5 Mistakes to Avoid when Painting Concrete Flooring
Painting and sealing your concrete floors can increase their durability, extend their lifespan, and transform your spaces. However, there’s more to this task than simply pouring paint over your floors and hoping for the best. To successfully paint your concrete flooring requires significant preparation, sufficient supplies, proper technique, and more. For these reasons, it’s usually best to simply hire professionals who specialize in concrete floor painting. If you’d rather tackle this project yourself, though, it’s important to do your research and pay particular attention to common errors made by other DIY-ers. So, here are five mistakes to avoid when painting concrete flooring.
What Not to Do When Painting Concrete Floors
1. Failing to Properly Prep Your Floors
As we’ve discussed in numerous previous blogs, surface preparation is at least half the battle of any paint job, and the same goes for concrete floor painting. In fact, concrete floor prep for epoxy paint (or other coatings) is especially important considering the porous nature of concrete -- dirt, dust, debris, moisture, and more can easily enter the pores and cracks of bare concrete, and pressure from above and below your floors can lead to fracturing, pitting, spalling, etc. If you don’t address these matters prior to painting, you’re only prolonging the inevitable. So, make sure you tackle the necessary prep work before you paint, including:
- Clearing the area
- Sweeping and cleaning the floor
- Scraping and sanding away old paint
- Vacuuming residual debris
- Filling cracks and holes
- Priming your floors
The point of this prep work is to cultivate a smooth, clean, receptive surface for the incoming floor paint.
2. Painting in a Suboptimal Environment
After you’ve prepared the floor itself, you’ll also want to prepare the surrounding environment to create the optimal climate for application and curing. If the room is too humid, too dry, too hot, or too cold, you may run into issues at various points of the process and end up with poor results. Different types of coatings will have slightly different instructions in this regard, but generally speaking, your floor should retain a minimum temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the ambient air temperature should be between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. Also, your relative humidity level should be about 35%. If your climate conditions are far off these marks, you may need to install humidifiers or dehumidifiers (depending) and find ways to adjust the temperature (if indoors). If you’re painting an exterior concrete floor, you may need to wait until the outdoor conditions are in your favor (i.e. mid-spring, early/late summer, early fall).
3. Choosing the Wrong Product for Your Application
With so many different brands and variations of concrete paints on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. At the very least, make sure that your product is designed for exterior or interior use, depending on your concrete’s location -- exterior concrete floor paint tends to contain a greater amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be detrimental to your health when inhaled. So, if you’re painting indoors, make sure you go with a zero- or low-VOC indoor epoxy floor paint to minimize this risk. The more research you do on these matters, the more confident you’ll be in your decision.
4. Lacking the Necessary Amount of Coverage
As is the case with painting any surface, you want to purchase the right amount of product to provide a full, even, protective coating. If you undershoot this estimate, you may find yourself stretching out the epoxy to compensate for a lack of product -- doing so will result in a less glossy surface and a weaker coating overall. To avoid this mistake, take precise measurements of your floor’s surface area and carefully look over the coverage rate of the floor sealing products you plan to purchase. Well-prepared floors will absorb some of the paint, so it’s best to overshoot this estimate and store whatever is left over than to rush back to the store and run the risk of messing up your flooring.
5. Not Giving Your Floors Enough Time to Cure and Dry
After you’ve successfully painted your concrete floors, you might feel that the job is complete. However, you’ll need to practice caution around your floors to allow the coating to properly cure and dry. It can take as long as 48-72 hours for epoxy concrete floor paint to fully dry, so plan on avoiding this area for a few days before treading upon it. If you don’t allow the coating to rest, you might contaminate the surface and/or smudge its topcoat. Once again, read the instructions of your product so you know exactly how long to wait before using your floors once more.
Afraid of Messing Up Your Floors?
Painting your concrete flooring on your own can be rewarding, but no one said it’s easy. If you don’t feel confident in your DIY abilities, Anderson Painting specializes in installing Penntek polyurea coatings to any and all concrete surfaces. To learn more about us and all we do, call today at 919-610-1855 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!