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The Truth About How To Paint Concrete Patios

A dirty & tired looking concrete patio can be a real eyesore on your home. That is why many homeowners consider painting the concrete in order to add a fresh new look to their outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, the information regarding painting concrete patios can be very confusing, which is why our experts have put together this guide in order to give you all the information you need.

Painting concrete patio

Can You Paint Concrete Patios?

The first step is to establish whether concrete patios can be painted. The answer is yes, they can be painted, however they cannot be painted using any generic paint. Contrary to popular belief, a standard masonry paint is not suitable to be applied to a concrete patio. This is down to a number of reasons:

  • Masonry paint is designed for vertical concrete & brick walls
  • Masonry paint cannot withstand standing water, which an outdoor concrete patio has to endure
  • Masonry paint is not designed to take the wear and tear from foot fall that a floor must endure, which is why floor paints are specifically designed

While a masonry paint will adhere to concrete once a primer has been applied, the durability of masonry paint once applied to a floor will be poor, lasting a fraction of the lifespan of the product if applied to an exterior wall, as it was designed to do. The reality is, even under conditions they were designed under, standard masonry paints are susceptible to moisture soaking through the paint film and causing the paint to peel & flake off the concrete. This is why waterproof masonry paints were developed in order to prevent this water ingress, although these are not suitable for horizontal surfaces also as they have not been designed to repel water that sits on the surface of the concrete.

So, what paint can you use on outdoor concrete patios? Well, there are a number of products on the market that are designed with concrete floors in mind. These have been specially formulated to withstand footfall and will not fail once water begins to pool on the surface.

What Is The Best Paint For Concrete Patios?

When it comes to a paint that has been specially designed for exterior concrete floors, our experts highly recommend 7200 RustOleum Floorcoat. This is a highly advanced solvent-based floor paint that is hard-wearing, easy to apply and is ideal for use on a wide range of exterior floored surfaces, including concrete patios driveways and garden block paving slabs. It provides the durability needed for a concrete patio as it contains a polyurethane that offers superb abrasion resistance. This ensures that the paint film remains intact, preventing paint peeling or flaking that will require constant maintenance.

Aside from its performance, 7200 RustOleum Floorcoat offers excellent versatility in terms of finish. It is available in both satin & gloss finishes and it can be mixed in almost any colour. This means that no matter what look you want to achieve, it is possible. When it comes to painting an exterior surface like a concrete patio, you get what you pay for. As any professional decorator will tell you, if you buy a cheap paint, you will have to buy it twice!

How To Paint A Concrete Patio

Before you start any painting project on outdoor concrete patios, you must check the moisture levels of the concrete using a moisture reader. If the moisture levels are above 10% it is too wet to paint, resulting in the paint eventually failing. If you cannot get a moisture reader, put some metal or plastic down on the concrete overnight. In the morning if there is moisture on the underside of the plastic or metal, this indicates that the concrete has a large moisture content.

What You Will Need

1. Clean

Dirt and grime is extremely easily collected by concrete patios, which is why you must clean the surface first before anything else. Clear the full patio of furniture and sweep the surface using a garden brush in order to remove large amounts of leaves & dirt. This will be significantly easier if you do this in dry weather, especially as to continue with the other steps it must be completely dry anyway. Scrub any dirt or grease from the concrete using warm soapy water and a stiff brush. For a deep clean, you can use an anti-fungal cleaner such as Emperor Masonry Cleaner that will kill any fungus that can bloom underneath the paint film, causing the paint to fail. This is highly recommended if you want long-term results.

2. Preparation

Once the concrete is clean, it is then time to prep it ready for to paint. The first part of this is to ensure that any cracks in the concrete are repaired, if this is something you want to do. This is not a step that you have to take, but if you want to achieve the best possible finish repairing any cracks is an option. Start by removing any debris or loose material from the crack. Using an exterior filler such as Toupret Touprelith F Masonry Repair Filler fill the crack, working the filler back and forth in straight lines. It is recommended to slightly overfill the crack to ensure that the crack is fully filled and to account for any shrinkage. Once this has been done, you must then sand the filler down in order to achieve a smooth finish.

3. Prime

On bare outdoor concrete, depending on the floor paint you are using, it may require a primer. Even if the paint you are using is self-priming, it is recommended to use a primer for the best possible results as primer ensures the paint can properly adhere to the surface long-term. Rustoleum 7201 Floorcoat PU Floor Primer is ideal for use with 7200 Rust-Oleum Floorcoat. Apply one-coat of the primer using a paint brush or a paint roller, ensuring a thin but even coating. Allow to completely dry before moving on to painting, as per the manufacturer's instructions.

4. Paint

Starting at the edges apply the first coat of paint with a paint brush and eventually using a roller to paint the main bulk of the patio. You should ensure that you use a long-pile roller sleeve when painting any exterior concrete as this gives you the best possible coverage and allows you to paint in the various bumps and cracks of a rough exterior surface.

We would recommend using an extension pole to take the pressure off your arms and back.

This first coat of paint should be a thin, even layer as this is solely to create a solid basecoat to the concrete, rather than to add a strong build of colour. Allow to dry completely, which will be a minimum of 12 hours due to it being a solvent-based paint. Once the first coat of outdoor concrete paint has fully dried, apply the second coat slightly thicker to the concrete, ensuring you paint in all of the cracks and bumps in the concrete. It may require a third coat of paint depending on the surface and the thickness of your previous coats.

Allow to completely cure over a period of 24 hours without walking on the concrete.

An Alternative Option

If you are looking to protect your outdoor concrete without changing its appearance, there is another option. A patio sealer or a super hydrophobic concrete waterproofer can be applied to concrete that prevent moisture absorbing into the concrete causing it to discolour. By creating a water repellent surface, these products ensure that concrete patios and paving slabs remain looking like new for decades, which is a fantastic option if you do not want to paint your concrete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is painting concrete a good idea?

Any floor surface is going to be a riskier surface to paint compared to a walled surface. This is simply down to the nature of a floor and the traffic it must endure. Further to this, with an outdoor concrete surface, the risk is even higher due to the weather. While concrete patios can be successfully painted, it should always be done with caution and the with the knowledge that it may fail at a quicker rate than other surfaces. This is why decking is not included in the warranties of outdoor wood paints, as it is much more likely to fail when applied to decking when compared to a fence due to higher wear and tear.

Q. What roller should I use for painting concrete?

For any outdoor concrete it is recommended you use a long-pile roller. A long-pile roller is a roller sleeve that has longer fibres that allow it not only to pick up more paint, but to apply this paint on rougher surfaces where a short-pile roller should struggle to reach all of the nooks and crannies. The 9" Hamilton Perfection Long Pile Roller with the 9" Hamilton Perfection Wooden Roller Frame is a fantastic option when it comes to a high-quality roller that you can use time after time.

If you would like to find out more paint rollers, why not read our full guide to the best paint rollers?

Q. Will painting concrete prevent mould?

Paint itself won't kill mould and fungus. By using an anti-fungal cleaner before applying the paint, you can ensure that there is no mould underneath the paint film that will affect the performance of the paint.

Q. Will painting concrete prevent mould?

Paint itself won't kill mould and fungus. By using an anti-fungal cleaner before applying the paint, you can ensure that there is no mould underneath the paint film that will affect the performance of the paint.

The Best Colours for Outdoor Concrete Patios

When it comes to any painting project, one of the biggest decisions is what colour of paint to use. Rust-Oleum 7200 PU Floorcoat is available in the paint mixing service we have here at Painters World, where we can mix paint in almost any colour including RAL, British Standard and equivalents of all major paint manufacturers colours.

All you have to do is type in the name of the colour you would like or search through our colour palettes until you find the shade you are looking for.

When it comes to concrete patios, there are a number of popular shades that homeowners often opt for. Grey shades are an obvious choice especially in lighter tones, however dark grey tones such as Anthracite Grey and Black Grey can leave a beautifully clean & modern look on a patio.

Alternatively, lighter greys and white can be an equally effective use of colour, although they are not as bold as a darker shade. These are perfect for simply breathing a new lease of life into the patio without changing the look & feel of an outdoor space, although they are more susceptible to looking dirty over time.

Finally, why not try using a stencil on your patio. By painting a base coat of colour and then stencilling using white, you can create a beautifully impactful and unique look that will be the envy of everyone you know!

Painted patio

We hope this has answered any questions you may have had regarding painting concrete patios and paving slabs. If you require any more help, just send an email to the team at If you are planning to take on a new project one you have painted your concrete floors, why not consider painting garage floors? At Painters World we have a wide range of trade paint & decorating supplies available, so no matter the job we've got the right tools for you. Get FREE next working day delivery on all orders when you spend over £50!

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