The concrete floor of the basement or garage looks deplorable and the floor paint salesman made it sound so easy. Be cautious! While it is possible to paint concrete floors, there are also some pitfalls ahead. What should you avoid?
Understanding Concrete Floors
A concrete floor is supremely durable and needs precious little care. This makes it perfect for the high-traffic area, the heavy duty storage corner in the basement or for parking the oil-leaking contraption in the garage. Homeowners eventually remember the drab-looking floors and consider sprucing them up with a bit of floor paint.
Yet due to the nature of concrete, the prep work associated with this job is a lot more involved than for any other surface. As a result, the homeowner who tries to cut corners is sure to encounter problems before, during or after the paint job.
Is it Wet?
Tim Carter explains that virtually any floor surface is fair game when it comes to applying floor paint – with the exception of concrete. Pointing out that a basement concrete floor that is in direct contact with wet soil is difficult to handle – due to seepage – he warns that concrete floor paint may peel.
Tip: Find out if there is a vapor barrier underneath your slab. If the answer is ‘yes,’ the odds are good that the concrete floors will hold the paint just fine. If the answer is ‘no,’ the homeowner must consider the budget and contemplate having that moisture barrier installed.
Is it Durable?
The homeowner who loves concrete floors due to durability may be disappointed when he is done applying the floor paint. Unlike naked concrete, a painted floor will soon show chips and peeling. Even with two coats of paint, the danger of chipping is heightened by increased foot traffic or furniture movement.
Tip: Three clear coats or urethane increase the longevity of the paint. Concrete floors in high traffic areas and also the garage must undergo this final step or the homeowner will risk having to redo the paint job sooner rather than later.
Is That Leftover Paint?
Perhaps the greatest enemy of a good concrete floor paint job is the lure of cheap leftover paint. Maybe it is the mark-down rack at the big box home improvement store or the questionable supply of paint in the back cabinet in the garage. It is foolhardy to assume that a material such as concrete will be overly forgiving of a poor coating choice.
Tip & Warning: Nine times out of 10, masonry primer is a must-have. The paint manufacturer will outline which products are compatible with their floor paint. Do not stray from these recommendations! Even as water-based paint is easier to work with, oil-based substances coat and adhere better.
Ask the Builder: “Painting Floors Really Works Well”