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Question and Answer ArticlePainting a Concrete Floor

By Jennifer T. Derrick
Published: June 1, 2009

Q: We have decided it’s time to remodel and refinish our walkout basement at the cabin, and we’d like to paint the concrete floor for some color. (My understanding is that you can only stain concrete floors while they’re being poured, and it looks like we missed that opportunity, otherwise we’d rather do that.) Can you recommend any coatings/paint that would be durable for indoor/outdoor traffic? What about prep? Will it peel or wear? – Elizabeth Frend; via e-mail

A: Not all stains have to be incorporated while pouring the concrete. One product from Behr, called Solid Color Concrete Stain, can be used on both exterior and interior concrete and may be just the thing for your project. It is relatively easy to apply and it can be used on previously coated concrete or unfinished concrete. There are three basic steps for using the stain:

1. Etching and cleaning the concrete (for uncoated and/or new concrete) or just “scuff sanding” and cleaning it (if it has previously been stained, sealed or painted)

2. Applying primer

3. Applying the stain.

Another product Behr offers is called Premium Plus Porch and Floor Paint, but this can only be used on previously painted or primed exterior and interior concrete. Both concrete coating products, in addition to Behr’s Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain, are more slippery when wet, but you can easily add their recommended non-skid floor additive to prevent slipping.

Sherwin-Williams is another company with coatings for concrete. Both the H&C Concrete Stain and the Porch and Floor Enamel are for concrete applications.

As for overall durability, if you prep and prime the concrete as directed, the stains and paints are designed for normal wear and tear and should easily withstand peeling, scuffing and the like. Visit www.behr.com or www.sherwin-williams.com for more information; the sites are extraordinarily helpful and give detailed directions on using their products.  

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