Painting a concrete floor can change a dull gray surface so that it becomes a part of a home’s design and can help protect the floor from regular wear and tear. The best tips for painting concrete floors are thoroughly cleaning and degreasing the floor, being sure there is no moisture in the concrete, treating the floor with an acid etcher, using the correct type of paint for concrete and applying two coats of sealer after the floor is done. Painting concrete floors takes time and effort, so having the time to do the job properly is essential.
Before any paint can be applied to a concrete surface, it must be thoroughly cleaned and degreased. There are a number of degreasers available for this kind of cleaning. If there are large grease stains on the floor, these can be partially absorbed by kitty litter and then scrubbed out with trisodium phosphate. After the floor is cleaned, it should be completely rinsed and allowed to dry for several days prior to painting.
Checking for moisture in the concrete before attempting to paint it is another good tip. One way to test for moisture is by taping down several large pieces of plastic over the floor so that it forms an airtight seal. The sheets can be left overnight and checked for any condensation in the morning. If there is moisture in the floor, it will need to be resealed before it can be painted.
Before a plain concrete floor can become a painted concrete floor, it must have the proper texture. Paint will not adhere to a floor that is smooth and not very porous. An acid etcher is an excellent way to ready the concrete for paint. The etcher will make the surface of the floor rough like sandpaper so that paint will adhere to the floor. After the acid etcher has been used, the floor should be completely cleaned and rinsed to ensure that no acid remains on the floor before it is painted.
Painting concrete floors can’t happen without the proper paint. There are many paints that are compatible with concrete. For an easy-to-clean finish on the painted concrete, an epoxy-based paint is a smart choice. Sand can be mixed into the epoxy to make it more of a non-slip surface, but it will make the floors more difficult to clean.
Paint should be applied to the floor in thin, even layers. A brush, roller or paint compressor will work for applying the paint. The paint should fully dry before the next coat is added. Paint often looks lighter coming out of the can than it does on the finished, painted concrete floor, so the painter should keep that in mind when applying the paint.
The final step in painting concrete floors is applying a sealer. A coat or two of a quality sealer will help protect the newly painted concrete and save on maintenance of the paint for years to come. Sealers can be fairly noxious, so the area should be kept well ventilated when the sealer is applied.
Stained concrete floors are an alternative to painted concrete. The process of applying the stain is almost the same as the process for painting concrete floors, with the obvious difference being that concrete stain is used instead of concrete paint. Stained concrete floors also benefit from having a coating of wax applied after the sealer. Protective clothing such as goggles and gloves should be worn when one is staining concrete, because the stain is much more difficult to remove from other surfaces than concrete paint is.