” and press firmly, then pull it off with an abrupt action. If the tape does not pull the paint from the surface, it can be coated. If the existing paint is removed, the loose paint should be removed down to a sound substrate.
  • DO NOT use over loose or damaged concrete or if concrete dust is present. If the concrete is loose, chipping (spalled), or has concrete dust present, the coating will not adhere properly. Test for loose, flaking concrete by pressing a piece of masking or cellophane tape at various places, then pull it off with an abrupt action. If the tape does not pull the concrete from the surface, it can be coated. If the existing concrete is removed, the loose concrete must be removed down to a sound substrate. Loose or damage concrete and cracks must be filled with a suitable concrete based patching material.

Preparation:

(The following steps are recommended for best results.)

For New or Uncoated Concrete

  • New concrete must cure for a minimum of 30 days.
  • The surface must be clean, dry and free of dust, dirt, grease, oil, curing agents and all other contaminants.
  • For proper penetration and adhesion of topcoat, use a concrete cleaner and etcher (sometimes included in kits).
  • Rinse surface thoroughly using a garden hose with the nozzle set in a stream pattern or pressure wash for best results. Allow the surface to dry completely.

For Previously Coated Concrete

  • Previously painted concrete may be repainted only if it has excellent adhesion to the floor.
  • Remove any loose or peeling paint by sanding (medium grit paper) or wire brushing the surface.
  • Dull glossy surfaces by scuff-sanding or using a chemical deglosser.
  • The surface must be clean, dry and free of dust, dirt, grease, oil or other contaminants. Use a concrete cleaner and etcher to clean the surface.
  • Rinse surface thoroughly using a garden hose with the nozzle set in a stream pattern. Allow the surface to dry completely.

Important:

  • The excess residue may interfere with the adhesion of the epoxy floor coating. Wipe your fingers over the clean floor to check for dust or powder. If the residue is visible on your fingers, repeat the rinsing step. Remove excess water with a squeegee or mop.
  • Note: The floor must be thoroughly cleaned, completely rinsed and dry for the coating to adhere properly to the surface.

Mixing of Floor Coating (2-part kits):

  • Pour all of PART A into PART B and stir thoroughly for at least 5 minutes or until you achieve a uniform color. The product is ready to use after mixing.
  • DO NOT leave the container in direct sunlight and keep the lid closed when the product is not in use.
  • DO NOT mix color flakes with epoxy.
  • This product must be used within 8 hours of initial mixing (pot life).

Application:

  • DO NOT THIN PRODUCT.
  • Use product when air and surface temperatures are between 50-95�F.
  • Do all trim areas first using the 2″ (50 mm) trim brush.
  • Apply an even coat using a 3/8″ nap roller cover at a spread rate not to exceed 200-250 sq. ft. per gallon (19-23 m2).
  • Maintain a wet edge to avoid lap marks.
  • While only one coat is recommended for most applications, a second coat may be applied for increased sheen and optimum performance (apply a second coat in the opposite direction from the first coat).
  • Optional: If planning to use the color decorative flakes, apply the epoxy floor coating in 3′ X 3′ (1 x 1 m) sections. Immediately toss the color flakes randomly like “rainfall” directly onto the wet painted surface. Be careful not to over-apply the number of flakes in any one area.

Dry Time:

  • Dries to touch in two hours at 77�F and 50% humidity.
  • The floor may be subjected to light foot traffic after 6-8 hours. Allow 24 hours before subjecting the surface to heavy foot traffic or repositioning furniture. Allow at least 3 days drying before subjecting the painted surface to automobile tires.
  • Additional dry time is needed in cooler temperatures and higher humidity.
  • Premature heavy traffic will cause coating failure, which may require spot recoating.
  • Wait 7 days before rinsing or cleaning with a mild detergent.

Clean Up & Disposal:

  • Clean up brushes, roller covers, and tools immediately after use with soap and water. Properly dispose of all soiled rags. For disposal of empty containers and unused paint, contact your household refuse collection service.

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