How Not to Paint Concrete Floors

May 16, 2018Sarah Khandjian

sandals | rug

As promised, after the big reveal of my new garage home studio, I’m sharing all about the process of painting the concrete flooring. So if you’re considering painting your garage or any concrete flooring, keep on reading because I learned a lot from this experience. And I’m hoping you learn from my mistakes!

But before I jump into the process and tell you how terrible it was, first, let’s just see how pretty it is when it’s clean. Yep, I mopped the floor before I shot the photo above. If you want to see what it looks like while I’m writing this post, here you go…

Dirty, chipped, and bubbled up. That’s the reality of painting concrete floors a bold color.

Here was the process:

Finished drywall and painted white ceiling

Step 1: mopped the floor twice to remove all the dust from hanging the dry and applying the paster. I let this dry for a day before I started painting.

Step 2: Paint 7, yes 7, coats of porch and floor paint. Why did I choose this paint? Honestly, because I had a big gift card balance left over from a previous project and I wanted to do this reno as cheap as possible (since we rent our home). That was my huge mistake. Last year, I painted the front step of our porch with Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Exterior paint (not even a flooring paint) and it’s held up perfectly. No chips or bubbles and it only 2 coats.

The color I chose, Valspar’s Sun Spark, had terrible coverable. The photo above is after the first coat and the photo below is after the second coat. While it looks like it covered pretty well, it didn’t. The paint was extremely transparent and it ultimately took 7 coats to get opaque coverage.

Why didn’t I use a premier you’re probably thinking. Well, funny thing, the paint associate had so much confidence in this paint they said it wouldn’t be necessary. Hah.

If I ever did this again, I’d use an epoxy-based concrete primer to create a better surface for the paint to adhere too and to require less coats. Live and learn you guys.

I waited 3 days for the paint to cure, as per the instructions on the paint can, between each coat. So yes, that means this took forever. And we happened to get the first long rain storms of the year during this time when all the contents of the garage we strewn about the patio so Kevin ran out and bought and borrowed tarps to cover everything while the floor dried.

Another huge blunder was after going through 2 gallons of paint (and 6 coats) I realized I needed just a little bit more for one more coat. So I drove across town about 45 minutes and they refused to mix the paint for me. They said they wouldn’t mix bright colors in the porch and floor paint. Wait, hold up! I already used 2 gallons that another store mixed for me. Also, who says floors have to be neutral colors only? But that’s another fight.

The next day I drove all the way across LA to another store with the empty paint can in hand and they mixed the paint, no questions asked. Hmm.

What are my qualms about it? Well, funny you should ask. First, it shows dirt like crazy. Which I knew was a given on white concrete floors but I naively thought the yellow would be a little more “user-friendly” to this. Nope, it shows every dusty foot print and dog hair. The good thing is that it can easily be swept and mopped and cleans up really well.

A couple areas bubbled up without anything being on top these areas. No idea what caused it but it’s super frustrating because this can lead to my third complaint…

Peeling. The paint has already, in fact, peeled up in several areas. Even after allowing it to dry the full time between coats.

So do I regret it? Kinda. But at the end of the way, it’s cheerful and makes the space so fun. And since I’m in here working all the time, why not make the space the way you want it. But maybe next time I’d choose a dark teal or deep pink color, at least to hid the dirt a little bit better.

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2 Comments

  • Amy | Delineate Your Dwelling

    May 16, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Soooo interesting! I would have guessed some of these issues for outside painted concrete, but wouldn’t have thought indoor it would be an issue, too. Great honest post, regardless!

  • Roll the ball

    May 18, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    amazing! I have never seen a floor painted in such a prominent tone, perhaps after building the house will also try this design. Thanks for your sharing!!

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