Paint Concrete in 6 Steps
Turning a basement into a rec room for the kids can seem as easy as paint and go. Not true. Painting concrete is more complicated than drywall, but you can do it. Here is how to paint concrete in 5 steps.
Because concrete is porous and breathes, moisture can be an issue. It will also suck up paint more than you can plan for. The project will take a day or two to paint, but the completion could take a week or so. Here’s what you’ll want to do.
1. Wash the area.
Because concrete has pores, it will trap grease, dirt and oil within it. Cleaning it thoroughly will ensure a good finished project. Use a wash to remove the grease and dirt that includes trisodium phosphate which will be available at your local paint or hardware store.
2. Remove any growth.
Most concrete areas will have wandering plants or vines making a home in them. Start yanking them out to remove as much as you can. Use a pressure washer or pliers to get the remaining roots and dirt.
3. Remove the efflorescence.
Efflorescence is a naturally occurring powder that forms on concrete. It will need to be cleaned off before you can move forward. Use a product like Krud Kutter Concrete Clean. If that’s not cutting it, try a phosphoric acid masonry cleaner.
4. Seal concrete.
Water will move easily through concrete. To stop that, you will have to seal it. This will keep moisture from coming in or out, growing mold and ultimately ruining your paint. Get a masonry sealer to avoid this. Most of them will come with the added benefit of patching cracks. Follow the directions from the manufacturer. Most will take several days after application to cure fully.
5. Prime the concrete.
Next you will need a concrete primer. It will fill in pores and even out the surface texture and color. While your primer will need most of a day to dry, don’t wait more than 30 days to finish the job because the primer will lose adhesion abilities.
Choose an elastomeric paint, or masonry paint to put down. It contains binders that will allow it to contract and expand with the concrete without cracking and peeling. Masonry paint can have tint put in it to match your decor. It’s much thicker than a regular paint and will require a masonry brush, high-capacity roller or texture roller. Do not try to use a sprayer because the paint will clog it. Since the paint is very thick, you will need to allow a day for drying between coats, and should plan to do two to three.