How to Properly Prepare and Paint a Concrete Floor | Southwest Florida Painting

Ron's Painting

RESIDENTIAL • COMMERCIAL • INTERIOR • EXTERIOR  • FAUX FINISHING in Southwest Florida.

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I recently was asked to bid on a job to repaint a garage floor for a homeowner in Bonita Springs. I have attached a picture of a section of the garage floor for you to look at.  “Okay, exactly what am I looking at?” you are probably asking yourself. Most homeowners and many painters would look at this job and say, “Sure, I can paint this.” They would pressure clean the floor, then go to Home Depot or Sherwin Williams, buy a good floor paint and paint the floor.  Then within a couple of months they would wonder why the paint they just put on their garage floor was coming off, especially where they parked their car.

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Now let’s talk about this picture and exactly what I saw when I looked at this painting job. If you notice in this picture you see three different colors: the top coat of gray, an underneath color of beige, and then the bare concrete floor.  This particular place in the garage is where the car was parked and the tires sat in this spot.

The reason you can see the bare concrete is that when the garage floor was originally painted they did not acid wash the concrete. They probably just painted over the bare concrete.  The problem with this is when you do this, the paint or stain you just put on has nothing to grip to, thus eventually it will come off.  I am betting the first coat of paint was a xylene or oil-based paint or stain.  The reason I say this is because you can see the beige color, which means the gray paint which is now the top coat of paint is not adhering to the beige paint. So what probably has happened is someone painted a latex paint over a xylene or oil-based paint, which is why the gray is not sticking to the beige.

I also ran my fingernail over the gray to see if it would peel up, and sure enough it did.  The only way to fix this problem is to completely remove the paint that is on the garage floor, which is by sandblasting it.  Take it down to bare concrete, then acid wash the garage floor, allow it to dry for four days, then put a xylene-based stain on the floor. This is a great solution if you can find someone to sandblast the floor.  In this case I don't know of anyone that will sandblast the floor due to the liability, so what I recommended to the homeowner is to have a flooring contractor install commercial-grade linoleum on the floor.  This holds up nicely and is easy to maintain.  I have recommended this to many of my clients and they just love the finished look and how easily it is to keep clean.

I know I blog a lot about painting garage floors, pool decks and driveways.  The reason for this is simple: 50% of the time, when painting these areas, the paint will fail due to not properly preparing the surface.

Make your paint job last. Be sure to prepare any surface properly before painting.