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

Since concrete is a porous surface, painting it can be difficult. You must prep the concrete in the right way before painting it. So, how to paint concrete?

To paint concrete, you must prep it by fixing the holes in the surface, prime it to prevent paint wastage, and then apply the latex paint. If the concrete is outdoors, you must seal the latex paint after. 

Below we will list all the things you need to do to prepare the concrete for latex paint and the painting process.

Does Latex Paint Stick To Concrete?

Latex paint will stick to concrete as long as the concrete isn’t painted, sealed, or filthy. If the concrete is painted or sealed, you must remove the sealer first before applying latex paint. 

Most concrete sealers are oil-based, and applying latex paint over them won’t work. Also, concrete sealers will repel any type of moisture, including paint, so latex paint won’t stick over a concrete sealer. That’s why you must remove the concrete sealer first for latex paint to stick.

However, you must apply a primer before applying latex paint on concrete. That’s because concrete surfaces are coarse and hard, while latex paint isn’t durable. So, if you don’t apply a primer first, the latex paint won’t last long.

Also, the concrete surfaces are porous so you must apply a primer to prevent paint wastage. If you don’t apply a primer, some parts of the concrete will suck more paint than others, and the finish will look uneven. 

Latex is a Good Choice For Concrete

Latex is a good choice for concrete surfaces. The latex paint spreads and sticks well to concrete and is durable. If used on indoor concrete, the latex paint will last up to 5 years. However, for outdoor concrete unsealed latex won’t last more than 1 year. 

Latex paint is easy to use and apply. You can apply it using a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer. Latex paint has impressive adhesive qualities and will stick to any surface. 

Compared to other paints, latex paint is easier to maintain and clean. Also, latex paint doesn’t cost as much as other paints and dries fast enough for you to complete the project faster. So, you can use latex paint for cement surfaces.

Prep The Concrete For Latex Paint First

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.

Most concrete surfaces are filthy, have imperfections, and aren’t even. Therefore, you must fix concrete imperfections before applying latex paint. If you don’t, the latex paint won’t stick well to the concrete and can peel off.

Here are the tools you need for this:

  • Sandpaper (diamond-sandpaper of different grits is advised for hard surfaces like concrete)
  • Paint Striper (optional)
  • Wire brush or paint scraper
  • Rags
  • Latex Paint Primer
  • Concrete Paste
  • A Trowel
  • Degreaser
  • Detergent
  • Scrubbing Brush
  • A Bucket Of Water
  • Protective Gear (Gloves and A Face Mask)

It’s a lot of tools, yes. But you need them to ensure a good result. So now, let’s go into detail.

1. Remove All Objects Around The Concrete

First, remove all furniture and objects near the concrete surface you will paint to prevent any accidental paint spill. 

You must also wear a pair of gloves and a face mask. 

Related Read: Can You Use Latex On Metal Surfaces?

2. Strip The Previous Paint Off The Concrete

If the concrete is painted (or sealed), you must remove it before applying latex paint. First, however, you must know the type of paint the concrete has to know how to remove it.

To know the type of paint the concrete has, use the rubbing alcohol test. Pour rubbing alcohol into a cotton ball and wipe the concrete surface. If the paint comes off, it’s water-based (latex). If no paint comes off, the paint is sealed or is oil-based.

To remove water-based paint from concrete, use a water-based paint stripper. To remove oil-based paint from concrete, use a solvent-based paint stripper. 

If the concrete surface isn’t painted, you can skip this step. 

3. Fill Cracks And Holes In The Concrete

If the concrete surface has dents, holes, or cracks, you must fill them using a concrete filler or paste. Latex paint won’t cover these imperfections, so they will be obvious once the paint dries. This will make the finish look amateurish. 

Here’s how to fix imperfections in a concrete surface: 

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

4. Sand The Concrete

Once the concrete paste dries, sand the concrete with 100-grit sandpaper. Sanding helps to smoothen the concrete surface and also removes excess concrete paste.

You must use diamond sandpaper because regular sandpaper gets dull fast. 

Related Read: Should You Sand Latex Paint?

5. Wash Or Wipe The Concrete With A Degreaser

Most concrete surfaces are filthy and filled with dust. You must clean these stains off the concrete because they can affect the latex paint finish. 

Use a mild detergent and a scrubbing brush to clean a concrete surface. Pour the mild detergent over the concrete surface, and use the scrubbing brush to scrub the stains off the concrete. After you are done, clean the concrete surface with clear water.

If the concrete has too much filth, use a degreaser and then wash the concrete. After washing it, leave it to dry. 

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

How To Paint Concrete With Latex Paint?

Painting cement with latex paint isn’t difficult, but the task is usually time-consuming based on the required prep work.

Concrete surfaces are hard and rough. So you will need to smoothen the surface and use a latex paint primer on the concrete before painting with latex. But before you go on with this task, you’ll need a few tools:

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

1. Prime The Concrete

After you prepare the concrete you have to prime it.

Before you apply latex paint over concrete, you must apply 1-2 coats of primer. Priming serves as a base coat for latex paint and increases the paint adhesion. Use latex primer for concrete and not an oil-based primer.

Apply 2 coats of latex primer over concrete. You must wait before the first coat of primer dries before applying the next one. Optionally, you can sand the first coat of primer before applying the next one. 

2. Apply Multiple Coats Of Latex Paint

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

After the primer dries, you can apply the latex paint. To apply latex paint, use a paint roller, paintbrush, or paint sprayer. If you use a sprayer, you must thin the latex paint by adding more water. 

You must apply 3 coats of latex paint on concrete. Wait for each coat to dry before applying the next one. Latex paint takes 3 hours to dry enough for a re-coat. 

3. Apply A Sealer Or Topcoat

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

Optionally, you can apply a sealer (or topcoat) over latex paint. A sealer will protect the latex paint from moisture, water, scratches, and damage. You can use polyurethane, polycrylic, glossy aerosol, or varnish as a sealer for latex paint. 

If the concrete you painted is outdoor, then sealing it is mandatory. After you apply the sealer, let it dry for 1-2 days. 

Paint Types For Different Concrete Surfaces

The best paint for concrete depends on the concrete surface you want to paint.

For garage floors, use a two-part epoxy resin for concrete. The paint is durable and will last over 10 years. It is also easy to clean and water-resistant.

For concrete slabs, countertops, and tables, use acrylic latex paint. You can also use acrylic enamel or epoxy paint if the concrete slab or table is outdoors.

For exterior concrete walls, use latex paint. However, the latex paint must be sealed with a topcoat or semi-gloss latex paint. For indoor concrete walls, use satin latex paint. You can use acrylic latex paint or acrylic enamel paint for any other concrete surface.

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

Final Words

You can use latex paint on concrete, but you must prep the concrete before and seal the latex paint after. You also must apply a primer before applying latex paint on concrete. 

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