This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.
There is no reason to be content with a dull gray concrete patio, as there is a way to learn how to paint concrete patios. While this is an incredibly labor-intensive DIY project, painting your concrete porch is an excellent way of livening up the exterior of your home. There are also plenty of colors to choose from, and if you want to add your own design to it, you can do that too. Below, we will take a closer look at how you can start painting outdoor concrete!
Table of Contents
- 1 The Benefits of Painting Concrete Patios
- 2 Preparing the Surface
- 3 Painting
- 4 Finishing
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
The Benefits of Painting Concrete Patios
You are likely wondering why you should spend the time and money on learning how to paint concrete patios. The answer is as simple as you have expected, as the new look will make a tremendous difference to your home.
Not only will you finally be rid of the dull concrete, but you will also cover any stains that you could not remove with conventional cleaning methods.
It used to be very difficult to get the desired finish when painting front porch surfaces. However, these days exterior concrete paint is incredibly durable, while being able to hide minor imperfections on the surface. Learning how to do the job yourself is a great way to save money and it can be very rewarding to see the results of your labor.
The Materials and Tools Needed to Paint Concrete Patios
Learning how to paint concrete patios on your own is going to be challenging. While it is not a difficult project, it is incredibly labor-intensive and you will need around 120+ hours to get the job done properly.
Additionally, the total cost of the materials that you would need should be around $200, but you should be able to get them for cheaper if you shop around. However, it would be better to spend a bit more on high-quality materials, as these would allow you to do a better job. You will need the following:
- Concrete sealant
- Slip-resistant concrete paint additive
- Exterior concrete floor paint
- Exterior concrete floor paint base coat
- Masonry and concrete primer
- Painter’s tape
- Muriatic acid
- Concrete caulk sealant
- Degreasing soap
- Measuring tape
- Stencil (optional for a design)
- Small paintbrush
- Paint roller
- Wooden spoon
- Plastic sprayer
- Face mask
- Stiff bristle brush
- Pressure washer
- Leaf blower or clean broom
Preparing the Surface
We understand that you may be eager to learn how to paint concrete porch surfaces, but it is crucial that you take your time with preparing the surface. Preparing the surface will ensure that you get the best finish and this not only applies to painting concrete, but any other surfaces too.
Thoroughly Clean the Concrete Surface
The first stage in the concrete painting procedure is to thoroughly clean the surface. Remove any decor and furnishings before sweeping up loose material with a brush or you can use a leaf blower if you have one lying around.
If you happen to have a pressure washer, it would make removing any moss, grime, grease, or oil much easier. If your machine is compatible, use a degreasing detergent to get rid of stubborn stains.
If you do not have a pressure washer it is not the end of the world, instead, rinse the surface of the concrete with water and scrub it thoroughly using a firm bristle brush and more of the same detergent. Once you have completed this step, completely rinse the surface and allow the concrete to fully dry before moving on.
Repair Any Cracks or Damage on the Patio
If you find any small cracks in the surface of the concrete, it is best that you fix them with a specific concrete caulk sealer. Allow a minimum of 24 hours for the caulk to cure before adding anything else.
When the caulk has dried, use a stiff bristle brush to get rid of any remaining caulk residue. Once this is done, it would be a good idea to use coarse-grit sandpaper to get rid of rough spots on the surface.
If you have significant damage to your concrete porch that cannot be repaired using caulk, you might want to reach out to a nearby concrete repair specialist. If repairs are not addressed, your paint job might not last for as long as you desire.
Apart from the durability issues, you will also have a surface that does not look very good once it has been painted. Repairs are an important part of any painting process and you should never neglect this part of the project.
Etching the Concrete Surface
Before you apply a coat of primer, it would be a good idea to etch the concrete surface. This will prevent the primer from soaking into the surface of the concrete while improving the adhesion to the surface. This is done with muriatic acid, so it will also remove any previously applied coatings.
Keep in mind that you will need to use protective layers such as goggles, gloves, and a face mask, as the fumes are incredibly strong.
Furthermore, you should never get this onto your skin as it can cause dermatitis. Use a plastic sprayer to apply the acid and let it sit on the concrete for 10 minutes. Once completed, you can use water to gently rinse it from the surface.
Apply a Concrete Primer to the Surface
As is the case with all paint projects, you will need to apply a coat of primer. However, the process will take longer when learning how to paint concrete patios. Painting concrete involves multiple layers of primer as well as paint, each of which must fully dry before you can apply the next coat.
With that in mind, keep an eye on your local forecast for a period of three to four days of warm and dry weather.
Before priming, the concrete surface must have been fully dry for 24 hours. Painting concrete involves multiple layers of primer as well as paint, each of which must fully dry before you can move on to the step of applying the next coat.
Apply painter’s tape on all surfaces you don’t want to get paint on before you begin. Clean up any material that has accumulated overnight using a leaf blower or a clean broom. Cover the entire surface with a concrete and masonry primer using a paint roller. After approximately an hour, it will dry with a transparent finish, but when applied it will be white. Cover any areas that your roller cannot reach with a paintbrush.
It is a good idea to start from the rear of the porch outward to avoid accidentally trapping yourself in a corner.
Sand the Surface
Once you have allowed the primer to fully cure, you should use fine-grit sandpaper to ensure that the surface gets a smooth finish. If you like, you could also progressively increase how fine the sandpaper is. This will allow you to get the smoothest possible finish.
This can very quickly become a tedious task, so be sure to take regular breaks and work in sections.
This is one of the most important parts of the process and you will need to take your time with this. Most people would find painting to be enjoyable, while others would consider it to be a tedious process. Regardless of your perspective, it is crucial that you do whatever it takes to do the best job possible.
Choose the Right Paint for the Job
Because you are going to be painting concrete in an outside environment, you cannot simply use any paint. Regular exterior paint would most likely fracture and flake off a concrete surface quickly after application. There are various paints that will work on your outdoor concrete porch, including:
- Garage floor coatings: These are often manufactured with colorful additives that will not only decorate your concrete patio but will also serve as a valuable protective layer.
- Masonry paint: These paints have added epoxies and binders that bond extremely well with concrete. However, this type of paint is not as durable as other options as it does not withstand the elements very well.
- Latex, oil-based, or water-based exterior paint: These paints, specifically those designed for porches, patios, and floors are an excellent choice. They will withstand regular foot traffic as well as exposure to extreme weather.
- Concrete paint: This is one of the best options as it contains sealants along with other waterproofing features. It is designed for outdoor concrete and has a resistance to a variety of elements and substances. The majority of concrete porch paint, as well as patio paints, are heavy-duty acrylic latex formulations that are excellent at disguising small flaws and discolorations. These water-based paints come in a wide range of conventional and bespoke colors, as well as gloss, satin, and matte finishes.
Consider the color of your house’s exterior and the color of your patio furniture when deciding on a color for your patio. Of course, you could always just focus on your house, as patio furniture can always be changed. Bring color samples to the paint store so you may compare your current décor to your paint options.
Never be scared to seek assistance from a paint professional.
How Much Paint to Use
Once you have decided on the type of paint you are going to use, it’s necessary to do some simple math to figure out the amount of paint you are going to require to paint the patio surface. Check the paint can or the manufacturer’s website to see how much coverage each can offers, and then compare it to the square footage of your concrete patio.
Just in case you did not know, square footage is calculated by multiplying the length by the width of the space under consideration. It is no problem if your patio is not completely square or rectangular, as all you need is a rough notion of the space you’ll be covering. Keep in mind that you will need to consider the amount of coats you will be applying.
Apply the Paint to the Patio
Now that you have the perfect weather and the necessary tools and materials, it is time to start painting. Apply the paint in the same manner as you did with the primer. Allow your first full application to dry for 12 to 24 hours before repeating the method with a second coat.
You can add a slip-resistant compound to the paint you use on paths, steps, and various other high-traffic areas if you desire.
To prevent running into issues during the painting process, it is a good idea to paint in sections. Mentally map out an area to start with and paint large squares to ensure even coverage. Once you have covered the entire area, allow the first coat to dry for a minimum of six hours, but the more time you allow it to dry, the better.
Applying a Second and Third Coat
Repeat the previous steps. To finish the coat, use a smaller paintbrush around fragile or challenging edges and a bigger brush or roller. Apply as many layers as necessary to create the appropriate depth of color for your patio. Typically, two or three layers are required.
To guarantee consistent coverage, apply each fresh application in the opposite direction from the previous one.
Once you have applied the paint, you need to let it dry for 24 hours before you can walk across the surface. However, we suggest that you wait a minimum of seven days before you decide to replace your patio furniture.
Adding a Design
Feel free to add a little sparkle to your porch. To add character to your porch or patio, use a stencil to create a painted design with an alternate paint color.
Find the middle of your porch using a measuring tape, then place your stencil square within that area.
Using painter’s tape on the corners to keep the stencil in place, gently dip the tip of the brush or roller into the paint. Then wipe any leftover paint on a disposable surface. Lightly paint across the stencil, being careful not to let excess paint flow below. A paint sprayer might be useful in this situation. There are several designs to choose from if you wish to use something that has been proven to look good.
Pick up the stencil then line it up in the following bare space after you have stenciled an area. Rep until the area is completely covered. Your stencil may include a smaller stencil for touch-ups and filling in edge gaps where the bigger stencil would not fit. Take time for the stencil design to cure according to the paint label guidelines.
We always recommend that you do some basic cleaning after painting, especially when it comes to your supplies. The last thing you need is for your paintbrushes and rollers to be hardened by the paint.
Cleaning dried paint on brushes is a nightmare, but soaking them in laundry detergent overnight may help. Additionally, it is good to fall into the habit of cleaning and putting things away once you have finished using them.
A clear concrete sealer applied to a painted concrete patio will extend the life of your paint job by giving extra defense from abrasion, moisture, and stains. Although a sealer is not necessary, it is an excellent choice for painted concrete that has been exposed to severe weather conditions, as well as heavy foot traffic.
Apply a water-based acrylic sealer meant for external usage for the best results, and make sure that it is suitable for the paint that you are using.
One of the benefits of using a concrete sealer is that It will not hurt your floor and will make cleaning easier. However, it is important to note that it may make your porch somewhat more slick when it rains. The application of sealant is similar to that of primer and paint. Whether you seal your concrete floor or not, wait 48 hours for the patio to dry completely before reintroducing your furniture and accessories.
What Happens If You Do Not Apply Concrete Sealer?
If you fail to seal your concrete, you are going to experience a lot of difficulties. Remember that while concrete is an extremely hard and long-lasting material, it is nevertheless permeable. Concrete contains capillaries as well as pores that allow debris, mildew, mold, and moisture to enter.
Unsealed concrete is vulnerable to freeze-thaw attack. Unsealed concrete left outdoors in a cold environment is vulnerable to water infiltration and freezing. The important thing to know here is that water expands as it freezes. This expansion can result in spalling, pitting, and cracking in the concrete, which will all be left behind after the ice melts. Concrete suffers greatly from the freeze-thaw cycle.
Types of Concrete Sealers
There are generally two types of concrete sealers that are used, namely penetrating sealers and topical sealers. Topical sealers provide a transparent film across the upper layer of concrete, acting as the greatest physical protection for the surface. This transparent protective covering prevents stains, dirt, chemicals, and moisture from penetrating the concrete.
The durability of a sealer on concrete is determined by the exposure circumstances as well as the chemical makeup of the sealer product.
The quantity of active solids has a significant impact on the sealer’s resilience and lifespan. The additives aid in adhesion and the manner in which the sealer distributes across the concrete. All of these elements form a component of the formulation, which determines the overall endurance of the sealant.
Learning how to paint concrete patios is a great way to add a fresh look to your patio. Doing it yourself will allow you to save some money on labor costs; however, this is a project that takes a very long time to finish. Fortunately, it is not too difficult and you can even get creative with a unique design if you wish. We hope that you have learned enough to feel confident to tackle this project on your own. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Paint to Use for Painting Front Porch Areas With Concrete?
Naturally, you would need to use a durable exterior paint, such as an acrylic latex blend, that also has non-slip features. Not only will this paint last a long time, as you will be walking over it, but it will also prevent you from slipping on the painted concrete when it gets wet. You will also have access to a variety of finishes such as semi-gloss, satin, and eggshell, along with different colors for painting concrete patio surfaces.
Is It Possible to Paint Over Old Existing Paint When Painting Outdoor Concrete?
While it is possible, we would suggest that you remove as much of the existing paint as possible. This will allow you to get the best results, and for a smoother finish with a better surface for the paint, it would be best to add a coat of primer before.
What Is the Best Method of Learning How to Paint Concrete Porch Surfaces?
It is possible to use a paintbrush for this project; however, this will take forever. Instead, using a paint roller will be the best method for painting concrete patio surfaces. We recommend using a roller with a 3/4-inch nap, which is essentially a fabric paint roller cover. A thick nap will hold much more paint that will seep into the crevices on the floor.
Robert Thompson has worked as a self-employed carpenter for over 15 years. He lives with his family in Billings, Montana, where he also successfully operates his business as a woodworker. His main business is the complete interior construction of buildings. He is also passionate about creating high-quality wood furniture with epoxy and other items made from burl wood. Besides the woodwork, Robert is also a skilled DIY professional for all kinds of materials. He always has a solution ready for every craft and construction challenge. Originally, Robert studied civil engineering and has advanced degrees in carpentry and business management. Robert has been working for Craft Art since 2020 and enriches the blog with his immense knowledge and skills in the field of woodworking and home improvement. He writes the articles about DIY and Repair.