painting supplies, outdoor concrete patio painting, roller

How to Give a Drab Concrete Patio a Painted Facelift

Concrete patios and porches are durable, but they can become gray and dull over time. However, many homeowners are breathing fresh life into their patios with paint! It’s an excellent and affordable DIY project.

The possibilities are endless, including: 

  • Bold stripes, a checkerboard pattern, or other geometric shapes
  • Stenciled Moroccan-style tile motifs
  • A faux-painted rug 
  • Imitation stone tiles with fake grout lines
  • A geometric border around the perimeter

Painted patios may be on trend now, but taking the proper steps to achieve the best results is essential.

Step 1. Clean the Concrete

Paint always adheres better and lasts longer if applied to a clean surface, so removing any dirt, spills, and stains is a top priority. A power washer makes it easy to clean concrete quickly, but you can also do it by hand using a bucket of warm, soapy dish detergent and a stiff bristle brush. 

Try to wash your patio on an overcast day. That way, the soap won’t dry as quickly and leave streaks before you can rinse the surface thoroughly. 

Step 2. Repair any Damage

Concrete patios are rarely as smooth as other paintable surfaces, like drywall. Minor imperfections aren’t problematic and may even enhance your results if, for example, you want to mimic stone tile. However, patching and repairing significant cracks, pitting, or flaking-away top layers is critical.

Some experts also recommend applying an etching solution, even if your paint doesn’t require it. Etching roughs the surface and makes it easier for the paint to adhere.

Step 3. Paint the Background

Be sure to use exterior paint designed for concrete porches and patios. Here are some of the most significant considerations when shopping for paint products:

  • Is the paint self-priming and self-sealing?
  • Will it fill small cracks and imperfections?
  • Is the finished surface textured to prevent skids? 
  • What colors are offered? Can the paint be tinted if you don’t like the standard colors?
  • What tools are needed to apply the paint?
  • How many coats are required?

Consider buying an extension handle that attaches to your paint roller so you can apply the paint while standing instead of on your knees.

Allow the paint to dry overnight. You may need a second coat to achieve a solid, durable surface.

Step 4. Add Decorative Details

Now for some fun! If you’re using tape to mask off paint lines, press firmly so the paint won’t seep under the edges. A hard rubber roller will make it easier to make tape adhere as completely as possible.

Select paint rollers in sizes that maximize your ability to obtain broad coverage without accidentally painting beyond the masking lines. For example, if your pattern includes small, narrow stripes, you may want to use a four- or two-inch wide paint roller.

Round brushes with flat painting surfaces may work better for stenciled patterns. After dipping the brush in paint, lightly dab it on a paper towel before dabbing the paint onto the stencil. Before repositioning the stencil, check the back and wipe off any excess paint.

Step 5. Seal the Surface

After all the decorative paintwork is complete—and completely dry—apply two coats of sealer. A protective sealer will help preserve your painted surface, and you may want to complete this step even if you’re using self-sealing paint.