Learn how to paint concrete to give plain surfaces a whole new look. A fresh coat of paint will make concrete stairs and walkways look like new and score you major curb appeal points.

Concrete is an inexpensive, durable building material, but all that gray can be a bit boring. You can paint or stain just about any concrete surface—a walkway, concrete stairs, concrete brick walls, or even a basement or garage floor. Weathered concrete with cracks or stains is difficult to fix without the patched section standing out, which is especially annoying in front-facing areas of a house. A coat of paint will help disguise repairs on concrete steps and walkways. The result is a clean and finished look that will give a home's entrance great curb appeal.

Don’t skimp on the preparation before painting concrete. Getting the surface as clean and smooth as possible will give you the best results. And when shopping for products, look for cleaners and sealers that are specially formulated for concrete. Happy painting!

  • Working time 4 hrs
  • Start to finish 5 days
  • Difficulty Kind of hard
  • Involves Sanding, Sealing, Painting
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What you need

Tools
Materials
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How to do it

Step 1

Clean Off Concrete

Use a stiff-bristle brush to remove loose concrete or debris from trouble spots. If you’re working outdoors, rip out any moss or weeds from the cracks of your walkway. Need a deeper clean? Use a power washer to make sure everything is off the concrete. Let the concrete dry completely before moving on to the next steps.

Read these dos and don'ts of power washing first.

Warning

If you’re working with an interior concrete floor or walls and signs of water damage are already there, painting over it won’t fix the underlying problem. If you’re unsure, have a professional check it out.

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Step 2

Patch Holes and Cracks

Patch small holes or cracks using a putty knife and concrete compound. Let it cure. Follow the application and drying instructions on the packaging. Don’t worry about getting them perfect, as you’ll sand next.

Step 3

Sand Smooth

Sand off any rough spots or bumps. Sandpaper attached to an inexpensive pole sander lets you cover more ground faster without having to bend over. Try to get the surface as smooth as possible before painting. If you’re working inside, clean up your sanding residue with a vacuum. Be sure to wear a dust mask, protective glasses, and gloves.

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Step 4

Prep Concrete for Paint

Prep steps with a concrete cleaner, degreaser, and etcher following manufacturer's instructions. Give the concrete another rinse with a powerwasher before this step, if needed. Read the labels; many of these products are sold as a 2-in-1 or all-in-one solution, so you may only need to use one. Always wear protective gear when working with any strong chemicals.

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Step 5

Prime and Paint

Check the weather for the days you plan to paint so any outdoor paint will have a chance to dry. Cover any rust spots with concrete sealing primer and let dry fully before painting. Concrete is highly porous, so don’t skip the priming step or your paint won’t stick! Some paints come with primer already in the formula. If that’s the case, then you can dive right into painting. Choose a non-skid exterior or interior concrete paint accordingly, depending on what you’re painting. If you are painting up to the edge of your house or walls, tape off the base so you don't get any paint on your siding. Paint the area of your choice with a clean finish. If your paint is not non-skid, apply a second coat with a non-skid grit additive for better traction.

See even more ways to boost curb appeal.

Warning

Fresh concrete cannot be painted. If your home is new, consult with your contractor to find out when the concrete will be ready to paint (usually after about a month or two).

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