How to Use Paint to Revive Stained Concrete
A simple coat of paint is all it takes to give ugly concrete a whole new life. Use these steps to revive concrete walkways and stairs.
Concrete is a building material that is both durable and affordable. But what can you do about all that gray? You can paint or stain it! Whether it’s concrete steps, a walkway, walls, or a garage floor, they can all be updated with paint. This is an especially effective option for stained or damaged concrete where the patched areas stand out. A simple coat of paint blends the entire section and helps disguise the patched spots for a clean, finished look.
Interested in painting your concrete? Be sure to take the preparation steps seriously, as your results will depend on how clean and smooth you get the surface before painting.
• Brush with stiff bristles
• Putty knife
• Pole sander
• Roller or paintbrush
• Safety equipment, including gloves and mask
• Vacuum (if working indoors)
• Tack cloth (if needed)
• Concrete patch compound
• Concrete cleaner, degreaser and etcher
• Concrete sealing primer
• Painters tape
• Skid-resistant concrete paint
• Grit additive (if needed)
Step One: Clean Concrete
Remove the loose concrete and other debris from any problem spots using a brush with stiff bristles. If the project area is outside, then pull out any weeds or vegetation growing in the cracks of the concrete as well. If the concrete is especially dirty and needs a deeper cleaning, break out the powerwasher and remove all the grime. Allow the concrete to dry out thoroughly before advancing to the next step.
Step Two: Patch Cracks & Holes
Use concrete compound to patch any cracks or small holes. Apply it to the damaged areas with a putty knife, then let it cure. Be sure to read the instructions on the packaging first. The application does not have to be perfect, as you’ll be sanding next.
Step Three: Sand Surface
Use sandpaper on any lumps, bumps or rough areas. You can work quicker and more comfortably by affixing the sandpaper to a cheap pole sander. Your goal should be to get the surface of the concrete as smooth as possible. If your project area is indoors, use a vacuum to clean up the sanding dust. Always wear a dust mask, gloves and safety glasses.
Step Four: Prep for Paint
Once sanded smooth, prepare the area further by applying a concrete cleaner, degreaser, and etcher. If needed, spray off the concrete with your powerwasher one more time before moving to this step. Make certain you read the labels and manufacturer’s instructions before applying so you know the drying time, and if the product is a 2-in-1 or all-in-one solution. In other words, you may not have to apply all three solutions separately if they are included in one product. Remember, wearing appropriate protective gear is a must when working with harsh chemicals.
Step Five: Prime & Paint
It’s finally time to paint. But before you do, take a look at the weather forecast to ensure that any outdoor painting will have sufficient time to dry. Next, apply sealing primer to any rust spots and let them dry. Because of concrete’s highly porous nature, it’s essential that you do not skip over priming the concrete or your paint won’t stick. There are paint products with primer in them for those interested in saving time. If not, apply the primer, let it dry, and then apply the paint. Depending on the project, you may want to choose a non-skid paint or include a non-skid grit additive to the final coat for better traction. If you’re painting right up to the edge of another structure, cover the base in painters tape so you don’t get paint on it.
Note: Fresh concrete cannot be painted. It typically takes a month or two for concrete to be ready to paint.