How To Paint Concrete UPDATED!! (Plus My Secret Cleaning Tip!)

Happy Monday my friends!  You may or may not know that about a year and 1/2 ago I posted a really through tutorial for painting concrete/cement.  Ivie’s floor was my first experience and its held up really well, so well in fact, that I decided to rip the carpet out of Dylan’s room and paint her floor too.

How To Paint Concrete Floors Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals

So why another tutorial?  Well, I’ve learned a few things along the way that I would love for you to know to (in case you are planning on tackling your own concrete painting project!)

Carpet Removal

First up is carpet removal.  Not the funnest job in the world, that is for sure.  Dyl’s room is preeeeetty small so it wasn’t a horribly hard job (but if you need a few more tips on that, pop over and check out this post on YHL.)

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Once your carpet and pad are out its time to remove the tack strips.  (Those are the pieces of wood along the edge of your carpet that hold it in place.)  You can use a myriad of tools for this from a chisel, to a hammer, to a screw driver.  We used floor scrapers to remove them (you can see both of them in the picture above)  The one on the left is a little finer and you have a little more control, and the one on the right is sort of like the bulldozer of floor scrapers and destroys everything in its path.  Basically you are using them to pry up the tack strips.  Make sure when you pick them up you are wearing gloves, those suckers are sharp.

Remove Adhesive

Now you have the fun job of getting off all of the carpet glue.  And actually the proper spelling of that would be Carpet Human Fly Trap GAAA-LOOOOOOE.  Our carpet was laid when we moved into our house 4 years ago and the glue was still VERY sticky.  I don’t know at what point it looses its tack and becomes concrete like but I have heard that does happen….

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In my first post I talked about dousing it with  Lacquer Thinner and letting it sit and then dousing it again and scraping it off with a plastic scraper.   This is what I have learned since then,  if you pour a fair amount of Lacquer Thinner on and then cover it with a plastic garbage bag for 10 minutes the glue comes RIGHT off.  Very little scraping involved.  I took a few garbage bags and cut them down one side and the bottom so that they could cover a larger area.

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Fill Holes

If you previously had carpet, then you are going to have lots of cute little holes along your baseboard that will need to be filled before you can paint.  Mix up a batch of Quickcrete and fill your holes (its ok if you overfill them a little) and let it cure overnight.

How To Fill Holes in Concrete

Sand Baby Sand

The last prep step is to sand your heart out.  Use a pole sander (you can buy them for around $6.00 at Sherwin Williams) and 80 Grit Sand Paper to rough up the entire surface of the floor.   Sand the entire floor one direction, then sweep it up.  Then sand it in the opposite direction, then sweep it up.  Then sand one MORE time and this time when you sweep you want to sweep, vacuum, sweep, vacuum.  Until you are SURE there is no dust left. (If you get it wet at this point you will have to wait 24 hours for it to fully dry, so don’t do that)  Just sweep and vacuum like your floor’s life depends on it…because it does.  Take special care to sand along the edges where you filled the tack strip holes and they should blend right in.

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Now comes the fun part.

Paint

Painting a floor is hands down the easiest thing on the planet.  In fact I would rather paint 5000 floors than 1 ceiling.   You don’t even need a paint tray!

But you do need good paint.  Regular latex paint is NOT for this project.   You need something specially designed to withstand the beatings that a floor takes.  The paint that I recommend is Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor Enamel.  It is AMAZING and has held up SO well in Ivie’s room.   It is a water based paint (so no crazy fumes) that is self priming and goes on so smooth.  You do not want to get the wrong product when you are doing a project like this (can you imagine?!).   You can have it tinted to any color of the rainbow, but personally I love the Extra White Base.

Best Paint For Concrete Floors

Make sure that you are using a microfiber roller cover that has a 5/16” nap for a really smooth finish. (If you are doing a top coat you will need to buy 2 of them.)

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Pour your paint onto the corner furthest away from your door.  I usually pour an amount that is the size of a dinner plate.  If you have closets in the space you will want to start there.

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Roll it the same way that you would roll a wall, in a “W” pattern.  Make sure that you are not leaving any gobs behind (yes, gobs is the technical term.)

How To Paint Concrete Floors

Also, notice in the picture above that the holes that were filled absorb the paint more than the regular floor.  So go over those extra well.

This picture is after 1 coat.

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Let coat 1 cure for a few hours.  Once it is dry recoat following the same pattern.  I didn’t need more than 2 coats on Dylan’s floor, but if you do, wait the appropriate amount of time before you recoat.

Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor Enamel does not require a top coat to seal it.  You can leave it just how it is with a Satin finish and be golden as the geese on Willy Wonka.

But.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a top coat on because it makes cleaning the floors easier.  It makes them shinier (this picture from Ivie’s room is the perfect example!)

How To Paint and Clean Concrete Floors Full Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals-16

If you are putting on a top coat, wait 24 hours before you do it to let your paint cure.

The top coat I recommend is H&C Wet Look Concrete Sealer (you can also buy this at Sherwin Williams).   DO NOT use a polyurethane on top of your floor, especially if you have used white paint.  You will hate your life when it yellows.

How To Paint and Clean Concrete Floors Full Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals-13

*When I did Ivie’s room I did 2 coats of Sealer and there are a few places where the concrete was not level and it puddled there and has yellowed a little bit.  So I would just say to one coat it and avoid that possible problem.

Once your top coat is finished wait at least 24 hours to walk on it and72 hours before you put furniture on it.  Deal?

Dylan's Dream Room Makeover @ Vintage Revivals

 

One question I get over and over again about painted concrete is how to clean it.  Surprisingly the best method that I have come up with (after trying lots and lots) is dish soap and a washcloth.  Yep,  regular old dish soap.

How To Paint and Clean Concrete Floors Full Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals-15

Put a small amount on the tough spot. (Dylan is going through a phase where she writes her name on EVERYTHING.)

 

How To Paint and Clean Concrete Floors Full Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals-7 Rub it in small circles with a damp washcloth.

Wipe it up with a clean non soapy one.

How To Paint and Clean Concrete Floors Full Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals-11

Do you have any questions about this project?  Leave them in the comments and I will answer them there!

Love Your Guts

 

 

 

This post was written in partnership with Sherwin Williams.  All project ideas, opinions and hard work are 100% mine.

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Comments

  1. I was thinking about painting the concrete floor in our nursery, do you think the concrete paint will last a fair amount of time?

  2. What do you do for the floor portion that meets up with the doorway? (since it’s lower after removing carpet) I can just picture myself tripping every time I walked out of the room….

    • Such a good question! The plan (that I havent gotten to on my to-do list yet!) is to paint a threshold piece white to match the floor because we cant get it to match our wood anymore. I will make sure to update this post when its in!

      xo
      mandi

  3. This is a great tutorial thank you so much! Do you think it would work in a garage? I am thinking of painting a portion and making a mudroom area, but I don’t just want plain concrete there. Do you think it would hold up?

    • There is some AWESOME epoxy paint at Home Depot- either gray or tan, and then you spread these flakes around. It cleans up really well, we’ve had it in our last 2 garages. (It’s made for garages and a lot of wear and tear)

  4. Perfect timing as I’m getting ready to do the very same thing. This tutorial is great, thanks so much for sharing!!

  5. Ok so this might be crazy but I have real hard wood floors do you think this type if paint would work on them or have you ever painted wood floors if so what would you deal it with?

  6. Seal it with

  7. Did you use a paintbrush to go around the edges or was the whole thing just done with the roller?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Does having concrete make the room colder? We painted our backyard cement and it seems really slippery (especially when wet!). That is another concern of mine.

  10. We have plywood floors upstairs. I recently tore out the linoleum in the bathrooms, carpet down the halls, and the carpet in the family room. I painted the plywood floors with porch paint and I couldn’t be more pleased! It was a huge pain in the butt to scrape the paper and adhesive from the bathroom floors, but it was worth it. I sanded a bit and had to fill in a little where the plywood wasn’t flush, but other than that I left the “imperfections” and painted (and patterned) right over them. Porch paint is simply AH-MAY-ZING!

  11. Have you painted outdoor areas. We have a large concrete porch with a roof over it. It does get wet though. The concrete is that rough outdoor concrete though, not smooth like inside. Any experience with soemthign like that? I will be painting soem of our basement floors when we finish it. Looks great!

  12. How do the kids like it? I fear falling-out-of-bed-onto-concrete type injuries!

  13. Great tutorial. Just what I need for basement rooms. Thanks a whole bunch for doing all that research and putting it together in such a good format. You rock, gal!!!!

  14. It looks like you did some awesome designs with the painting, do you have any suggestions on how to do designs?

  15. Can you mop it to clean it?

  16. Can you mop it to clean it?

  17. We actually painted the vast majority of our 1621 square foot house with Sherwin-Williams floor paint in a dark charcoal gray (only the two bathrooms and the tile entry hall remain unpainted) similar to the painted charcoal gray floors we saw in Crate and Barrel in San Francisco (where the floors look amazing and finally convinced my husband to throw caution to the wind). It (the act of painting itself, which was about 10% of the job) was the easiest thing, ever. The prep work, however, was 90% of the job and wasn’t even remotely the easiest thing ever. My husband went room by room hand scraping overspray and glue off the concrete floor with a handled razor tool, vacuuming, more vacuuming, filling holes with concrete filler, vacuuming, and mopping, mopping, mopping.

    My one regret is not using the wet look sealer. Even now, I’m considering going back and sealing it. Somewhere in the back of my mind is the requirement that a clean floor also look shiny.

    How my husband cleans our floor: standard mop in mild, soapy water followed by standard dishcloth from the ragbag also in mild, soapy water.

    How I clean our floor (hint: I’m lazier): Wet Jet, but instead of the Swiffer solution, I drilled a hole in the top of the solution bottle and fill it with warm water and a drop of dish soap. I mop just like you normally would with a Wet Jet, then empty the solution bottle and throw away the pad (unless I used a microfiber cloth I sometimes use from the dollar store, then I toss that into the wash).

    I wouldn’t go back. I have kids and dogs and I love it. It’s so cool in the summer, and wasn’t nearly as cold as I thought in the winter. Our moms think we’re crazy, and maybe we are…but we love our painted concrete floor!

  18. Thank you for this great tutorial!!! I will have to bookmark this for future.

  19. Hi, I know this post is a few months old; but hoping you might still see my question…We have purchased SW Porch & Floor Enamel to paint our concrete floors as well, but we’re super concerned about the paint fumes from this product. It’s supposed to be low-voc, but did you find it to be low odor? Did it dry quickly and did any paint smell linger? Also, how was the smell of the shiny topcoat you mentioned? Thanks so much… we are very sensitive to chemical smells and just wondered about your experience.

  20. How long did you wait before you moved the furniture back in? I know you mentioned pads, I’m concerned that my furniture will be too heavy for 72 hours and I will mess up all my hard work. Did you have any trouble with anything sticking?

  21. meagan giles says:

    I plan to paint all the concrete floors in my house like this. I price checked these sherwin williams products and they’re a bit pricy. How far does a gallon of the wet look sealer go? How many rooms can i get out of one gallon??

    • You will probably only do one coat of the sealer so you will get a lot for your money, I think it has the sq/ft coverage on the gallon for exact numbers.

      xo
      m

  22. meagan giles says:

    I started painting and im so excited! I’ve always wanted to try this but wouldve never got up the balls to do it if i hadn’t stumbled upon this blog!

  23. I just painted a floor and the paint looked great. However the top coat looks awful. There are now shiny bubbles left on top and one area looks cloudy as if the top coat hasn’t dried fully. Do you have any suggestions for fixing it? Is there a way to get rid of the air bubble look?

  24. Hi. Thanks so much for the tutorial. We have old terrazzo floor, but to save a bit on money, we decided to paint the bathroom floor with a concrete paint color to compliment the bathroom. Home Depot convinced us to use non skid floor finish additive, which unknowingly to us gave the floor an unfinished floor texture. I wanted to buy the Glidden interior floor with gloss. But he convinced us that it was better to use BEHR concrete paint with these additive. The color is awesome, but I don’t like the texture. I really would like to have smooth look where it will not be too slippery, since it is the bathroom. Do you have any suggestions for us, please. Thanks in advance.

  25. Hi Mandi,

    The guy at Sherwin Williams suggested this paint for a dresser I am refinishing for my new baby’s room. Is this a good choice for furniture, especially a baby’s room? Just concerned about the chemical content long term.

  26. I recently moved into a house where all the floors are covered with the garage floor epoxy with the flakes you mentioned to someone earlier. I was wondering if you had any ideas for how to paint over it. Do you think I could just sand it and paint over it?

  27. Does the top coat make it any more slippery? Or is it not that big of a difference in how slippery it is?

  28. I have had concrete floors in my large living room/dining area/great room for years. I tore up my old carpet, hoping to replace it with laminate flooring. Life happened and I have not had the financial resources to get the laminate. I am sick to death of my “garage floor,” and am thinking of painting it white. My question is, would this technique also work to paint over the unglazed terracotta tile floor in the kitchen that is attached to my great room?

  29. Hi, have you got advice on the best way to remove paint from concrete. On the cheap. I have a large warehouse of concrete walls that have horrible orange paint on them. And want to strip it back to raw concrete.
    Cheers

    • Rhonda N. says:

      @Trent – I’ve used a product called Soygel by Franmar to remove paint from a concrete floor. It worked really well on my home’s concrete slab, and it is rather environmentally safe. I’m sure it would do a great job of paint removal for you, but I’m not sure how you successfully get the loosened paint and Soygel out of the pores of the concrete blocks? (Assuming the walls are made of blocks, that is….) The Franmar folks were awesome with product support services. Call them up and ask their opinion! I am not associated with Franmar, just a homeowner!

  30. Neat blog…. and gets me to thinking I might need to do this to my basement walls, make the storage room and storm shelter not only brighter but, better looking too. I assume the same Paint and sealer will work on concrete interior walls as well……

  31. Janet Malenfant says:

    Great tutorial! We are about to paint our lower level concrete floor. Our lower level is a walk-out to our beach and the only thing I’m worried about is that top coat. I know I’ll love the look of it, but I wonder if I come in the room with wet feet if I’ll wipe out! How have your kids made out with wet feet? For sure I won’t add non-skid. I’d rather skip the top coat! Would love your feedback.

  32. Great post! Been reading a lot of tips on how to do this. Thanks for the info!

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