All You Need to Know About Painting Cement Floors

All You Need to Know About Painting Cement Floors

Painting
How To
Flooring
By Mateos Glen Hayes March 04, 2022

Painting cement floors can be rather fun if you know what you’re doing. Sure, it may not sound like the most exciting task in the world, but the key to making this more engaging is to think about how you can do a quality job. It might seem fairly straightforward: you see a cement floor, you paint it. But it is in fact a bit more nuanced than that.

Namely, what kind of paint style will you use? Which paint types do you need to buy that will give your floor the best sheen, and whose color will last the longest? Also, there is a multi-step process that you may need to follow if you want your project to be successful. As with any other home improvement job, it’s best not to skip any steps since you risk ending up with a halfway done job, resulting in problems down the line. 

Concrete Floor Finishing Styles 

Painting a Cement Floor Is Beneficial in Several Ways

Painting a Cement Floor Is Beneficial in Several Ways

There are many treatments that can be used to improve the appearance of bare concrete. In short, paint is not the only way to give your concrete floor a sense of style. On top of making a utilitarian concrete floor look more unique, many of these layers also come with additional benefits. They can preserve your floor from the elements and protect it from water staining.

Plus, a treated concrete floor is generally easier to clean since the process of painting, staining, or polishing adds a smooth layer that is easier to sweep and mop. Several of these solutions will likely require you to hire a contractor, but this isn’t true for all of them. A confident DIYer can easily take on a number of these jobs.  

Painted 

When it comes to colored cement floor paints, epoxy paints are the best paint for cement floors. This is a durable material that is really useful for improving concrete floors in several ways. Aside from the fact that they can add a beautiful range of colors and unique hues to your floor, epoxies can also fill in cracks and crevices in your floor, giving it a smooth surface.

In other words, cement epoxy paint will give your concrete floor a colorful personality and will also make it a nicer, smoother floor to walk on. Plus, the smoothing effect of cement floor epoxy also makes it easy to use other forms of paint if you want to since you now have a smooth canvas to work on. 

Dyed 

You can also dye your concrete flooring if you want to add a distinctive hue that can be especially well-suited to kitchen flooring. Water-based colored cement floor paints create a very rich and beautiful finish that remains consistent across the floor. The dye is designed to penetrate the pores of the concrete and imbue the surface with a new color.

This can be a more preferable aesthetic for some people because dying your floor gives it a deeper coloring than most epoxies. Of course, this can also be a demerit for some because the color of a dyed concrete floor could come off as harsh. If this is something you’re worried about, bear in mind that you can always offset the color with a neutrally colored rug or two.  

Acid Stained 

Acid staining is an excellent treatment method for those that want to use concrete flooring to emulate premium materials such as marble or granite. By adding faux grout lines, you can even replicate the look of ceramic or porcelain tiles using cement floor stencils. This makes acid staining a good method for anyone who is looking to get premium flooring without paying premium prices.

But that’s not all. Etching with cement floor stencils can also be used to give an intricate mosaic design to concrete flooring using stencils and stamps. In theory, you could even get Mediterranean-style flooring from a blank concrete surface.  

Stained and Polished

A stained and polished concrete floor is an increasingly common feature in a lot of newer loft apartment developments. These finishes can be contrasted with unfinished beams for a visually interesting design style. Polished concrete floors are typically a professional job since it is rather labor-intensive and require precision. 

Before being stained, the concrete flooring is ground down with a series of abrasive pads, giving these floors a high gloss finish. The floor is then sealed to give it a protective layer and add even more shine. It is technically possible for you to do this job yourself, but it will most likely be pricey, time-consuming, and far from simple. 

A Guide to Painting Cement Floors

How to Go About Painting Your Cement Floors

How to Go About Painting Your Cement Floors

If you want to paint your own floors with epoxy paint for cement floors, the following is a rundown of the steps you’ll need to go through.  

Prepping the Surface 

The first order of business is to scrape off any gunk with a chisel scraper and clean the concrete floor thoroughly. Any imperfections in the concrete surface will ruin your paint job unless they are dealt with beforehand.

If you’re painting a garage or patio floor, a garden hose and some degreaser can go a long way towards clearing off any grime from your floor. With indoor floors, a pump-type sprayer will achieve a similar effect, as will a good wet-dry vacuum to remove the moisture and degreaser.  

Fill The Cracks 

Concrete filler is your best answer to pesky cracks in a concrete floor. Just be sure to scrape away excess or crumbly concrete with a wire brush beforehand. Once you’ve vacuumed away any of the leftover debris, you can get cracking…filling in those cracks. If you put too much filler, a putty knife can help smooth things out. 

Prime and Paint 

Make Sure to Prime the Cement Floor Before Painting It

Make Sure to Prime the Cement Floor Before Painting It

Epoxy painting requires a primer in order to work properly. As such it is essential that you prime your concrete floor with an appropriate primer that is compatible with a cement floor epoxy finish. When choosing your paint and primer, it is important to also find a variant that is compatible with your floor, be it an indoor or outdoor one. 

Before you get started with applying primer, however, it is important that you ensure that your concrete floor is completely dry. Any moisture can easily mess up the primer and prevent the paint from bonding properly. A clever trick for checking your floor for the moisture is by taping a piece of clear plastic to the floor so that it is sealed and leaving it overnight. If the plastic has condensation on the underside, you’ll know that you have a bit of moisture and that your floor needs to dry more.  

Make Sure Your Flooring is Ready

Before getting started, the area where you’re going to paint and prime need to be prepped. First off, you should use a paintbrush to apply primer to floor posts and along the edges of the floor. When applying the primer, be sure to avoid painting yourself into a corner and start painting the side opposite of a doorway. 

You will continually smooth out the primer as you apply it to prevent roller marks on the flooring. However, you should take care to also keep a wet edge, where the edge of the primer is kept wet until you have completely smoothed it out.  

Cement Epoxy Paint

Cement Epoxy Paint Can Serve as a Primer As Well

Cement Epoxy Paint Can Serve as a Primer As Well

This paint comes in two parts that must be mixed together before they are applied. Fortunately, this is a simple matter of following instructions from the manufacturer and doesn’t take long to do. Once the paint is ready, you should apply it using the same method as the primer.

As with the primer, it is crucial to avoid uneven spots where there is more epoxy on one part of the floor surface than another. This can cause unevenness when the epoxy dries and is hard to rectify once the cement floor epoxy has dried.  

Cement Sealing Paint

Once the epoxy has dried (drying time depends on the manufacturer), a concrete floor will already be looking pretty cool. Cement sealing paint will help the floor maintain its sheen. As with the primer, each sealant is made for specific applications and can be better suited for outdoor or indoor use.

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes