How To Paint Concrete With Latex Paint? (3 Steps)

To paint concrete with latex paint, prep the surface, prime the concrete, apply latex paint, and seal the finish.

Sealing latex paint is necessary for outdoor concrete surfaces as the paint alone won’t protect it from weather elements.

Does Latex Paint Adhere to Concrete Surfaces?

Latex paint does adhere to concrete surfaces if the surface isn’t already painted, sealed, or dirty. You must remove the paint, sealer, or dirt if the surface is sealed before applying latex paint.

Most concrete sealers are oil-based and will repel liquids (including paint), so you must remove the sealer first, and then apply the paint.

Concrete surfaces are porous and will absorb more paint than needed, so you must apply a primer coating (or wash coat) to prevent over-absorption. The primer will fill the pores of the material prevent it from absorbing too much paint and create a smooth undercoat for paint to stick to.

Some parts of the surface will absorb more paint than others and create an uneven finish, if you don’t apply a primer or washcoat over concrete surfaces.

Is Latex Paint Recommended for Concrete Surfaces?

Latex paint is recommended for indoor concrete surfaces, but not for outdoor concrete surfaces unless you seal it.

Latex paint has impressive bonding qualities, spreads well over surfaces, and is easy to use, apply, maintain, and clean — so it’s good for indoor concrete surfaces.

However, latex paint doesn’t have protective additives and won’t protect the surface from harsh weather elements or moisture — the paint will get washed off within a few months if applied on outdoor surfaces.

You must seal latex paint with a water-resistant sealer, such as polyurethane or varnish if you apply it to outdoor surfaces.

How To Prep Concrete for Latex Paint?

Before you paint concrete with latex paint, you have to prep the concrete. So, how to prep the concrete for latex paint? You have to fill all the holes, and get rid of any dust that the concrete might have.

To prep concrete for latex paint, do the following.

  1. Remove All Objects Around It.
  2. Strip The Previous Finish.
  3. Fill Cracks And Holes.
  4. Sand the Concrete.
  5. Wash the Surface.

Most concrete surfaces are dirty, riddled with imperfections, and are uneven. Before applying latex paint you must fix (or remove) imperfections from the concrete surface or the paint won’t stick well and can peel off.

The tools you need for this project are listed below.

  • Sandpaper (diamond sandpaper of different grits)
  • Paint Striper (optional)
  • Wire brush or scraper
  • Rags
  • Primer
  • Concrete Paste
  • A Trowel
  • Degreaser
  • Detergent
  • Scrubbing Brush
  • A Bucket Of Water

1. Remove All Objects Around It

Remove all objects and furniture near the concrete material to prevent accidental paint spills.

Note: You must wear a pair of gloves.

Related Read: Can You Use Latex On Metal Surfaces?

2. Strip The Previous Finish

Strip the previous finish (or sealer) off the concrete surface if it has one. You must know the type of finish (oil or water-based) to know how to remove it.

To find the type of finish the concrete surface has, use rubbing alcohol. Pour rubbing alcohol into a cotton ball a wipe a small part of the finish. The finish is water-based if it comes off, and oil-based if it doesn’t come off.

To remove water-based paint (or sealer), use a water-based paint stripper or rubbing alcohol. To remove oil-based paint from concrete, use a solvent-based paint stripper or mineral spirits.

Note: Skip this step if the concrete surface isn’t painted or sealed.

3. Fill Cracks And Holes

Use concrete filler or paste to fill (or fix) concrete dents, holes, or cracks on the surface. Latex paint won’t cover imperfections well, so they will show once the paint dries and make the finish look uneven and amateurish.

To fix imperfections on concrete surfaces, do the following things.

  1. Mix the concrete filler or paste. 
  2. Apply it over the surface and fill the cracks, holes, or dents. 
  3. Remove the excess paste from the surface. 
  4. Wait for the filler to dry (cure).

4. Sand the Concrete

Sand the concrete with medium-grit diamond sandpaper (100-grit) to remove leftover imperfections and remove the excess concrete filler (or paste).

Note: Don’t use regular sandpaper as it gets dull fast.

Related Read: Do You Need to Sand Latex Paint?

5. Wash the Surface

Wash the concrete after applying concrete filler and sanding it as its surface will be riddled with dust, dirt, and stains that will affect the finish quality.

To clean a concrete surface, use mild detergent and a scrubbing brush. Pour the mild detergent over the surface and use the scrubbing brush to remove the dirt. Clean the surface with water after you remove the dirt with a scrubbing brush.

Use a degreaser if the concrete surface has too much filth.

Note: Leave the concrete to fully dry after cleaning it.

Related Read: How Long Does It Take Latex Paint To Dry?

How To Paint Concrete With Latex Paint?

To paint concrete with latex paint, do the following.

  1. Apply Primer.
  2. Apply Multiple Coats Of Latex Paint.
  3. Seal the Finish.

The tools you need for this project are listed below.

  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Wire Sponge
  • Latex Paint
  • Paint Stripper
  • Concrete Filler
  • Degreaser

1. Apply Primer

After you prepare the concrete you have to prime it.

Apply 1-2 coats of latex primer to improve the adhesion and cover imperfections on the surface (if any). Wait until one coat dries before applying the next one. Optionally, you can sand between coats.

Avoid using oil-based primer since you will be applying latex paint.

2. Apply Multiple Coats Of Latex Paint

Once the primer has dried, you have to add a few layers of latex paint.

Apply three (3) coats of latex paint on concrete using a paint roller, brush, or sprayer, after the primer coating dries. Wait until one coat dries before applying the next one.

Thin latex paint in a ratio of 1:4 (1 part water to 4 parts paint) if you are using a sprayer to apply it.

Note: Latex paint takes 3 hours to dry between coats.

3. Seal the Finish

To protect the concrete and the latex paint, you need to add a layer of sealer or topcoat.

Seal the latex paint with a water-resistant sealer if you apply it over outdoor concrete surfaces. Latex paint doesn’t have protective additives and will get washed off if exposed to constant water.

A water-resistant sealer, such as polyurethane or varnish, will produce a glossy moisture, water, and scratch-resistant layer to protect the paint and surface underneath it.

You need two or three (2-3) coats of sealer for outdoor surfaces.

The recommended paint to use on concrete depends on the surface type. For instance, acrylic latex paint is recommended for concrete slabs, countertops, and tables, while two-part epoxy resin is recommended for garage concrete floors.

For exterior concrete walls, use latex paint but seal it with an exterior sealer. For indoor concrete walls, use satin latex paint. You can use acrylic latex or acrylic enamel paint for any other concrete surface.

Related Read: Can You Apply Latex Over Oil-Based Paint?

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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