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Simple Steps for Preparing Concrete for Painting

10 Simple Steps for Preparing Concrete for Painting


You can dress up just about anything with a coat of paint. Yet, many homeowners hesitate to bring new life to a porch or entryway because it’s concrete. The truth is, you don’t have to settle for a stained, chipped, or just bland entry. Preparing concrete for painting is the key to great results in updating your concrete porch or entryway.

That’s because any imperfections you don’t deal with before the paint hits the floor can wind up showing through the paint, or even worse, preventing a perfect bond. Master these simple steps the pros use for preparing concrete for painting, and you’ll get great results in this home improvement project.

Preparing New Concrete for Painting

If your concrete is new, allow it to cure for at least 30 days. Even longer, up to 90 days, is ideal to ensure the pH will be at the proper level to allow it to bond with the paint. But if you have new concrete in great shape, you’ll be able to skip a lot of prep work, including scraping old paint, filling cracks, sanding, and degreasing. A quick wash and dry, and you’ll be good to go.

Here’s How to Prepare Concrete for Painting

1. Remove ALL your stuff

Plants, furniture, mats, etc., need to be stowed away. If you have hanging plants, we recommend taking those down for now, too. This will prevent dirt, water, or leaves from landing on your concrete surface.

Cover Your PlantsCover Your Plants

2. Cover your shrubs

This quick and easy step will protect your landscape from debris and any chemicals you may need to use to clean the concrete. While you’re there, trim any overhanging branches or ones touching the concrete.

3. Plan the whole project

If you’re going to paint metal or wooden railings, clean and prep them now. By doing that now, you won’t have clean your concrete a second time.

4. Scrape, brush, and sand

Scrape off anything loose or sticky with a flat scraper. If there is existing paint, remove as much as you can with a wire brush and then sand the edge of any remaining paint spots. If you are dealing with paint, see the critical safety note at the end of this article.

5. Sweep debris

It’s always good to clean as you go, so sweep up now before you use any fillers.

6. Patch

Use concrete compound filler to fill in all holes, scratches, chips, and gouges in the concrete. After allowing sufficient dry time, sand the repaired areas until they are smooth.

Washing ConcreteWashing Concrete

7. Clean and rinse

This is a critical step to ensure a good bond between the paint and the concrete. Its complexity depends on what’s on your concrete.

  • Stains: Remove these with a degreasing solution.
  • Rust spots: Apply a rust removal solution created specifically for use on masonry.
  • Dirt, mold, and mildew: Apply a solution of water and TSP. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective gear. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. You may notice some bubbling.

Thoroughly hose off the concrete, washing away any chemicals and debris. Do this several times to ensure a completely clean surface. If you already have a pressure washer, you can certainly use it but renting or buying one is not necessary for great results.

8. Let the surface dry

Depending on the weather, a concrete floor can take up to two days to dry completely, so be patient! If your surface is not totally dry, you may end up with bubbles in the paint or peeling down the road.

9. Check the texture

After your concrete is dry, run your hand over the surface. It should feel like sandpaper. Make sure the texture of the surface, especially any patched areas, is consistent.

Painting ConcretePainting Concrete

10. Tape

Use painter’s tape and paper to protect any areas you won’t be painting.

McCoy’s Is Your Source for All Your Painting Needs

Check out your local McCoy’s for a great selection of all the supplies you need for a perfect paint job. Spend the time on the prep work, and you’ll find you get results like the pros do. Need advice on what products to use to prepare your concrete for painting and start your porch or entryway project? We’re happy to help you select the right supplies and paints to create a porch that will make you want to stop and stay awhile.

Safety AlertIf your concrete was painted initially prior to 1978, you’ll not only have some really old paint, you may also have a safety hazard. That’s because it may have been coated with lead paint. If you scrape or sand this paint, you may release lead dust or fumes, which can cause serious illness. Check the guidelines provided by the National Lead Information Center for advice on how to proceed.