Vintage Revivals · Jun 24, 2013

How To Paint Concrete UPDATED!! (Plus My Secret Cleaning Tip!)

Happy Monday my friends! You may or may not know that about a year and 1/2 ago I posted a really through tutorial for painting concrete/cement. Ivie’s floor was my first experience and its held up really well, so well in fact, that I decided to rip the carpet out of Dylan’s room and paint her floor too.

So why another tutorial? Well, I’ve learned a few things along the way that I would love for you to know to (in case you are planning on tackling your own concrete painting project!)

Carpet Removal

First up is carpet removal. Not the funnest job in the world, that is for sure. Dyl’s room is preeeeetty small so it wasn't a horribly hard job (but if you need a few more tips on that, pop over and check out this post on YHL.)

Once your carpet and pad are out its time to remove the tack strips. (Those are the pieces of wood along the edge of your carpet that hold it in place.) You can use a myriad of tools for this from a chisel, to a hammer, to a screw driver. We used floor scrapers to remove them (you can see both of them in the picture above) The one on the left is a little finer and you have a little more control, and the one on the right is sort of like the bulldozer of floor scrapers and destroys everything in its path. Basically you are using them to pry up the tack strips. Make sure when you pick them up you are wearing gloves, those suckers are sharp.

Remove Adhesive

Now you have the fun job of getting off all of the carpet glue. And actually the proper spelling of that would be Carpet Human Fly Trap GAAA-LOOOOOOE. Our carpet was laid when we moved into our house 4 years ago and the glue was still VERY sticky. I don't know at what point it looses its tack and becomes concrete like but I have heard that does happen….

In my first post I talked about dousing it with Lacquer Thinner and letting it sit and then dousing it again and scraping it off with a plastic scraper. This is what I have learned since then, if you pour a fair amount of Lacquer Thinner on and then cover it with a plastic garbage bag for 10 minutes the glue comes RIGHT off. Very little scraping involved. I took a few garbage bags and cut them down one side and the bottom so that they could cover a larger area.

Fill Holes

If you previously had carpet, then you are going to have lots of cute little holes along your baseboard that will need to be filled before you can paint. Mix up a batch of Quickcrete and fill your holes (its ok if you overfill them a little) and let it cure overnight.

Sand Baby Sand

The last prep step is to sand your heart out. Use a pole sander (you can buy them for around $6.00 at Sherwin Williams) and 80 Grit Sand Paper to rough up the entire surface of the floor. Sand the entire floor one direction, then sweep it up. Then sand it in the opposite direction, then sweep it up. Then sand one MORE time and this time when you sweep you want to sweep, vacuum, sweep, vacuum. Until you are SURE there is no dust left. (If you get it wet at this point you will have to wait 24 hours for it to fully dry, so don't do that) Just sweep and vacuum like your floor’s life depends on it…because it does. Take special care to sand along the edges where you filled the tack strip holes and they should blend right in.

Now comes the fun part.


Painting a floor is hands down the easiest thing on the planet. In fact I would rather paint 5000 floors than 1 ceiling. You don't even need a paint tray!

But you do need good paint. Regular latex paint is NOT for this project. You need something specially designed to withstand the beatings that a floor takes. The paint that I recommend is Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor Enamel. It is AMAZING and has held up SO well in Ivie’s room. It is a water based paint (so no crazy fumes) that is self priming and goes on so smooth. You do not want to get the wrong product when you are doing a project like this (can you imagine?!). You can have it tinted to any color of the rainbow, but personally I love the Extra White Base.

Make sure that you are using a microfiber roller cover that has a 5/16” nap for a really smooth finish. (If you are doing a top coat you will need to buy 2 of them.)

Pour your paint onto the corner furthest away from your door. I usually pour an amount that is the size of a dinner plate. If you have closets in the space you will want to start there.

Roll it the same way that you would roll a wall, in a “W” pattern. Make sure that you are not leaving any gobs behind (yes, gobs is the technical term.)

Also, notice in the picture above that the holes that were filled absorb the paint more than the regular floor. So go over those extra well.

This picture is after 1 coat.

Let coat 1 cure for a few hours. Once it is dry recoat following the same pattern. I didn't need more than 2 coats on Dylan’s floor, but if you do, wait the appropriate amount of time before you recoat.

Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor Enamel does not require a top coat to seal it. You can leave it just how it is with a Satin finish and be golden as the geese on Willy Wonka.


I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a top coat on because it makes cleaning the floors easier. It makes them shinier (this picture from Ivie’s room is the perfect example!)

If you are putting on a top coat, wait 24 hours before you do it to let your paint cure.

The top coat I recommend is H&C Wet Look Concrete Sealer (you can also buy this at Sherwin Williams). DO NOT use a polyurethane on top of your floor, especially if you have used white paint. You will hate your life when it yellows.

*When I did Ivie’s room I did 2 coats of Sealer and there are a few places where the concrete was not level and it puddled there and has yellowed a little bit. So I would just say to one coat it and avoid that possible problem.

Once your top coat is finished wait at least 24 hours to walk on it and72 hours before you put furniture on it. Deal?

One question I get over and over again about painted concrete is how to clean it. Surprisingly the best method that I have come up with (after trying lots and lots) is dish soap and a washcloth. Yep, regular old dish soap.

Put a small amount on the tough spot. (Dylan is going through a phase where she writes her name on EVERYTHING.)

Rub it in small circles with a damp washcloth.

Wipe it up with a clean non soapy one.

Do you have any questions about this project? Leave them in the comments and I will answer them there!

This post was written in partnership with Sherwin Williams. All project ideas, opinions and hard work are 100% mine.

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