Best Concrete Paints for 2020
Painting concrete surfaces can be challenging. Here are some of the best concrete paints for your garage, basement, porch or patio.
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Tough Concrete, Tough Paint
We’ve gathered recommendations from DIYers and pros and selected the following concrete paints best suited for a variety of projects.
Concrete paints and coatings commonly use elastomeric formulations to suit the challenges of expansion, contraction and often harsh conditions that come with concrete applications. The best concrete paints also must deal with coverage challenges on porous concrete surfaces and often must withstand heavy foot or even vehicle traffic, so it’s a tough category that requires tough paint to compete.
Drylok Concrete Floor Paint is formulated for a variety of indoor and outdoor concrete applications. It is a highly recommended, durable, all-around performer for sidewalks, patios and other concrete surfaces.
This paint has many of the most important concrete paint qualities: no primer needed, non-slip finish and hot tire pick-up resistant (but see below for a better specialized garage floor coating). The latex base allows for easy soap and water cleanup.
It’s advertised as fast-drying, but some reviewers report better results if you give it extra drying time between coats. A top tip from satisfied reviewers is to carefully follow instructions for application and surface prep — remove any dirt, oil or other contaminants, rinse with water and allow it to dry fully. Acid etching is required for penetration and adhesion on smooth, bare concrete.
Best for Concrete Garage Floors
We recommend a two-part epoxy coating over paint for garage floors. While it costs a bit more and takes a little finesse to apply, you’ll get a more resilient and longer-lasting finish. Rust-Oleum’s Epoxy Shield Garage Floor Kit includes the two-part epoxy, concentrated cleaner, decorative flakes and a stir stick.
The detailed instructions and instructional video can also be particularly helpful for DIYers who may not have done this type of project before. Be sure to follow the detailed prep recommendations to achieve the best possible adhesion and coating finish. The robust epoxy coating resists water, chemicals, and hot tire pick-up (where tires stick to the coating and pull it up off the floor).
Best for Basement Walls
Kilz Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint, good for interior and exterior and providing a water barrier that will hold back up to 12 PSI of water pressure to help keep your basement dry. It’s made to work on a range of masonry walls, concrete block, stucco or brick. Apply two healthy coats with a 1/2-in. to 3/4-in. nap roller and you can clean up with soap and water. Note: Waterproof doesn’t mean this is a solution to serious water problems in your basement. If you’ve got water infiltrating your basement walls you’ll need to solve that issue first, but this will provide some protection against moisture.
Best for Basement Floors
Basement floors are another place where the superior adhesion, strength and moisture protection of a two-part epoxy coating may suit the application better than paint. Rust-Oleum’s Epoxy Shield Basement Floor Coating Kit includes the two-part coating, decorative flakes, stir stick, and instructions, but you’ll need to get the recommended 1/2-in. nap epoxy roller cover separately.
Good surface prep can make the difference for proper adhesion and longevity of any coating application, so follow the instructions carefully. Then, celebrate that you don’t need to apply a primer and move quickly to get your one-coat application done inside the two-hour pot life limit (that’s how long the paint stays usable after mixing). The low-odor, water-based formula is good for indoor conditions and this product cleans up with soap and water.
Best Textured Coating
Daich RollerRock Concrete Coating includes real stone particles for a grippy textured finish, great for pool decks or concrete steps. This product doesn’t require a primer before application and can cover hairline cracks. Note: It requires top-coat finishing with Daich Hi-Build Ultra sealer for exterior projects.
Based on first-hand reviews, count on as low as half the coverage specified. Take the time to allow full drying between coats, and you may need to apply two to three coats of the product and up to two coats of sealer. Beyond the application requirements, the finished product got great reviews. One user said, “It is extremely thick with the primer added … just takes time to lay it down … covered all the ugly stains and gave excellent traction around the pool patio area. I will buy again!”
Best for Concrete and Wood
If you want to match coatings across a combination of wood and concrete surfaces, Kilz Porch and Patio Floor Paint is formulated to cover both. It employs a durable acrylic-latex formula that’s resistant to scuffing, fading or cracking, and forms a mildew-resistant film.
It can be brushed, sprayed or rolled on (3/8-in. to 1/2-in. nap roller recommended), and as a latex-based product you can clean up with soap and water. It’s recommended for concrete and wood surfaces including decks, porches, patio floors, siding, trim and trellises.
Best for Pool Decks
In the Swim Patio and Deck Paint is a highly recommended coating from a company that specializes in pool supplies and equipment. It’s on the more expensive end of the spectrum at around $60 per gallon, but its acrylic-resin formula provides quality results with good coverage, a cool surface (especially in lighter colors) and a non-slip finish.
You’ll need to do the recommended surface prep for proper adhesion — including a scrub with tri-sodium phosphate, rinse, another scrub with a muriatic acid solution and final rinse — so figure those materials and protective gear into your plans. A 1/2-in. nap roller is recommended for smooth surface application, and 3/4-in. nap for rougher surfaces.
Other Concrete Coating Options to Consider
As mentioned earlier, epoxy coatings can yield a stronger, longer-lasting finish than paint for certain applications. Epoxy coatings can also give you a more polished, glossy look, so it’s often recommended to use mix-in anti-slip compounds to offset the slicker finish.
Note: While a one-part paint with an epoxy additive can achieve some of these benefits, a true epoxy product will always have a two-part formula with the epoxy and a hardener additive.
Polyurea generally costs a little more than epoxy, and professional application is recommended, but it’s more flexible and abrasion-resistant than epoxy. Similarly, a polyurea coating can be very smooth, so anti-slip compound is recommended.
Concrete stain gives you options for changing the color and appearance of your concrete with a permanent, penetrating chemical reaction, so you’re not adding material on top as you do with paint and other coatings.
Concrete sealer works like wax on your car. It can be a good option to protect your concrete surface from water damage, freeze and thaw cycles or oil stains, without changing the color or adding to the thickness of paint.