Preparation of Coated Concrete for Paints & Stains

A great looking finish begins with the right start. Following the proper prep procedure will dramatically affect the look and longevity of your finished project.

For Best Results:

Before you start, remove any loose or peeling paint by sanding with medium-grit sandpaper or wire-brushing the surface. If necessary, de-gloss any glossy surfaces by scuff-sanding or using a chemical deglosser.

For your safety, wear protective clothing, eye goggles and acid-resistant rubber gloves and footwear.

Step 1

Apply a thick layer of paint stripper to the surface using a paint brush or bristle broom. Distribute evenly. The paint stripper thickness should be such that the previously coated surface is completely covered.

Step 2

If hot or windy conditions cause the paint stripper layer to dry, reapply a light coat of the stripper.

Step 3

Check periodically during the waiting period of 1-6 hrs to ensure that the coating is completely covered with the paint stripper. If the coated surface becomes visible, re-apply a light coat of paint stripper. It should remain wet and active until the coating wrinkles.

Step 4

Use a scraper or pressure washer to remove all coating and residue. Rinse with water thoroughly to remove all chemical residues before re-coating.

Step 1

If your previously coated surface is in good condition, you may coat over it.  However, you are still required to clean the surface.

Step 2

Apply the product directly on stained areas for best results. Use the product at full strength for tough stains and diluted for general cleaning.

Step 3

Work the degreaser and cleaner into the surface with a stiff bristled, non-metal brush or broom.  Allow the product to stand for 10-20 minutes then scrub vigorously. DO NOT allow the surface to dry.

Step 4

Thoroughly rinse the concrete surface with fresh water while scrubbing at the same time to properly remove all remaining residue. Pressure wash for best results.

Step 5

Using a non-metal squeegee or mop, remove the excess water from the entire project area. Prevent all rinse solution from entering storm drains.

Step 6

The ideal surface profile for coating should be clean and feel like medium to light grit sandpaper. To achieve this, apply your cleaner and etcher product to the surface with a plastic watering can.

Step 7

Spread the cleaner and etcher using a stiff bristled, non-metal brush or broom. Allow the product to stand for at least 10-20 minutes on the surface then scrub vigorously using the broom.

Step 8

Thoroughly rinse the concrete surface with clean water using a hose with a high-pressure nozzle or a pressure washer. The surface is ready for priming when it feels like medium to light grit sandpaper and no residue or loose concrete remains.

Step 1

Apply bonding primer to spot-prime any uncoated concrete surfaces to enhance the adhesion.

Step 2

Apply the bonding primer using a high-quality pump sprayer, 1/4" to 3/8" nap roller, a nylon-polyester brush or pad applicator.

Step 3

The bonding primer will dry to the touch in approximately 2 hours. Apply a topcoat after a minimum of 4 hours but before 30 days. 

Suggested Tools & Supplies
  • Hose
  • High Pressure Nozzle

  • Mop
  • Chemical Resistant Gloves
  • Paint Can Opener
  • Broom (Stiff Bristle)
  • Bucket
  • Brush (Nylon/Polyester)
  • Bucket Grid
  • Extension Pole
  • Paint Tray Liner
  • Paint Tray
  • Protective Apparel
  • Pump Sprayer
  • Rags
  • Roller Cover and Frame
More How-tos
Additional Resources
Paint and Stain Calculator

Inside or outside; paint or stain: Let’s figure out how much you’ll need to make amazing happen.

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Color Studio

So many colors and so many ideas: Visit Behr’s Color Studio for inspiration, color tools, design advice and everything you need to find your project’s perfect color.