Concrete patios are readily described as functional and hardy, but rarely considered beautiful. Until now! Outdoor concrete patios are a great way to provide usable outdoor space for furniture, grills, tools and more. And for homeowners who want to take their concrete patios from boring to brilliant, paint can come to the rescue.
Tips for Painting Concrete Patios
In the past, homeowners typically had one option for painting a patio: a light, industrial gray. But with improvements in outdoor paints and the right techniques, homeowners can give their outdoor space a whole new look when they paint their concrete patio.
But when is the best time to paint an outdoor concrete patio? What type of paint should be used? And what colors look best? Here are our best tips for painting an outdoor concrete patio.
The Best Time to Paint Your Concrete Patio
Like any paint job, good timing and fastidious prep work is key. Choose a time of year in your region when the temperature isn’t too cold or hot (though you could do your prep work in those extremes if you wanted!) or the weather too wet. The paint can will have the proper temperature range listed.
You might have some wiggle room with these high and low temperatures, depending on the type of paint you use but these general guidelines hold. That means for most folks, you’ll be able to paint an outdoor concrete patio throughout the year, with the exception of very cold winter days or very hot direct sun summer days.
You will want to paint your concrete patio outside of your region’s wet season. Rain or snow will affect how the paint adheres to the concrete and how it dries, so choose a time of year when you know you’ll have proper dry time. The side of the paint can label will usually provide dry times to touch and to walk on. If you’re painting a covered outdoor concrete patio, or a garage floor, you can paint if it’s wet out, just make sure water can’t leak onto the slab and ruin your work.
Prepping Your Outdoor Concrete Patio
Yes, concrete is hardy and can withstand lots of wear and tear over the years. This fact doesn’t mean you should slap a coat of paint on it right away.
First, you’ll want to make sure the concrete is as clean as possible. For newer outdoor concrete patios, you might be able to get away with a good scrub with a solution of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water. Make sure to rinse the patio and let it fully dry after this step. Muriatic acid is often called upon for extremely dirty concrete surfaces.
For older patios or especially dirty surfaces (e.g. the patio was originally used to store tools or park a car), power washing is the way to go. We strongly recommend bringing in a professional for this project, as the wrong power washing setting and solution can cause more damage to your outdoor concrete patio, or even strip it of its sealant.
Next, fill in and sand any holes and cracks. You might need to remove any old spackling or mortar (we’ve seen where some homeowners have filled cracks with silicone, which the new paint will not adhere to) and refill. This step is where the real elbow grease comes in, since you will want your surface to be as smooth as possible before you apply new sealant or paint. Again, we recommend bringing in the professionals for this type of project, as your prep work can take hours–if not days–to complete on your own.
Finally, you may need to seal or re-seal your concrete before you paint. An easy way to test if your concrete needs sealed: tape a square of plastic wrap onto an area of your outdoor concrete patio. Make sure the edges are completely covered with tape. Leave the square overnight. If there is moisture or condensation on the underside of the plastic wrap the next day, you’ll need to seal your concrete and let it dry before painting. Again, a paint professional with experience in exterior painting services can make sure these steps are completed to perfection. It will ensure the life of your paint in the years to come.
Best Paint for Outdoor Concrete Patios
Outdoor concrete patio paints have come a long way in the last decade. Many of them are formulated for concrete and for the wear and tear of the elements and heavy foot traffic. Choose a concrete or masonry paint or epoxy specifically formulated for the application. Staining certain untreated concrete is also a popular option that lets the grains and natural stone shine through. PPG has several different paint formulas for outdoor concrete patios–some more heavy duty than others. A professional paint expert will determine which is best for your slab.
In general, though, you’ll want a concrete paint that is weather resistant, can cover surface defects, is non-skid and fade-resistant, and–when applied properly–is self leveling.
Best Colors for Outdoor Concrete Patios
One of the best parts of these newer outdoor concrete patio paints is that you can get them in every color of the rainbow. A great patio paint like PPG’s Portercrete Exterior Concrete Finish System can be tinted to the exact color you specify.
We recommend painting your outdoor concrete patio in a color that matches your lifestyle, decor and intended use for the space. If you want a patio that looks clean and simple, standard gray is a good bet. If you’d like your outdoor concrete patio to fade into your landscape more, a modern rust color can give the patio an earthy-look without drawing the eye to it too closely.
We really enjoy when clients introduce a pop of color to their outdoor space with their outdoor concrete patio color. Deeper saturated jewel tones work well on a slab, especially when they coordinate with your home’s exterior color. We’ve also seen clients add a modern and stately vibe to their outdoor space when they paint their outdoor concrete patio a deep charcoal color.
A few things to note about outdoor concrete patio paint colors:
- Like all colors in the outdoors, dark colors will absorb heat, light colors will reflect it.
- Lighter colors may show wear and tear and foot paths more readily than darker colors.
- Trendy colors may look dated over the next decade.
- Always consider if you want a second different color that is a border color around the edge of your concrete patio.
Color choice is ultimately up to you, but if you need help deciding, a reputable painting company typically offers color consultations for free as a part of their service.
Hire a Professional to Paint Your Concrete Patio
A final note on painting your outdoor concrete patio: while many homeowners DIY this project, we strongly recommend hiring a professional. It might seem like “just” a concrete patio, but this painting project is actually tricky to execute properly. The prep work, especially, can be tough work for the average weekend warrior, and sealant and paint application must be done 100% correctly to ensure the life of the project.
A professional will also guarantee their work and finish the project quickly so you can get to enjoying your freshly painted outdoor concrete patio as soon as possible. Most will offer a free consultation, as well.
Professional Outdoor Concrete Patio Painting
Our professional paint experts are ready to help you renew the life of your outdoor concrete patio. We’ll tackle the prep work, sealing and painting of your outdoor space. Contact us today for a free outdoor concrete patio painting quote.