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Concrete Paint: Read This Before Painting Concrete

What You Need To Know About Concrete Paint

Do you want to paint your concrete? First, consider what the concrete is used for. That is to say, concrete is a common building material used in many residential homes.  For instance, it is used to make driveways, sidewalks, front steps, porch and patio floors, garage floors, basement floors and walls.  Alternatively, modern architectural designs incorporate concrete walls throughout the entire structure of the home and are typically left uncovered in raw form.

In addition, when a home has a sloped landscape, the rear exterior basement walls are exposed.  For instance, basement walls are made from masonry block or solid concrete.  However, these exposed walls are sometimes covered in brick or stucco.  On the other hand, if the exposed wall is solid concrete left uncovered in raw form it is typically painted to match the siding of the remainder of the home.

Characteristics of Concrete

If you know the characteristics of concrete, then you will better understand what coating you should use if you decide to paint it.  First, concrete is made from a mixture of cement, sand, water and air.  To clarify, cement is a manufactured product that consists or various ingredients including lime, calcium, clay, sand and other ingredients.  Next, water is mixed together with the other ingredients until it is sloppy mixture and poured into a form.  When it dries and cures it appears to be a solid material.  However, concrete is actually a porous material.  Likewise, if left in a raw form it will absorb moisture and become dirty with grime, grease and mold over time.  Therefore, it is important to seal the surface with a concrete sealer, stain, paint or epoxy.

How to Prepare Concrete Surfaces

Above all, concrete surfaces must be clean before you paint.  Therefore, you must remove any dirt, debris and grease.  For example, pressure washing with bleach is effective to breakdown mold and grime.  Likewise, an industrial detergent can be used for degreasing.  Most importantly, use a scrub brush to agitate and break down greasy oily stains, especially on garage floors.  If concrete has a previous coating, you should sand it to break down the enamel coating to improve adhesion.  

If the concrete is still in raw form, acid etch the surface with muriatic acid.  First, pour the acid onto the surface. Next, rinse off with water to leave a rough surface.  Certainly, this will help with adhesion and reduce alkalinity.  When raw concrete is old it can develop efflorescence.  Efflorescence is a buildup of a white crystalline powder substance made of alkali salts that form over time as water evaporates from the concrete.  It must be removed by brushing clean and covered in water and vinegar before rinsing off with water.

Sealing Concrete

It is best to leave concrete in its natural form if it is used in high traffic areas that are exposed to exterior elements.  However, it is recommended to apply a clear concrete sealer.  Therefore, you will prevent moisture from absorbing into the concrete that will enable mold growth and create a grimy surface.  Some products leave the concrete surface with a wet look while others do not change the appearance when dried.  This process should be repeated every 3 to 4 years.

Staining Concrete

The most common coating used on concrete surfaces is a concrete stain.  To clarify, concrete stains are solid colors that can be matched or coordinated with the exterior or interior paint colors applied to the rest of your home.  Likewise, stain will seal concrete and provide color while displaying the texture of the concrete.  However, if stains are used on driveways, walk ways, or patios they will break down over time.  On the other hand, stains can be mixed with the concrete before pouring for a more permanent coating.

Painting Concrete

Ofcourse, before you apply paint to raw concrete it must first be primed with a masonry primer product such as Loxon®.  In particular, if you paint exterior concrete walls you should use an exterior paint.  Likewise, interior basement walls can be painted with interior paint.  On the other hand, you can use a product such as DryLok® to prevent moisture seeping in to create a damp environment and mold growth.  

In addition, if you paint a porch floor it is recommended to use a floor paint product.  For example, Porch and Floor Enamel® has a thick and hard surface coating to endure heavy traffic.  However, it is not recommended to paint a garage floor with regular latex paint.

Coating Concrete with Epoxy

Epoxy coatings contain two parts; epoxy resins and a hardening agent.  For example, when both parts are mixed together a chemical reaction begins.  Next, the mixture creates a thermosetting polymer that is thick and viscous.  Meanwhile, pour the epoxy coating out onto the concrete floor.  After that, spread it around to ensure that it covers all surface areas.  To explain, it is a self-leveling coating that will cure after 72 hours.  The finished product is a hard surface that is perfect for concrete floors in basements and garages.  Specifically, it is resistant to heat from automobile tires and can withstand high traffic.

Concrete Coating Professional

Do you have concrete surfaces in and around your home?  Mold and mildew creates a slick surface that can be dangerous on concrete steps and walkways.  Do you want to improve your home’s curb appeal? If you do, then you should consider coating your concrete surfaces.  Contact Swell Contractors for a free estimate for a professional concrete coating solution that is best for you.

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