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Tips on How to Paint Concrete

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Just like any specific type of painting, if you want to paint concrete, there are a number of things to understand before you start the job. While concrete painting jobs aren't as common as other painting projects around the house, there are a few areas where homeowners get the itch to improve the look of their concrete floors. One is the garage and the other is the basement floor. Both areas can be finished and used as living space, triggering the urge to make the floor stand out and sparkle. Here are some general guidelines to follow if you want to tackle a concrete painting project:

  • Don't paint fresh concrete. This is an absolute no-no with freshly poured concrete. You must allow the new concrete to cure, which means you need to wait. That means at least three weeks and up to a month before putting down any paint on new concrete.
  • Check for moisture. Obviously, moisture is a killer with any paint job. Moisture can be a significant issue if you are going to paint concrete, particularly basement floors. Before beginning the painting process, experts recommend that you test the floor to make sure you don't have a moisture issue. Find a piece of plastic at least one-foot square in size and tape it to the floor. Wait two days and look for any signs of moisture on the plastic. If you have some, then you'll need to seal the floor first. If there are any puddles, it's imperative that you find the origin of the leak - which could be coming from a nearby pipe, a crack in the foundation or even streaming down from a tiny leak in the roof.
  • Clean the floor. The paint isn't going to attach to the floor unless the concrete is completely clean. If the floor has been painted previously, scrape up any loose paint and vacuum up the paint chips and any dirt. Then wash the floor and apply a degreasing agent if you have any areas of grease.
  • Patch any trouble spots. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a concrete patch kit at your hardware store. Once your floor is patched and completely cleaned, now is the time to seal the floor, if that is necessary. Check with the manufacturer on sealing information.
  • Primer, paint, sealer. Finally, it's time to apply a primer and then paint the concrete. However, it's also possible to purchase paint that is combined with primer, which will make the job a lot easier. Experts recommend doing the job in small strips, perhaps starting at the far end of the room and working back toward a door or stairs. It's best to paint concrete in a couple of layers than in a single thick application. Finally, after following all the directions for the primer and paint, apply one final coat of sealer.

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