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┬áif 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!

Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    PS
    We are painting the floors in our whole house until we have saved enough for ‘real’ flooring. You say not to walk on it for 6 days. That is impossible in some areas of our home like the hallway, ect. Would it be different with latex??
    Or should I ask the nice paint lady…

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Stephanie,

      Good question! Latex paint definitely cures up faster than oil-based porch and floor paint (which is known to take a while to dry) but you’ll get the best durability with the oil-based stuff. I’d definitely check with the nice paint lady to see what she recommends! Is there any way you can get creative to make it work (sleeping on an air mattress in another room and using the gym to shower instead of the bathroom down the hall, etc). Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  2. Laura says

    Hi…I’ll soon be needing to replace 40 y/o carpet in a LR and DR that have no hardwood beneath. But, I can’t afford the hardwood.

    Any idea if painted subfloor can work out? I love painted wood, so it’s no sacrifice…wondered if you have any suggestions.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Laura,

      Painted subfloor has a habit of looking a bit budget (since it doesn’t really resemble hardwood flooring), but perhaps doing a number of coats in a super glossy finish might look a bit more upscale?

      xo,
      s

  3. Rachel says

    Your floor looks incredible! And, like everyone else it seems, you all have been inspirational for me during my home remodeling projects. Of course I have a question so here goes: I know that you painted your floor after you had stained it. If you are just going to paint it does it need to be etched? Or will a cement primer work as well? Thanks so much for answering all the posted questions! I was just about to ask what to do about glue on the cement and I saw that you had already answered. Fantastic!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Rachel,

      Good old porch and floor paint should stick like glue to concrete whether you etch it or prime it. There are enough self-priming ingredients that you should be able to skip right to painting after giving your floor a thorough cleaning.

      xo,
      s

  4. danielle says

    any experience / ideas with painting an outdoor concrete patio? (our’s actually goes across the width of the house in the back and wraps around to the front where its the driveway).

    • says

      Hey Danielle,

      The good news is that concrete paint and stain is all-weather and meant to be used either indoors or outdoors so you can do the same thing outside as you would inside. It might be nice to stain your concrete patio a warm sandy color just for a bit of dimension, and of course painting it a rich tone like chocolate brown would also add some nice drama and definition. Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

    • Rob says

      in regards to doing this on an outside covered patio, what about the dry time involved and since being outside, the possibility of getting objects from Mother Nature on it before it has dried?????? Can this be covered with plastic or something?

    • says

      I would just try to do it on a dry day without of wind so nothing blows on it. It should dry pretty fast but take some more time to cure (if a leaf falls on it it’s fine but you don’t want to walk on it right away).

      xo,
      s

  5. megan says

    We are buying a house that has a “den” which is the living room- an addition that steps down from the rest of the pier-and-beam foundation. It’s a concrete slab underneath carpet and we are thinking of either staining/painting the concrete, but we may just replace the carpet.

    I love the rich chocolate look of your floors, but I am worried about the den ceiling (which is medium brown oak beadboard). I feel like the room will be very dark (we have dark wood furnishings) with wood ceiling, dark floors, etc, even though there is plenty of natural light. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Megan,

      Have you considered painting the ceiling bright white to immediately lighten everything up and make the room feel about a foot taller? No pressure if that’s not something you’d like to do, just throwing it out there as an easy fix. You could also go with a medium sandy tan tone on the floors instead of going deep chocolate to keep things feeling warm and rich without going too dark. Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  6. Cathy says

    I saw your comment on “no need to etch” before painting. Do you have to etch concrete before using the Behr concrete semi-transparent stain? or can you just prime and paint? The “can” says to etch the concrete first. I’ve been told the stain would not adhere correctly without etching first. However, I find it hard to saturate an interior floor to that extent (etching process) without damaging sheetrock and baseboards.

    • says

      Hey Cathy,

      In our experience, concrete is incredibly porous. It sucks up paint and stain and anything else you toss onto it like a sponge. So we believe that etching is not necessary and did not do it when we stained ours (which looked great and remained perfect under some pretty heavy foot traffic over the span of a few years). Perhaps the etching step is necessary if the concrete has been sealed or they’re just suggesting it to be safe, but in our experience it wasn’t necessary at all. You can always do a small test spot without etching to see how it goes first. Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  7. Anne says

    I love your floor, my husband and I actually just refinished the hardwood in our house a dark brown color, but refinishing was back-breaking work, and we don’t have the energy to put all of that into our bedroom wood floor, although it needs serious help. We were thinking about painting the floor the same color you used in your sunroom, but I’m not sure if that will look good or not…It looks great on yours, but do you think it would look equally good on wood or would that be a major mistake?? We can’t really afford putting in carpet right now, and this seems like the most feasible solution.
    Thanks for your inspirational blog,
    Anne

  8. Jen says

    WOW! This is gorgeous! We are in Texas and have considered painting/staining our living room floor. The carpet has got to go and it would be convenient if we could just paint the concrete underneathe. However, this may be a question for a Texas realtor, but do you find that painting concrete makes for good resale value over re-carpeting?

    Thanks a bunch!

    • says

      Hey Jen,

      It’s definitely a question you could ask a realtor but we would venture to guess that anything you can do to your unfinished concrete to make it look more finished, warm and cozy would be a good thing. Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  9. Jennifer says

    My husband and I saw your site and love this idea for our family room, which was a garage about 6 months ago. We were wondering if you would have primed your floors if they had not been previously stained? Also what type of cleaner did you use?

    Thank You.

    • says

      Hey Jennifer,

      Nope, concrete is super porous so just go straight to painting after sweeping/vacuuming and wiping everything down with mild soap and water (and waiting for it to dry of course). Oh and be sure to use porch and floor paint which is meant to stand up to foot traffic. Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  10. Sarah says

    Love your blog! You’ve inspired me to tackle my basement. Please tell me if I’m getting myself into a lot of work but here’s what I’m thinking. I have two bedrooms and a 3/4 bathroom in the basement along with what will eventually be a large family room. I’m thinking of painting the floors in the bedrooms and the family room a medium brown (haven’t looked at colors yet!) then going back over it with a lighter brown then hitting it with a wood grain tool to attempt to make it look like the hardwood that is throughout the main floor. The bathroom would probably start out a light gray with “grout lines” painted in later. Do you think this would work?

    Sarah

    • says

      Hey Sarah,

      It probably would look nice but it would definitely be a lot of work! Perhaps trying the treatment in a closet or a corner of one of your rooms before going for it in a number of rooms all at once would make the most sense? We definitely think it may resemble the appearance of hardwood, but people probably won’t be fooled as the feeling of walking on concrete and wood is very different (people can even usually tell the difference between wood laminate flooring and hardwood flooring, so the comparison of concrete and wood will probably be obvious). If you’re just going for a similar look and don’t specifically plan on fooling people, it should definitely work though! Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  11. Sonya says

    Does tne paint come in a matte or semi-gloss finish do you klnow? We need it for our outdoor concrete porch that is covered by a roof in the front of our house.

    SW

    • says

      Good question! I believe it comes in both and we went with the semi-gloss for easy cleaning (the sheen does not make it slippery, which is definitely a good thing). Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  12. megan says

    Hey guys,
    We are wanting to do this in our den/living room that is an add-on (2 steps down on a concrete slab from the rest of the house that is pier and beam). The concrete is not previously treated, just raw with lots of marks/stains/paint drips. When we got the rest of the floor in our house refinished (original hardwood), we had our floor guy go ahead and sand the concrete too to get it smooth…we didn’t want to do carpet there since it opens up to the back patio/yard. Do we need to do an muratic acid wash prior to painting since it’s raw concrete or just vacuum/sweep and wash gently? Thanks!

  13. Marisol says

    I am very excited by your actual design projects. I have gotten so many ideas from your website on what to do with my basement. We have new construction and the walls are constructed with this faux type of brick. So I was inspired by your living room, I primed the walls white so far, and will paint them the glidden color Wishes. I plan to do the floor like your sunroom floor. I have researched all these websites on how to paint concrete floors. People make it to difficult to keep up. Your website made it so simple.

    I would like to know did you put any type of epoxy to protect the color on the sun room floor? And also, the paint Wishes is it flat, semi-gloss, high gloss?

    Thanks for your website and inspiring home projects,

    • says

      Hey Marisol,

      We didn’t apply any epoxy since porch and floor paint is meant to hold up to foot traffic on it’s own (and layering anything might actually have made it less durable since it’s meant to be applied alone). As for Wishes, it’s by Glidden and it comes in a number of finishes (flat, semi-gloss, high gloss, etc) but for walls not in a wet environment (like a bathroom or kitchen) we always use flat paint (which hides the most imperfections). Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  14. says

    I’d like to repaint our basement floor to tide us over until we can refinish the basement. The floor we inherited is partially painted and that paint has chipped off in some spots. What would be the best way to prepare this floor before we begin repainting? Would we use the same type of paint etc. that you used in your sunroom?

    • says

      Hey Susan,

      Good question! So good in fact that we’re not sure. We would ask the paint professional at your home improvement store to suss things out. Good luck!

      xo,
      s