Can You Paint Concrete?

Let’s face it, concrete tends to be dull, but it’s found everywhere; in our garages, on our front porch, on retaining walls, or in the garden. The dullness can spark our attempts to liven it up with some colour, or maybe its a concrete repair that you need. By painting with a suitable paint, concrete surfaces will be able to withstand the natural elements and become tough.

Whether its for a driveway surface, pathways or a concrete patio, take a look at our professional concrete paint guide, suitable for a range of outdoor surfaces and coating solutions.

The Concrete Answer

Yes, you definitely can paint your concrete surface anywhere in your home. Painting concrete requires you to follow the proper techniques and some prep work. Also, choosing the right kind of concrete paint or concrete stain would depend on the surface you’re working on.

Why Concrete Is Tricky

Since concrete tends to suck up moisture, you’ll notice by using regular paints that it’ll suck it up and leave you with a patchy finish. Concrete tends to breathe, so the type of concrete paint you’ll use will have to complement that.

Time Needed

A non-concrete wall, such as plasterboard, would only need a day of painting. Concrete areas, on the other hand, require about a week or more for painting. That’s because you need to take the time to prepare for a good concrete surface paint job by prepping your concrete surface to be in the right conditions for it to adhere well to the stain.

Why People Choose to Avoid Painting Concrete

Concrete as a material is porous. This means that it has small pores on its surface that soak up moisture on top of it.

This may be good for footpaths to stay dry, but it will soak up your paint when it comes to painting on top of it. Therefore, many people won’t bother painting various concrete facings in their home as it could be seen as a laborious task and possibly not worth the effort.

However, there are only a few key steps to follow to turn an area of dull concrete into an attractive patio or a bright set of floors throughout your home – just with a lick of paint.

Is It a Good Idea to Paint Concrete?

A coat of paint on concrete can immediately spruce up a surface and change the look of an area in your home, doing well to hide discolourations.

Concrete floor paint is a popular choice as concrete floors can look rather dreary. Using concrete paints can turn your floor into something more lustrous, complementing surrounding spaces.

Another reason to paint concrete is to extend its life as the paint acts as a barrier to environmental influences that create signs of wearing on a surface. So prevent further damage by a further coat of concrete paint. Having a coat of paint on your concrete also makes it easier to clean later on because of the smoothness it provides.

What Kind of Paint Can Be Used on Concrete?

Masonry paint is suitable for concrete as it is viscous and durable. For areas like the garage and patio concrete floor, use epoxy-based paint as these are hard-wearing and stain-resistant. Masonry paints are chemically in tune with temperature, so when concrete expands and contracts, they move along with it, thanks to the chemical binders.

How Do You Paint Over Old Concrete?

  • Ensure you have cleaned the surfaces off any dirt, rust, and moisture with water. Paint won’t adhere well to these and will give an uneven finish. Don’t worry about stains too much, as the next step can help with oil-based stains.
  • You can scrub the concrete to smoothen it out with a wire brush and trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution. You can buy this at most home improvement stores. TSP solution works by degreasing surfaces.
  • You may notice the solution bubbling on the surface. After about 20 minutes, water the TSP down and then wash it off using a hose or power washer. Then, let it dry for about two days before your next step, which is to actually paint.
concrete texture

Do I Need to Prime Concrete Before Painting?

Yes! A concrete filler, a concrete sealer, and a blocking primer are needed to fill the cracks and tiny holes. If breaks are left untreated, moisture can get under the paint and peel later on. You can purchase a masonry sealer and bonding primer from a DIY shop. To paint concrete, these two steps are essential – do not miss them out. Click here for more information on how to seal concrete surfaces.

You can start by applying a pre-mixed concrete patch to coat the spots that have major cracks and unevenness. Follow this with a coat of concrete or masonry sealant. These are usually waterproof sealers that prevent moisture from seeping in and avoid mould growth.

With the concrete sealant, you must follow the instructions on the package, as some types require certain coating and curing for a few days before going on with more coats.

A paint primer will help with evening out the surface so that you have a smooth coat of paint. It acts as the foundation for your paint, so it’s essential to have this one too. You can purchase a concrete primer for both exterior concrete areas of the house and interior areas. Apply it using a paint roller and let it dry for a day or two.


Once the concrete surfaces are fully dry, you can test how well you have prepared your area of work. You can do this by pouring some water on it, and if it soaks in, it means the concrete is ready as it’s porous enough to have paint on it. If not, then go in with some etching solution that will roughen it up and open up the concrete’s pores.

To check if there’s too much moisture, tape down some cling film on the area and check in a day if it carries some condensation. If so, you need to go in with the masonry sealer again.

Final Thoughts

Painting concrete surfaces isn’t as hard as it’s sometimes made out to be. It can tart up any drab surface and can be a project done by anybody with little or no experience. Following the steps we mentioned prior to your next painting project can make all the difference in the finish you achieve.

Examples of concrete painting projects:

For more information, you can contact the technical team at Promain, we provide a range of professional advice, as well as information on concrete repair.