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What Kind Of Paint Can Be Used On Concrete?

Surface painting could be a very satisfying and rewarding activity. However, like every other DIY activity, it could get very sticky and frustrating. Especially if the wrong type of paint is used on the wrong surface. In other words, different kinds of surfaces, like porcelain, concrete, drywall, metal, and so on, yield better results with specific types of paints. 

Since you’ve decided on painting your concrete surface yourself, instead of hiring the services of a professional painter, you have to determine the type of paint(s) that work best with it. This brings us to the question, what kind of paint can be used on concrete?

Before we continue with that issue, three materials are very important in surface painting. They are very important because they define the final outlook of your painted surface. Since you will come across them often in this post, it is only proper that we give a little description of what these materials are and what they are used for.

Painting Undertones For Concrete Floor

  • Primer paint
  • Sealer paint
  • Undercoat paint

a. Primer paint: 

Primer paint is  applied directly on to the surface you are about to paint. It protects against moisture and dirt on a concrete. Generally, primers are very important when it comes to surface painting. Applying primer paint on a steel surface helps prevent the steel from rusting. This feature makes it particularly crucial in painting wooden surfaces, especially where the nail heads are visible.

Once the primer has been applied, the nail heads are protected from rusting giving the wood surface a polished and brilliant finish. This ability of primers to prevent rusting is because they contain anti-corrosive ingredients that can even prevent mold from sprouting out of wood.

However, the main function of the primer is to provide good adhesion between the concrete surface and the top layer of the paint. The primer also helps to prevent the paint from sinking into the concrete surface. 

b. Sealer paint:

In a situation where you don’t have easy access to primer paint, sealer paint can work as a good substitute. However, the primary function of a sealer paint is to give the surface a strong adhesion to the new paint or the primer paint. In other words, while the sealer paint can be a suitable substitute for the primer, it can also serve as a “primer” to the primer paint.

A great advantage of sealers is that they can enhance an old surface, making it fit for painting again. Also, in a case where you’re working with a porous surface, a sealer is guaranteed to make your job easier. Sealer paints are also used after painting to protect the painted surface from stains as well as fading.

c. Undercoat paint:

After priming or sealing your concrete surface, another option is to apply the undercoat paint. The undercoat paint improves the adhesion between the primer/sealer and the top layer of the paint. By so doing, it enhances the functions of the primers and sealers by locking out moisture and dirt from the concrete surface. 

Now back to the question, what kind of paint can be used on concrete surfaces? 

Eventually, there are about five different kinds of paints that can be suitable for coating a concrete surface. Let’s take a look at them. 

What Kind Of Paint Can Be Used On Concrete?

1. Masonry Paint: 

Masonry paint, also known as elastomeric wall paint or coating, is a special kind of paint, designed primarily for concrete surfaces. It can be used on other surfaces. Masonry paints are available in a variety of different colors meant to give beauty to the surface as well as protect it. It is made up of binders that make it possible for the paint to swell and shrink as the concrete expands and contracts with temperature changes. This helps prevent premature peeling of the paint and makes it last longer. In fact, most masonry paints are guaranteed to last up to 15 years. 

Before applying your masonry paint on the concrete surface, it is required that you apply a coat of primer on the surface first (as an undercoat). The primer serves as an additional binding agent and a protective undercoat for the masonry paint. Once you’ve applied your primer, allow it to dry, and finally proceed with your masonry paint. 

2. Two-stage Epoxy Floor Covering: 

If you crave a surface paint, with extra quality for your concrete floor, then you could consider the two-stage epoxy floor paint. This paint adds great aesthetic value to concrete floor surfaces, as they contain clusters of colorful bits that add depth to the surface. 

In applying the two-stage epoxy floor paint, the first thing to do is to mix the paint. However, you must use all of the paint as it quickly hardens if left without use after it has been opened. After painting, leave it to dry for at least twenty-four hours if you are going to walk on it or for three days if you are going to drive on it. 

3. Epoxy Terrazzo Paints: 

These paints are mainly for aesthetic purposes rather than protection. Epoxy terrazzo coating contains small pieces of granite or marble infused into it which gives the painted floor a mosaic-like design. It is advised to employ the services of a floor polisher to shine the painted surface when it is dry. This special coat can be used to create geometric designs in the home. 

4. One-Step Sealing and Priming Coat: 

Many people do not like the idea of having to seal and prime concrete surfaces separately. This is where the one-step sealing and priming coat comes in handy. This coat works just like a primer that also seals concrete. However, be careful to remove grease, oil, and other impurities from the concrete surface before application as these mess up the primer or paint adhesion. 

5. Concrete Colour Stain: 

There are basically two varieties of this stain. There are the water-based concrete stains and the acid-based concrete stains. The water-based stains permanently change the surface color of the concrete. On the other hand, the acid-based stains react with the concrete surface and change its color.

Also, water-based stains offer a wide variety of colors that you can choose from. It is advised to always apply a sealant to the water-based stain after it sets, to eliminate the risk of fading. 

Eventually, among the five options given above, the choice of which one to use is entirely yours to make. Once you have chosen which kind of paint to use, you must prepare your concrete surface for painting. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare your concrete surface for painting. 

Preparing Your Concrete Surface For Painting

a. A clean surface is easier to paint: 

The first thing you have to do before you paint any surface at all is to clean it thoroughly. Use a damp cloth to eliminate accumulated dust and dirt from the surface. If the surface is too dirty, consider washing it thoroughly with mild soap and water. This ensures that the surface is free from any impurity that may hamper the bonding of the paint to the surface. Leave it to dry properly. 

b. Take off loose paints:

If the surface was painted before, then you must use a paint scraper to remove some loose paint (it may not be possible to remove all, but make sure you remove as much as you can). This is necessary because the previous paints may contribute to the unevenness of the surface you are about to paint. 

c. Fill them all up:

Take note of holes and cracks on your concrete surface. Make sure you fill all of them with mortar to make the surface regular. The mortar must be left to dry properly before any paint is applied to the surface. 

d. Prime and Seal:

Apply your primer/sealer to the surface using a paintbrush followed by your undercoat paint (optional). These help to give maximum results for your effort. After painting it is advised to use sealer paint on the painted surface to prevent fading. 

Concrete Painting Guidelines

  • If you are done with the guidelines above, then the next thing to do is to start painting. 
  • If you are painting your home’s interior, ensure that you move away from all furniture that may be affected if the paint splatters. Use plastic sheeting to cover doors, windows, and light bulbs to protect them from paint splashes. 
  • Don’t forget to wear an apron or drop cloth to protect your clothing. 
  • Apply the paint on the concrete surface and wait for it to dry. 
  • Once it is dry, you can then pat yourself on the back for a job well done and enjoy the new feel of your room as well as the delightful comments from your friends and neighbors.