Can You Apply Enamel Over Cement Paint? (How-To)

Enamel paint is usually applied over latex and acrylic paints since enamel paint is hard enough to protect the paint. But can you put enamel over cement paint too?

You can apply enamel paint over cement or concrete paint as long as the cement paint wasn’t sealed. If the cement paint was sealed with a top coat, you’ll have to remove the sealant to allow the enamel paint to stick to the cement paint.

You should know that water-based or acrylic enamel paints perform better over cement paints than oil-based enamel. Acrylic enamel is also easier to apply over cement paints than oil-based enamel. Sanding and in some cases, priming is important before putting enamel over cement paint.

There is more to know about applying enamel over cement paint. For instance, does enamel paint stick to cement paint? Let’s find out.

Does Enamel Stick To Cement Paint?

Enamel paint sticks to cement paint. This is because enamel paint has good adhesive qualities making it stick well to cement paint. Also, cement paint doesn’t have any built-in substance or feature that can repel enamel paint.

Unlike oil-based paints that have a glossy sheen, most cement paints are water-based and as such, there is no glossy sheen on the cement paint that will repel the enamel.

However, you should ensure to clean the cement paint before putting enamel over it. This is to remove oils, grease, and stains on the cement paint. If you don’t remove these stains, the enamel paint will not stick well to the cement paint and can easily crack and peel off. The enamel paint will also not stick to cement paint if the cement paint has a sealant.

Do You Have To Sand Cement Paint Before Applying Enamel?

You should also know that enamel paint will stick better to cement paint if you sand the cement paint first with a fine-grit sandpaper. Sanding the cement paint will smoothen the surface and create scars in the cement paint that the enamel can bite into. Also, sanding helps to remove imperfections and pimples in the cement paint that can prevent good adhesion.

Another thing that can stop the enamel paint from sticking well to cement paint is if the cement paint is acid-based. Acid-based cement paints are designed with hydrochloric acidic compounds that eat into concrete material so the paint can last on the concrete. If the cement paint is acid-based, the enamel paint will not stick well because the acid-based paint has penetrated deeply into the concrete material.

To put enamel paint over acid cement paint, you’ll need to apply paint primer first to allow the enamel paint to stick well.

Does Enamel Change Cement Paint Color?

Does Enamel Change Cement Paint Color?

Enamel paint doesn’t change the cement paint color. But, the enamel paint coating can make the concrete paint color appear darker than it was depending on the number of enamel coats added.

If you apply many coats of enamel paint over cement paint, the enamel paint coating will be very thick. This will make it difficult to see the cement paint underneath making it seem like the cement paint is darker. Also, the thick enamel coating will reflect low light giving off the impression that the cement paint color has been changed.

Enamel paint is a thick glossy coat. This means that enamel paint doesn’t allow light to pass through. Instead, the glossy top coat of the enamel paint reflects light. So light bounces of the enamel paint coating and doesn’t go through or reflect whatever is underneath. As a result, enamel paint can make the cement paint color underneath appear darker or deeper than it was. This doesn’t mean that the enamel paint changed the color of the cement paint.

You should also know that acrylic enamel paint will reveal the cement paint color better than oil-based enamel. This is because acrylic enamel is water-based and as such isn’t as thick as oil-based enamel. Also, oil-based enamel paint tends to develop a yellow tint after a while acrylic enamel doesn’t.

You should also know that enamel paint is not a clear coat. This means that enamel paint is not designed to reveal the color or texture of the cement paint underneath. If you want the cement paint color to show, you should consider using a clear coat like water-based polyurethane and not enamel.

So how do you apply enamel paint over cement paint? Let’s find out.

How To Apply Enamel Over Cement Paint?

Applying enamel over cement paint is not difficult but the result you’ll get depends on the level of prep work that you carry out. Don’t sweat though, this is a 5-step guide on how to apply enamel over cement paint correctly. But first, you’ll need a few tools and supplies:

  • Sandpaper
  • Paint primer
  • Enamel paint (preferably acrylic enamel)
  • Clean rags
  • Degreaser
  • A paintbrush
  • Concrete paste or concrete filler (for repairs)

Now, let’s get to work.

1. Clean and Degrease The Cement Paint

Clean and Degrease The Cement Paint

The first and very important step is to clean and degrease the cement paint. It’s very common to have oils, grease, stains, and grime on the cement paint because concrete and cemented surfaces are used for dirty work. These stains will prevent the enamel paint from sticking properly to the cement paint so you need to remove them.

To do this, start by wiping the cement paint with a degreaser to remove oils and grease that are stuck. It’s advised to dilute the degreaser because if the degreaser is too strong, it can remove the paint. After cleaning the cement paint, you need to leave it for a few hours to dry before the next step.

2. Sand The Cement Paint

Sand The Cement Paint

The next step is to sand the cement paint with fine-grit sandpaper. If you use medium or coarse grit sandpaper, you’ll remove the entire concrete paint. Coarse sandpaper can even scar the cement material. So only use fine-grit sandpaper.

If the cement paint was sealed with a top coat, you’ll need to remove the top coat. You can do this with a medium-grit sandpaper or a paint stripping compound.

After sanding the cement paint, you’ll need to wipe the dust off the paint. If you don’t, the dust nibs will create pimples in the enamel paint. You can wipe off the dust with a clean rag.

3. Prime The Cement Paint

Prime The Cement Paint

Though priming isn’t necessary to apply enamel over cement paint, doing so will guarantee better paint adhesion and a smooth result. Also, if the cement paint that you want to paint over is an acid paint, you’ll need a paint primer first because acid paints don’t accept paints well.

You can apply the paint primer using a paintbrush or a spray gun. It’s better to use a water-based primer over cement paints including acid paints because water-based primers will not react with the cement paint. Two coats of paint primer are enough for proper coverage.

4. Apply The Enamel Paint

Apply The Enamel Paint

When the paint primer is dry, you can scuff it with fine-grit sandpaper before applying the enamel paint. Enamel paints are thick so you don’t need many coats over the cement paint.

Two coats of enamel paint are enough for proper coverage and protection. Ensure to allow enough dry time for the enamel paint before a recoat.

If you’ll like to apply the enamel paint using a spray gun, you’ll need to dilute the enamel paint so it can be expelled smoothly through the nozzle of the spray gun.

You can dilute acrylic enamel using water. While oil-based enamel will require paint thinner like mineral spirits. You should allow the enamel paint to dry for about 3 days before using the concrete surface.

Does Cement Paint Bleed Through Enamel?

Cement paint will not bleed through enamel coating. Cement paint will only bleed through enamel if the cement paint is wet or if the cement paint is affected by stains and grease.

A bleed through refers to when the cement paint underneath starts to appear through the enamel paint. This will only happen if the cement paint is wet or stained with grease.

However, you can prevent a case of bleed-through by applying a stain-blocking paint primer on the concrete paint before applying enamel. A coat or two of a stain-blocking or shellac-based paint primer will prevent bleed through.

Can You Mix Enamel and Cement Paint?

You can mix enamel paint with cement paint but this only works with acrylic enamel paint. You shouldn’t mix oil-based enamel paint with cement paint because cement paints are usually water-based and as such, the paint wouldn’t be compatible with oil-based enamel paint.

If you’ll like to mix enamel paint and cement paint, you should use water-based enamel paint and ensure that the cement paint is water-based too. Also, it’s better to mix the same color of enamel paint with cement paint to prevent color variations.

You can’t mix enamel paint with acid cement paint. Acid-based cement paints as explained earlier contain hydrochloric acid. You shouldn’t mix such paints with other paints especially not oil-based enamel. Doing so can cause a chemical reaction and the release of toxic fumes.

Enamel paints are usually thicker than cement paints so you should thin the enamel paint before mixing it with cement paint to ensure even consistency and paint color.

How Long Does Enamel Last Over Cement Paint?

Enamel paint can last over 10 years on cement paint. On average, enamel paints last about 7 years on cement paints. You should know that the durability of the enamel paint on the cement paint depends on the type of enamel paint, how well the enamel paint was applied, and how often the enamel painted surface is used.

If the enamel paint was applied over a garage floor, then it wouldn’t last very long on the cement paint. At best, it wouldn’t last up to 5 years because the painted garage floor will experience heavy foot traffic, weight, oil spills, car traction, and so on.

But if the enamel paint was applied over a cement painted countertop, the enamel paint will last longer since the countertop will not experience as much traffic as a garage floor.

Also, if the enamel paint was applied over poorly prepped cement paint, then it will not last very long as the enamel paint will most likely peel off due to poor paint bonding. Enamel paint will last even longer on cement paint if the enamel paint is properly cleaned and maintained.

So in summary, the durability of the enamel paint on the cement paint depends on the paint application, use, and maintenance.

Final Words

Overall, enamel paint can go over cement paint as long as you properly prep the cement paint before applying the enamel. This includes carefully sanding and priming the cement paint before the enamel paint application.

Also, you should remember that water-based enamel paints perform better on cement paint than oil-based enamel paint. If you are to mix enamel and cement paint, you should ensure that both paints have the same base.

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