Concrete is a form of artificial stone that has been used as a building material since 500 BC. It is the most frequently used construction material in the world today. Concrete is made by mixing water, cement and various aggregates such as sand and gravel together to produce a strong, gray material. Many home floors, basements and sometimes even walls are made of concrete.
Though versatile, sturdy and common concrete is not the most lovely building material of them all. Its plain jane, gray appearance is often thought ugly and boring by homeowners. Even worse, over time concrete can dimple, scuff and stain making it look even worse or simply dirty. A solution to beautify and personalize any concrete surface is to paint it. However improperly painting concrete can result in blistering, flaking paint that is even less attractive than the original concrete was thought to be. Painting concrete requires special paint and sealants to achieve a long lasting and affordable finish as well as ample prep work.
This simple step by step guide will instruct you how to paint concrete while offering tips for a trouble-free job from preparation to perfect.
Preparing to Paint Concrete:
Depending on the current condition of your concrete surface the items necessary to paint it may vary. Concrete that has not been previously painted or treated is less work to paint. New concrete should not be painted within twenty-eight days of being poured and will need to be etched and sealed before painting. This project will take you probably about half a day depending on the size of your floor and cost around fifty to one hundred US dollars. Doing this project in one day is recommended or some prep work may have to be re-done. Be sure to keep your room well ventilated and wear proper safety material as instructed on any product you are using. Face masks are a common requirement for concrete sealant for example.
In all cases you will need:
-Shop Vacuum cleaner
-Concrete primer if not combined with paint
-Roller preferably with extender
-Tri sodium phosphate
Optional for comfort:
-Knee pads or kneeling pad
In the case of previously painted floors you will also need:
-Sander or Sand paper
For damaged floors add:
Preparing concrete for painting takes time. First, empty the room in the case of floors or remove items from walls. The first step is to clean the surface. In the case of walls, simply clean them with a mop and bucket. For floors or walls with existing paint, it can be removed before cleaning. To remove paint use the paint scraper for loose areas and sand away the rest. You do need to remove the majority the previous paint from the surface especially any damaged areas. Vacuum or sweep away any debris and wash the area.
Next, inspect the surface for damage. The surface needs to be dry so watch closely for any water leaking especially in garages and basements. In the event of cracks or holes, use the concrete patch to repair them. (Follow direction for your particular product)
Now the surface needs a final cleaning with tri sodium phosphate to remove any grease or oils from the surface. Again, follow the directions on your particular product, rinse, and allow to dry completely.
Finally tape any surfaces you don’t want paint on for instance window frames in the case of walls or walls in the case of flooring.
Now that your surface is prepared its time to start the painting process, most experts feel you should follow the pattern, seal, prime, paint, seal. You can however skip the first seal if you wish and it likely is not necessary on walls.
To seal the floor make sure it is clean and then use a paintbrush to cut in the surface. This means to cover 2-3 inches around the edges of the area. Then fill in the center, with sealant is important not to lay down too much at a time as excess sealant can bubble producing an improper seal. Follow the directions on your particular sealant in regards to drying time.
Once dry you can now prime the surface. Many cement paints actually have the primer mixed in. If yours is you can skip the priming step. Apply the primer if needed in the same manner as the sealant, cut in and then finish.
When the primer coat is dry (if necessary) you can begin painting this process I again the same as described in the sealant step, cut in and finish. Allow to dry and repeat a second layer.
The final step is another layer of sealant, this is to keep your paint from being damaged and may not be necessary on walls. With all steps if painting flooring remember not to paint, seal or prime yourself into a corner work towards an exit.