How to Paint a Concrete Patio

How to paint a concrete patio

Patio season is coming, or it is already here, and you’ve invested in a new grill, awning, and barbeque set. All seems perfect until you place them and notice that the contrast with your old patio is awful. It’s dirty, dull color, and not even a pressure washer can save it anymore.

You start to look up alternatives, but patio pavers, terra cotta stones, and everything else just seems so expensive and labor-intensive. You start to lose hope little by little as you’ve already spent some cash on the previous items.

Well, lucky for you – here is a less expensive solution where you don’t need to cut stones or do any other heavy labor. You can use paint to coat your patio and even imitate some decorations if you don’t want any boring one color solutions.

I’m going to cover some basic steps for how to paint a concrete patio. I’ll use as much description as I can without seeing the project. This will help you to estimate if you want to do this project.

Everything you need is at your local hardware store. Since not all patios need the same preparation, read the article carefully to design your shopping list.

What you need to paint the patio:

  • Paintbrushes. 3 inches would be good to start if you don’t have small details or hard spots to paint. If you need smaller ones, you can buy them as well.
  • Paint roller. You can use a regular paint roller for the paint, but coating might be better to be done with short microfiber.
  • Primer and paint for concrete. Primer is here so the paint will stick better, buy for 2 coatings.
  • Coating. You will use this to coat the surface after painting. It will protect your hard work. Before you buy, check that primer, paint, and coating work together from the local seller. Some don’t mix well, so it’s good to make sure. If not sure, ask the seller what kind of paint can be used on concrete. They might promote epoxy or polyurethane depending on climate.
  • Soap, water, mop, scrub brush, or broom. For cleaning purposes.
  • Concrete degreaser. It will do the last removal.
  • Floor sander with sandpaper for concrete. Check the rental place that they give you the correct papers for the patio project. You don’t want the patio to be polished as a little rough surface is better for paint and primers to adhere to.
  • Concrete repair filler and trowels. This is for the small fixes. If you need to do bigger ones, I’ve got a guide here.
  • Painter’s tape. You can use this for painting borders with a clean line.
  • Measuring tape and pencils (optional). If you need to mark.
  • Stencils (optional). Stencils are used if you want to create nice patterns.
  • Gloves, masks, respirators as needed. It’s good to protect yourself. Some coatings, for example, have ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.

Repainting concrete patio slab

Step One: First you need to clean the concrete thoroughly. This means removing all stains, grease, oil and other spills. Any substance on the concrete will not allow the paint to adhere, making it chip and crack and we don’t want that.

First, use soap and water. The Scrub brush should work well here, if you have a pressure washer use that after to clean it or garden hose. If none of those are available, a good old bucket of water will work as well.

After you’re done with soap, finishing with a degreasing solution should do the trick.

After using so much water, we need to let it dry a bit. A few or a couple of days should work. If the concrete needs to be fixed, you can do it on the same day after the concrete is only moist and there are no water puddles.

If there is leftovers from old floors, you propably will want to sand them next day so the paper wont get full of wet dust straight away.

Step Two: Now this is the step for next day after washing the concrete. We want the concrete to be dry from surface so we can sand it and fix the cracks.

Now if old glue from the previous flooring exists, it must be removed. Use a sander with a vacuum attachment and wear a respirator. Even when you use a vacuum, the will be some dust and it’s good to avoid breathing that. Remove pets from the house- no one and nothing should breathe that dust in.

Begin with rough sandpaper, and move to finer grits. Your local tool renting store can walk you through the process of renting a floor sander and selecting the best sandpaper for your concrete floor.

Fill in any cracks, holes, or breaks with the concrete filler. If you have big holes, you can follow our link to guide at the beginning. The cracks need to be free of dust so use a vacuum to clean the spots so the concrete filler can adhere.

Be sure to follow all safety precautions and allow it to dry for the specified amount of time. Try to fix the level of the crack with the rest of the floor. Sand if required, you don’t want the patches to show too much.

Step Three: First start with vacuuming the patio clean. Apply one or two coats of primer, allowing it to dry for the required time between each coat. Read the manufacturer label to see how many times you have to do it and how long it takes to dry. There are differences. Personally, I’d use one that only needs to be done once.

Watch outdoor patios carefully to ensure leaves, dirt, pets or family do not come in contact with the wet primer. It would be ideal to do it in calm weather and look weather report so that there will be no rains coming.

How to make concrete patio look better with a little paint

Step Four: Now you’re ready to paint. Decide what color(s) or faux paint technique you want and lay it out on the patio. It may take a day or two (or more) to lay out a brick or marble pattern, or something more elaborate.

Paint your patio using your favorite technique. The beauty of this is simple- if you don’t like the way it turned out, paint over it and start again.

A regular way to paint would be to start from one edge and paint the whole roller width from the house towards the outer edge. Do paint roller line after line so the finish will look nice as it doesn’t get to dry when you do it orderly.

Signs of drying are that the roller will leave an ugly mark on the paint and it won’t level anymore. If this happens, you just need to let it by as rolling it more and more will just make it uglier.

After you have done the last layer of paint, allow it to dry as long as the manufacturer label says. We want to be sure that it is dry before we apply coating.

Step Five: Coat with outdoor patio coating. Follow manufacturer label here again. Usually, the coating can be done with a thin microfiber roller or something alike. You can use the same tactic as you did with painting, line after line from the house to the outer edge.

Step Six: Now it’s time to dig that furniture out, fire up the barbeque and show off your new patio floor.

Notes to Remember: Never use a solvent to remove old floor glues. The solvents soak into the concrete and outgas, creating hazardous fumes. These fumes are often flammable and can build up to explosive levels in a house.


Now, this guide may make it look like it’s a lot of work, but it isn’t that much. The hardest part will be cleaning and fixing the patio, but the painting itself will be easy and mostly waiting game. Depending on how passionate you’re about creating decoration.

You might also consider staining the concrete patio, click the link to read more about it.

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