How-to Prep Coated Concrete for Paints & Stains | Behr

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.

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

How to Strip Paint from a Coated Surface

  • 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.

    TIP: The penetration of the paint stripper will vary according to coating type, thickness and temperature.

  • 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.

    TIP: The paint sripper will wrinkle when the job is done. Most coatings will take between 1-6 hours to lift.

  • 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.

    TIP: Remember to prevent all rinse solution from entering storm drains.

How to Clean and Etch a Concrete Surface

  • 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.

    TIP: It is highly recommended to use a plastic watering can to evenly distribute the product.

  • 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.

    TIP: Heavily stained areas or older stains may require additional applications.

  • 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.

    TIP: Don't forget to saturate surrounding grass and plants with fresh water.

  • 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.

    TIP: For best results, apply the cleaner and etcher onto a dry surface. Ensure the product does not dry on the surface.

  • 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.

    TIP: Excess residue may interfere with adhesion of the coating. To be sure the surface is clean, wipe your fingers over the surface. If residue is visible on your fingers, rinse the surface again.

How to Prime a Concrete Surface

  • Step 1

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

    TIP: Use BEHR PREMIUM® Concrete & Masonry Bonding Primer to improve the adhesion of paints and stains by binding together loose particles.

  • 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.

    TIP: 1 Gal of BEHR PREMIUM® Concrete & Masonry Bonding Primer will cover approximately 350-500 sq. ft.

  • 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. 

    TIP: Make sure to allow for a longer dry time in cooler temperatures or higher humidity. Use the bonding primer when air and surface temperatures are between 50-90 degress F.

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What sheen do I need?
8 Oz. Sample
1 Gallon
1 Quart
5 Gallon
The following product(s) is required to properly prep uncoated and previously coated concrete surfaces.
Required product
The following product(s) is required to properly prep uncoated and previously coated concrete surfaces. Only available in store at Home Depot.
Required 3rd party product
The 9 in. x 1/4 in. Polyester Adhesive Roller Cover has a hard texture, making it ideal for applying all types of adhesives to smooth surfaces. It can be used for stippling and applying sand paints.
The following product(s) is recommended when a topcoat clear finish is desired.
The Home Depot logoSold Exclusively at The Home Depot