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How to Paint Concrete Floors

Steps for painting new or aged concrete

By Jan Soults Walker

Concrete isn't naturally pretty, but it can look terrific with the right treatment. Here's how to transform your concrete floor with paint, whether it's in the kitchen, basement, garage, or outside on the porch or patio.

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As long as your concrete slab isn't badly damaged, you can make a few minor repairs, clean it up, and paint it to give it a great new look.

Correct, Repair, Prepare

Check the concrete surface for damage and fill minor cracks and holes with quick-setting concrete filler. Follow product directions for how-to info. Also, if your basement has moisture problems, take steps to correct the issue because paint will bubble up and peel on wet concrete.

Smooth the Way

Mastic, glue, or grout remaining from previous flooring materials (such as carpet or tile) must be removed. A concrete grinder (available through rental stores) is one good tool you can use to smooth the surface. Then use a stiff-bristled, long-handled shop broom to sweep up dust or debris from the concrete surface.

Degrease and Etch

Concrete Connection DaltileĀ®
If your concrete is new, let it cure for 60 days before preparing and painting the surface.

For a cured and unpainted concrete floor, clean the surface with a degreasing and etching product formulated for concrete so the paint will adhere. Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles for this step and carefully follow package directions. Use a long-handled shop broom to spread the degreasing and etching agent across the surface of the floor. Thoroughly rinse the concrete and let it dry completely.

Note: For a previously painted concrete slab, scrape up loose paint. If the paint is extensively worn and chipped, use a floor buffer equipped with an abrasive pad to eliminate bubbles and chips, and rough up the glossy finish. Wash the floor with a degreaser and rinse. Sweep up dirt and debris.


Apply a bonding primer formulated for concrete. Use a brush to cut in around the perimeter of the slab. Then use a roller with an extension pole to apply primer to the remainder of the surface, being careful not to paint yourself into a corner. Let dry for the time recommended by the primer manufacturer, at least overnight. In high humidity, you may need to set up fans to speed the drying process. 

Note: Some porch and concrete floor enamels are self-priming so you can skip the primer step. Some manufacturers suggest thinning the first coat of paint. Always follow directions on the label.


Apply two coats of enamel paint formulated for porch and concrete floors. Cut in around the perimeter with a brush and roll paint onto the remainder of the surface.

If you want a design on your floor or patio, make sure the painted finish is completely dry. Then choose from a variety of techniques: Painter's tape aids in creating straight lines (for diamonds, stripes, or a checkerboard, for example). Remove tape before the paint dries. You can also use stamps or stencils to apply a design with paint.

More Flooring Ideas

Read on to get inspired for more flooring ideas:

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