How To Paint Concrete With Latex Paint?

Concrete surfaces are not usually painted. That’s because most people believe the concrete is durable enough without extra protection or finish.

While this is true, concrete– like every other material will last longer when painted which brings us to our question – can you use latex paint on concrete? Here is the answer to that.

Latex paint can be used on concrete surfaces. Acrylic latex paint especially mixes and spreads well on concrete slabs, walls, steps, and other stone surfaces. However, you need to prep the concrete before using latex paint on it to allow the paint to last longer.

So how do you prep concrete surfaces for latex paint? What type of latex paint is best for concrete? And how do you paint latex on concrete surfaces?

The answers to all these questions will be revealed below.

So let’s get to it.

How To Prepare 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.

If there is any surface you can use latex paint on without prepping first, it’s not concrete.

Prepping the concrete surface before applying latex paint ensures even application of the paint. It also protects and allows the paint to adhere to the surface properly, all of which ensures the paint lasts longer.

To prep concrete for latex paint, you will need the following tools:

  • 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 For Concrete
  • Concrete Filler or 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.

For the quick readers, here is how to prep concrete for latex paint:

  • Remove The Objects And Furniture Around The Concrete
  • Strip The Previous Finish Or Paint Off The Concrete
  • Inspect And Fill Cracks And Holes With Concrete Filler
  • Sand The Concrete
  • Wipe The Concrete With A Degreaser
  • Prime The Concrete

Now, let’s go into detail.

1. Remove All Objects Around The Concrete

The first step is to remove all furniture, electronics, and objects around the concrete surface to be painted. But before you go ahead with this, ensure to put on a pair of gloves and a face mask.

The reason for removing these objects is to prevent them from being damaged or stained by paint splatters.

Related Read: Can You Use Latex On Metal Surfaces?

2. Strip The Previous Paint Off The Concrete

The next step is to remove the previous paint from the concrete surface. If the concrete wasn’t painted previously, you can skip this step.

But if there is any chipping paint on the concrete, strip it using a wire brush or paint scraper. If the previous finish is left on the concrete, the new coat of latex paint will not be applied smoothly since the surface isn’t smooth.

If there is a lot of paint to be stripped, you can use a paint stripper. Using a paint stripper will remove the previous finish quicker and better.

3. Fill Cracks And Holes In The Concrete

Any dent, hole, or crack previously covered by the old paint will now be noticeable since the paint has been stripped.

All of these cracks and holes no matter how small should be filled using a concrete filler or concrete paste. Latex paint isn’t very thick so these imperfections will still be obvious after the latex paint has dried. This will make the finish amateurish.

Mix the concrete filler or paste and use it to fill the cracks and holes in the concrete. You will need a trowel for this task. After filling, let the filling compound cure (or dry).

4. Sand The Concrete

After the filling compound or concrete paste has dried, sand the concrete with 100-grit sandpaper. This helps to smoothen the concrete surface.

Pay attention to the spots where you added concrete filler. These spots when dry will need sanding to smoothen them.

Regular sandpaper will get dull very quickly so it’s advised to use diamond sandpaper. When the concrete surface is smooth, you can stop sanding.

Related Read: Should You Sand Latex Paint?

5. Wash Or Wipe The Concrete With A Degreaser

Concrete surfaces do well to hide stains and grease but these stains will negatively affect the latex paint when applied.

To remove the stains on the concrete, you can wash with mild detergent and a scrubbing brush or you can wipe the concrete surface with a degreaser.

If the concrete is filthy, you might need to use the degreaser and then wash the concrete. After cleaning the concrete surface, leave it to dry.

Related Read: Can You Use Latex Paint on Wood Furniture?

6. Prime The Concrete

When the concrete is dry, apply a coat or two of latex paint primer on the concrete. Ensure to use a primer designed for concrete and latex paints.

Priming increases paint protection and adhesion. It also improves the finish by giving the latex paint a good base coat to sit on. This allows the paint to be durable, fine, and chip-resistant.

When you have completed these steps correctly, you have successfully prepped the concrete and now you are ready to apply the latex paint.

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

Does Latex Paint Stick To Concrete?

All types of latex paint will stick to concrete surfaces as long as the concrete hasn’t been painted with a glossy finish. Or, any other paint that prevents inter-coat adhesion.

Latex paints will stick to concrete surfaces without priming first. But, the paint will start to peel off after a few years especially if the latex paint was used on concrete that experiences heavy traffic. It’s advised to prime first before using latex on concrete so the paint can last longer.

When it comes to paint adhesion between concrete and latex paint, there usually isn’t any problem. This is because latex paints use water as the paint’s solvent which makes the paint stick to concrete quickly.

However, it’s not advised to use latex paint on concrete directly. Especially on concrete surfaces that will see a lot of traffic like garage floors, walkways, and stairs. This is because concrete surfaces are usually coarse and hard. Latex paint on the other hand is not very thick.

This means if you use latex on concrete without priming or using a base coat first, the latex paint wouldn’t last long because of the rough and coarse nature of concrete. At best, the paint will start to come off after 1 year.

So in terms of paint adhesion, latex paint sticks well to concrete. But, you should only use latex paint on bare concrete if the concrete wouldn’t experience traffic.

This means you shouldn’t use latex paint directly on concrete floors, steps, or walls except as a temporary provision. For long-term use, ensure to prime the concrete first.

Now let’s check out how to paint concrete with latex paint.

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

How To Paint Concrete With Latex Paint

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

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 For Concrete
  • Paint Stripper
  • Concrete Filler
  • Degreaser

Here are the steps involved in painting concrete with latex paint

  • Prep The Concrete (The steps on how to do this have been discussed above)
  • Prime The Concrete Surface
  • Apply Multiple Coats Of Latex Paint
  • Apply A Sealer Or Topcoat
  • Leave The Paint To Cure

Now let’s get to work.

1. Prime The Concrete

After you prepare the concrete you have to prime it.

When you have prepped the concrete surface (using the steps above), apply a coat or two of latex paint primer on the concrete. This helps to improve the result of the finish.

When the primer is dry, you are ready to paint. But ensure the primer cures fully before painting. You can also sand the primer lightly using fine-grit sandpaper to smoothen out any edges or bumps.

2. Apply Multiple Coats Of Latex Paint

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

The next step is to apply the latex paint to the concrete. Applying latex paint to concrete can be done using any of the painting methods. You can use a roller, a paintbrush, or a paint sprayer.

You will need multiple coats of latex paint on the concrete to bring out the full color. Usually, about 3 coats of latex paint are enough on concrete. Luckily, latex paint spreads well on concrete so you wouldn’t have any problem applying the paint.

You should however allow each coat to cure fully before applying the next one.

You also don’t need to sand between coats unless you are going for a finish that requires you to. But usually, sanding between coats of latex paint isn’t required. When you have applied the 3rd and final coat of latex paint on the concrete, leave it to dry.

It takes a few hours for latex paint to fully cure but it’s advised to leave the latex on the concrete for about 24 hours before doing anything else.

Related Read: Can You Apply Latex With a Roller?

3. Apply A Sealer Or Topcoat

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

Has the latex paint has fully cured? It has, great. Now you can seal the paint with a latex paint sealer or topcoat.

Usually, latex paint doesn’t require a sealant or topcoat. But, I’m guessing the concrete surface you just painted will experience some traffic. If you painted a concrete wall, slab, countertop, or floor, you need a clear topcoat to protect the latex paint from chips and marks.

You can choose any clear topcoat to seal the latex. Polyurethane, polycrylic, glossy aerosol, and the likes are all options to choose from. 3 layers of the chosen topcoat are more than enough to give the latex paint and concrete increased durability against moisture, dents, scratches, and chips.

4. Leave The Paint To Cure

Leave the latex paint to cure.

After applying a topcoat, leave the paint to cure for about 48 hours. This gives the paint enough time to harden.

Is Acrylic Latex Paint Good For Concrete?

Acrylic latex paint is very good for concrete surfaces. The latex paint spreads and sticks well to concrete surfaces and it’s very durable. When used on concrete surfaces, acrylic latex paint can last for over 5 years. When sealed with a topcoat, acrylic latex paint can last up to a decade.

When it comes to picking latex paint for concrete surfaces, many professional painters will pick acrylic latex paint and for good reasons.

For starters, acrylic latex paint adheres well to concrete surfaces. Just like most other latex paints on concrete, acrylic latex paint when used will sit well on the surface.

Acrylic latex paint is also easy to use. The paint doesn’t require any special brush stroke or type of paintbrush. The paint can be applied to concrete using just about any painting method.

Acrylic latex paint is also very durable. When fully cured, acrylic latex paint is resistant to moisture and alkaline cleaners. This means you will have no problem cleaning the paint even if it gets dirty.

To top it all, acrylic latex paint isn’t costly. When compared to other paints used on concrete, acrylic latex paint is a cheap option. The two-part epoxy paint used on concrete floors for instance will cost you at least double the price of acrylic latex paint.

But is acrylic latex paint the best paint to use on concrete? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is The Best Paint To Use On Concrete?

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

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

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

For concrete walls, you can use ordinary latex paint for concrete. The paint should be finished with a clear topcoat or semi-gloss latex finish for increased protection.

You can also use satin latex paint on concrete walls. However, only use these paints for interior concrete walls.

For exterior concrete walls, use paint that can withstand harsh weather and ultraviolet rays of sunlight. The best pick is usually acrylic paint for concrete exterior.

For any other concrete surface, you can use acrylic latex paint or acrylic enamel paint.

Final Words

Overall, latex paint can be used on concrete surfaces but the best latex paint to use is acrylic latex paint. Other types of latex paint will also work on concrete.

But, ensure to prime the concrete surface first and seal the latex paint after with a clear topcoat for protection.

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