How To Paint A Concrete Floor

Our recent sunroom floor staining debacle led us away from semi-transparent floor finishes (which are fabulous for raw concrete but don’t work as well over previously stained concrete) and towards solid floor treatments that are yummy and glossy and opaque. We quickly learned that oil-based porch and floor paint was the best candidate for the room (since latex based floor paints can’t bond to a previously stained concrete surface) and at Lowe’s we happily discovered Valspar’s High Performance Oil-Based Porch & Floor Paint in a perfect chocolate brown color called Brownstone (here’s an affiliate link to it over on Amazon if you can’t find it in stores).

We’d been longing for a rich brown tone to tie into the adjoining room’s hardwood flooring, and Brownstone was a match made in floor paint heaven. Since the stuff is “extremely durable and resists scuffing while retaining its high gloss appearance”, it was the perfect solution for our high traffic sunroom. And not only is it great for concrete floors, it can also be used on wood floors and primed metal so it’s definitely something to keep in mind for any of the floors in your home that have seen better days.

So without further ado, we bring you the simple five step tutorial to painting your floor:

Step 1: Ensure that the floor is squeaky clean. This can be accomplished by thoroughly vacuuming and then going over your floor with a mildly soapy wet rag and waiting for the floor to dry completely before moving onto the next step. Additionally, if you’re painting a wood floor, any splintered or rough parts should be sanded or patched before moving on to the painting process.

Step 2: Edge the perimeter of the entire floor (about 4 inches or so) with a good quality brush that won’t leave any bristles behind. Oil based paint is deliciously glossy, which can makes things like errant paintbrush bristles stuck to the floor more obvious than a matte floor finish would.

Step 3: Use a paint roller with an extended pole attachment to coat the entire floor with one coat of paint. Roll in long even strokes and make a “w” pattern on the floor with the roller to eliminate any obvious paint globs from the side of the roller. Don’t forget to be smart about painting yourself out of the room as oil paint takes a looong time to dry before you can walk on it again.

Step 4: If you’re lucky, one coat of paint will do the trick. In our sunroom it would have except that we missed a couple of teeny slivers of the floor and wanted to go over the whole thing again for good measure and a uniform finish. You must wait at least a full 24 hours before applying a second coat, and even after 24 hours you may notice that your first coat isn’t completely dry (you may see subtle footprints as you walk across the floor) but you can proceed with your second coat since it’ll gloss over everything and leave it looking shiny and perfect again.

Step 5: Wait at least 6 full days to walk on your new floor. It may feel like torture, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And after almost a week of avoiding the space, you’ll be super excited to move in all of your furniture and make yourself at home. It should be noted that oil-paint is especially toxic and super stiiinky, so keeping a ceiling fan going and the windows open for the full 6 days is a smart idea (which means implementing that plan before the second coat since you won’t have access to the room afterwards).

So there you have it, a simple five step process to fantastic new flooring. Here’s ours looking all glossy and fabulous (like melted chocolate, I tell ya). We love the rich, uniform tone and the luxe sheen, and we’ve both noticed that the room looks a whole lot more “finished” with the newly painted floor.

We also love how it ties in with the dark brown window sashes around the entire room, and makes our white furniture pop even more than it did against our old orangey-gold floor.

And perhaps the most exciting thing of all is how the newly painted sunroom floor so perfectly ties into our existing hardwood floor in the adjoining laundry nook and den. It’s an almost seamless transition which makes the sunroom seem a lot more cohesive (it no longer screams “add-on”) thanks to the uniform floor color and super luxe sheen.

We hope our fast and furious floor painting tutorial has been of help. And of course feel free to send us your floor painting before and afters (we eat that stuff for breakfast). Happy rolling!


    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Amanda,

      We used Valspar’s High Performance Oil-Based Porch & Floor Paint in “Brownstone.” Hope it helps. Happy painting!


    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Megan,

      The daybed was a wedding gift from John’s god mother and hails from West Elm. Hope it helps! Happy hunting…


  1. Liz says

    The floor looks fabulous! My husband and I have considered either painting or staining our covered patio – do you have to etch the concrete prior to staining or painting to ensure that the paint/stain will adhere to the concrete? I’m hoping that you don’t have to, as I would LOVE to skip that step!

  2. mallory says

    I love love love your floor! We have beige ceramic tile floor throughout our condo and I hate it. Your project got me thinking about what it would look like painted too. Has anyone done this? I found directions and it doesn’t seem too hard but would like to see some pictures or hear some feedback from people who have tried it before my hubby and I take it on.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Mallory,

      We’ve never painted a ceramic floor but I’d imagine it would call for some special steps since ceramic tiles are so slick that I’d worry about proper adhesion. There’s a technique called tile reglazing, and they now sell at-home kits, so these days I’m not surprised if there’s a totally DIY way to do it! If you do end up taking the plunge, definitely send us before and after pictures along with the rundown of how it all went. Good luck!


  3. Karina Locke says

    Amanda and John,

    Great work! My husband and I are facing some of the same design dilemmas with our house and you’ve inspired us to start working on it. We recently removed the carpet off of our stairs and were hoping we could make it work with just the exposed untreated cement. I was wondering how you cleaned all the carpet residue off your sunroom floor and/or if you had to do anything else to prepare (other than cleaning) before you painted.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Karina,

      Good question! Our carpet was actually not stapled or glued down (it was just cut to size and dropped into our sunroom) so we didn’t have any residue to deal with. But the good news is that if you’re using a paint (which is opaque) and not a stain (which can be transparent) it should go right over any markings or unsightly discolorations and look seamless and wonderful in the end. Just be sure to scrub the concrete with soap and water (to get rid of any raised fuzz or dirt that can easily be removed) and let it thoroughly dry before painting. That should do it! Hope it helps. Happy painting…


  4. Juliet Robinson says

    You youngsters are a constant inspiration to me! I have two rooms with concrete floors in our partially finished basement, and I think I might just give this project a try. I have never worked with oil based paint though – only latex in my household! So the big question for me is, how hard is it to clean up your oil brushes and rollers? Do you clean with paint thinner? Mineral spirits?

    I’ve heard that oil based paints are much more durable so since this is a floor, I think it just might be worth the hassle of cleaning up sans water. Any thoughts or tips before I take the plunge into oil-based painting?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Juliet,

      We must admit that when it comes to oil-based paint, we’ve tried paint thinner to clean up rollers and brushes but they’re never the same so in the rare occurrences that we work with oil, we usually wrap the roller or brush in plastic wrap to ensure that we can apply all the coats of paint that are necessary for the job and then pitch them when they’re done. It’s totally worth the cost of a brush and a roller for the durability and quality in the end (be sure to not only use oil paint for the floors, but to use oil-based porch and floor paint that’s made to stand up to foot traffic for a flawless, lasting finish). We’re just sorry we can’t figure out the magic formula to save our brush and roller! If anyone else has cracked the code, feel free to chime in!


  5. says

    Do you know if this would work for an outdoor covered (but not enclosed) patio? I’d like to repaint our patio but I’m not sure what to use.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Kate,

      You’ll definitely want to check the label of the specific porch and floor paint that you end up purchasing but we’re 99.9% sure that it’s perfect for an outdoor patio (even if it’s not enclosed). As far as we know, all porch and floor paint is interior/exterior and meant to stand up to high traffic indoors or outdoors so it should work really well. Good luck!


  6. Sue Walker says

    We just pulled up carpet at our cabin that was glued to the plywood; what do you think about just painting over the glue left on the wood? There is no way to get it off its 40 years old and I am lazy!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Sue,

      Although it’s tempting to go right to painting (thinking it will hide imperfections), painting actually emphasizes anything that’s lumpy, smudged or otherwise marred so it’s waaaaay better to do your best to minimize or remove that glue before reaching for your paint brush. We’d suggest sanding it down to get rid of the raised texture that will definitely be even more obvious once you paint everything the same color. If sanding doesn’t work you can also check out Home Depot or Lowe’s for a glue-removing solvent that can be applied to dissolve the lumpy glue (it’ll do the work for you!). Hope it helps! Happy painting…


  7. says

    A good brush is the key to a good paint job and to buy a cheapie just because you can’t deal with cleaning it is a shame. Part of the joy of laying down a new paint job is the feel of the brush and paint in your hand.

    Here’s how to use and clean a brush. First, if you are using oil based paints make sure you are using a bristle brush specifically designed for oil paints. Secondly, when painting, dip the brush in the paint only half way up the length of the bristles. Brush bristles have a capillary type action and draw the paint up the length of the bristle. Dipping the brush higher than the half way mark will ensure that paint finds its way into the ferrule (the metal part), then your brush is ruined and can never be cleaned or restored.

    After painting, wipe the brush as dry as you can get it with a lint-free rag. Be sure to dispose of the rag in a container that will ensure you do not experience spontaneous combustion. Oil soaked rags will ignite, use caution. Once you have wiped most of the paint off the brush, using paint thinner, (mineral spirits, not turpentine), fill a jar, cans, etc. with about 3-4″ of thinner. Swirl the brush around in that, remove immediately and wipe with clean rag. Take another can, jar, etc. and pour fresh thinner into that, swirl brush again, wipe w/clean rag. Find a place where you can smack the brush back and forth rapidly against a post or metal pole…something that will allow you to get the brush as dry as possible. Using dish soap and warm water, wash the brush out several times. Rinse w/clear water and allow to dry flat or with bristles pointing up. Never, Never let a brush “soak” or sit in paint thinner or any solution. It will warp the bristles and allow solvent to enter the ferrule and compromise the glue which holds the bristles in place.

    Treat your brush like your best friend because it is. This is not hard to do but it just requires several steps more than cleaning a brush for latex paint. The same rules apply however for latex brushes as for oil, never let your brush sit in water to soak.

    Happy painting!

  8. says

    P.S. After 24 hours, the containers of mineral spirits you used to clean the brushes will settle out. The paint solids will fall to the bottom and you can decant the paint thinner for use on another project. The dried paint which remains in the bottom of the container can then be disposed of.

  9. Stephanie says

    I wanted to let you know that your room-by-room lists this paint floor color as Behrs brownstone. So we just went and bought a quart of it (there is such a color!) I was tipped off when I remembered that you did an oil-based paint but Home Depot said that they don’t carry an Oli based floor paint so I came to check it out.
    Anyway, above you say Valspar. I am assuming that is correct.
    Oh well, we will try out this brownstone and see if we likey! Perhaps it was a happy accident just so we could find this color!!
    Thanks for all youe resources!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Stephanie,

      So sorry about the mix up! Thanks for letting us know- we just went back and changed it to Valspar (which is correct). Our fingers are crossed that the color you picked up is perfect but we’ve also had luck returning “non returnable” paints by explaining that we accidentally picked up the wrong one (they’re usually super understanding and haven’t turned us away once). Hope it helps! Happy painting…


  10. Stephanie says

    Thanks! Actually the nice paint lady at Home Depot was super understanding and told us we could bring it back if it didn’t work! We just bought a quart to try it out and we have painted a little swatch on floor and…we like it! We will see what it looks like in the daylight! But I think we may have a winner! Thanks for posting all your info! It is so helpful to go with a color you have seen in action!… even though I guess officially we DIDN’T go with the color we saw in action…oh well. You know what I mean.

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