When we moved here to this house the foundation was painted a grayish blue color as was the trim. Most of the paint had chipped and peeled off at that point so it needed to be repainted. Since we bought the house (here in Utah) when we still lived in Vegas we were going to be immediately renting it out. We needed to paint the concrete quickly before we had to go back to Vegas. We decided just to paint it the same grayish blue and then when we moved in later, we could have more time to decide on a better color choice.
I went to the small local hardware store and picked a paint swatch that looked close to the grayish blue on the house. I handed it to a cute little old lady who then mixed the paint for us. We also got primer and had it tinted. The primer looked baby blue.
We had one afternoon to paint before we needed to hop in the car and drive back to Las Vegas. We hosed off the foundation, primed it with the baby blue primer (regular wall primer) and then realized it was getting dark. We HAD to finish before we left so we kept going even though it was getting hard to see.
We cracked open the paint can and I remember thinking it looked a little dark. But we were in a super big hurry. We rolled as fast as we could and then left to make the long drive home.
I wish I had a picture. I REALLY wish I had a picture! Low and behold in the morning do you know what our poor renters found? A ROYAL BLUE house. Gah!! It was terrible.
It was electric.
Not only was it the wrong color, but we didn’t go about it the right way. But today I will share some tips on how to paint concrete.
So after the mishap with the royal blue paint, we went ahead and just painted a tan color right over it. It started chipping after a few years. Keep in mind that this is a surface that gets zero foot traffic and doesn’t get snow shoveled in the winter. It should have lasted longer.
It didn’t help that our kids picked at it and peeled away large pieces. What is it with kids and peeling things? Elmer’s glue on the hand anyone?
The first thing we needed to address, was how to get the paint off. We needed a clean slate. A do over.
The best way, aside from hiring all the kids at your local elementary school to come and pick it off, is to use a power washer. I used this bad boy. And by “bad” I mean ridiculously awesome.
(buy it at Home Depot)
In the past we have always rented power washers from Home Depot when we needed them. I never kept track of what brand they were or what psi they were, but I will tell you that they were NOT as powerful as this one!
I like to read reviews of tools. And even better I like to watch videos with people trying out tools and giving their take on them. I know, I am a bit of a nerd. I watched probably 10 videos about this power washer before I tried it and they ALL loved it. Fold down handle for storage, most psi for residential use, HONDA motor, and an idle down feature which saves gas. The nozzle twists to changes settings so there is no more changing out tips and it has a large soap reservoir built in. And there are so many fun attachments! Give me a moment while I settle down……
But like any power tool, you need to be safe.
*Secure hair off shoulders
* Do not wear jewelry or loose clothing
* Wear long sleeves, long pants and sturdy shoes
* Wear eye protection
* Use two hands
* Usage: Removing dirt and mold from decks, patios, driveways, house siding, cleaning cars, boats,
motorcycles, grills, outdoor furniture. Always use appropriate nozzle
I promise that I was following all the rules. I asked my hubby to not get me in the shot because I was wearing snowflake PJ pants that somehow along the way became painting pants (because that is the destiny of all my clothing), a tee with a large hole ripped in it, and I had a rash on my face. It wasn’t pretty folks. But I was rocking some tennis shoes, a pony tail and safety goggles so all was good.
Sheesh! I make the people of Walmart look good.
This little section shown here took me about 10 minutes if that. It will obviously depend on how bad a paint job it was and it may take you a bit longer.
I had it on the 1 setting which has the most powerful (fine point) spray. I got a little too close and it cut lines in the concrete. It really is SUPER powerful people.
And here it is with the paint all gone! Don’t mind the stones meant for a border all over the place. My little guy likes to turn them over to look for bugs. You know, while his brothers were peeling the paint off.
When I painted the walkway and steps, I also scrubbed it with soapy water after I power washed. The cleaner the surface, the better.
Here is the paint I used. I bought it a few years ago when I painted our steps and walkway. The labels may have changed, but it will still be called the same thing. There are also other brands of concrete primer and paint. The point is, don’t use regular paint. Not even exterior paint. Use something specifically made for concrete.
The primer looks like thin Elmer’s glue. Use a roller cover you are not in love with because it will not wash clean after. After you roll it on, the concrete will look wet. It will also feel sticky like glue. It will stay sticky until you paint over it. Wait the appropriate time (humidity will affect times) and then paint.
It looks like new! Now I just have to wait until the perennials finish filling out and I can plant a few annuals to fill in the gaps. By the end of May my flower beds should be gorgeous and they will have a non-chippy backdrop :)
Important things to remember:
*A paint job is only as good as the prep work. You must prepare the surface correctly for the paint to adhere correctly.
*Paint (especially outdoors) is not a permanent solution. Paint will have upkeep. But the way you paint and the type of paint you use will determine how often you have to redo it.
When I first painted our steps and walkway years ago, I used regular paint and no primer. It peeled off before the first year was over. With this paint shown above, it lasted 3 years before I saw any spots wearing. And they were small. And for a walkway that gets used all day every day and snow shoveled all winter, that is pretty good. I can handle repainting those every 4-5 years. Now that the foundation is painted the right way, it should last a lot longer than 5 years since it doesn’t get as much wear as the steps.
Ryobi sent me the power washer to try out. All thoughts, opinions, and stories are all mine :)