Can You Paint Concrete? The Ultimate Guide


A common question we hear is, “can you paint concrete? “Yes, you can paint concrete to give it a new lease of life instead of endless shades of grey. If you don’t want a fresh colour, it’s still worthwhile to reduce the amount of dust.

However, concrete is porous, meaning it isn’t the easiest surface to paint. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide on how to paint concrete to achieve a perfect finish.

What kind of paint can be used on concrete?

For best results, use specialist concrete paints rather than standard retail paint. Epoxy paints are an ideal choice for painting new and old bare concrete floors as they provide a smooth and durable finish. For walls, we recommend a quality masonry paint.

We’re often asked, “Can I spray paint concrete?” and the answer is yes, you can if you are using a single pack floor paint. Concrete paints, such as hard-wearing epoxy coatings are to be applied using a brush or roller.

Different concrete paints are better suited to certain areas. For stairs, you may want to choose a non-slip paint that gives a textured finish for better grip. For anywhere outdoors, it’s worth picking an exterior paint that offers UV protection and can withstand the elements.

It’s worth taking some time to find the best paint for the area. You need to make sure it will bind with the porous surface of concrete, especially if you’re planning on painting directly onto the surface.

Can you paint directly onto concrete?

Yes, you can paint directly onto concrete, but you will need to do some prep beforehand to get the best results. Spending a little extra time at the start will help to keep your newly painted surface looking fresher for longer. It’s particularly important if you’re painting an area that experiences heavy traffic, such as a garage floor.

If you’re applying the paint directly, you’ll need to do at least two coats. Mix the first coat with a thinner, usually around 20%, but check the label for full details. A lot of the first coat will soak into the porous surface and look uneven, but think of it as a primer. An extra coat or two will ensure even results.

How do you prep concrete for painting?

Prepping a floor is a simple job if you follow these steps

Clean the concrete. Grease and grime sit in the porous surface and can bleed into the paint, preventing it from adhering and possibly altering the colour. Sweep away loose dirt and dust. Depending on the contamination, you can apply a descaling acid otherwise known as concrete cleaner.
Remove any old paint using an appropriate stripper, wire brush or sandpaper. It’s a bit of a chore but worth it for the best results.
Patch holes and sand them down when dry. Paint will only cover so much, so you want to start with a smooth surface.

Leave it to fully dry.

Applying Paint to Concrete

When your surface is prepped and dry, you’re ready to paint. For freshly laid concrete, give it three months to fully dry before painting.

If you are painting bare concrete, you will need to thin the first coat by 20% with the appropriate thinner. If you are using a two pack epoxy paint, add thinner after the paint has been catalysed.

Once you’ve applied the first coat, leave it to dry completely before painting again. You’re probably wondering, “how long does floor paint take to dry on concrete?” and there’s no set answer. It depends on the paint, but leaving it 12-24 hours before applying the next coat is the general rule of thumb.

When you’re finished, ensure the paint is fully cured by leaving it 3-4 days before walking on it, and 7 days before placing furniture and fittings back in place.

A Concrete Finish

We hope our guide on how to paint concrete has answered your question, “can you paint concrete?” and given you some tips for your next project.

At TA Industrial Paints, our team is always on hand to offer advice and answer any paint queries. Call us today on 01902 428498 or use our contact form to get in touch.