If you’re a newcomer to the concept of painting walls and floors in a home or work environment, you might have noticed that there aren’t only various materials that can be painted but different chemicals to apply to each surface. It’s pretty confusing to take it all in at first, and by this point, you’re either unsure about where to start with your paint job or an inveterate painter who’s just catching up on the best paints to recommend to a friend or client these days. Whichever way you roll, we have answers for you. While there are other chemicals that are involved in a successful paint job — primers and sealants, to name two — we’re focusing primarily on concrete paint today.
It’s important to understand that concrete isn’t like wood. It doesn’t break down as easily, isn’t susceptible to the same flaws and doesn’t require as much care or treatment down the road as a result. Still, there are environments where it’s important to shield concrete walls and floors with corrosion-resistant, waterproof coats that protect from physical abuse and help passers-by maintain traction. Additionally, not all environments are going to use concrete for the same reasons. For example, nobody expects you to perform science experiments on a sidewalk, so you wouldn’t need an acid-resistant paint for this purpose. However, a waterproof solution would be ideal.
Let’s launch into the comparison table and begin reviewing the 12 best concrete paints that cover every situation from dawn to dusk in homes, workplaces, driveways and more.
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Best Concrete Paint Comparison Table
|Coverage (Sq Ft Per Gallon)*||Base||Indoor or Outdoor||Vertical or Horisontal||Check Price|
|Rust-Oleum Concrete Paint|
|KILZ One-Part Epoxy Acrylic||1||300-500||Epoxy||Both||Horisontal|
|KILZ Over Armor||1||75||Latex||Both||Both|
|Rust-Oleum Basement Floor Kit||1.2||200||Epoxy||Indoor||Horisontal|
|Rust-Oleum Hammered Metal Finish||0.25||100||Oil||Both||Both|
|Diamond Brite||0.25; 1; 5||300||Oil||Both||Both|
|Anvil||1; 2; 4; 5||60-160||Water||Both||Both|
|Olympic Patio ||1||80-120||Water||Outdoor||Horisontal|
Best in Category
Rust-Oleum Hammered Metal Finish — Best Paint for Concrete Floors
This is an effective do-everything paint that can be slathered on pretty much any surface in or around your home.
Whether it’s masonry, wood, metal or concrete, this is a non-toxic, easy-to-apply paint for homes and businesses. It also doesn’t require a primer.
Convenience Epoxy — Best Paint for Concrete Driveways
This is one of the toughest solutions on the list, and it offers well-rounded protection from chemicals, oil and tire marks without a hitch.
It’s easy to apply and lasts a lifetime — well, almost. This is definitely a good call for driveways and garages.
Olympic Patio Tones Deck Coating — Best Concrete Paint for Pool Deck
With traction resistance and a practically impenetrable coat, this is wonderful for pool decks to keep kids, family and guests safe.
It’s one of the least complicated paints that we’ve reviewed, and while it offers very little overall, it’s incredibly good at what it does.
KILZ One-Part Epoxy Acrylic Concrete Paint — Best Concrete Paint for Outdoors
This is a heavy-duty epoxy solution that utterly seals off your indoor and outdoor concrete surfaces from anything and everything that might stain or damage it.
To top it off in true epoxy fashion, this paint will last years under the roughest conditions. Consider yourself covered.
Rust-Oleum Basement Floor Kit — Best Concrete Paint for Basement Floor
This indoor-friendly paint was designed to turn sullen, stodgy basements into fun, habitable zones for kids, family, and pets.
It’s non-toxic, doesn’t reek of toxic fumes, and it’s a great way to brighten up an indoor concrete surface while protecting it from traversal and non-hazardous spills.
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Best Concrete Paint Reviews
From the outset, the latex base in this paint means good things for you. Latex is less prone to peeling or cracking, it dries more quickly, releases fewer toxic fumes, keeps the odor to a minimum and generally just gets the job done easily. You can also clean latex-painted surfaces more easily.
Drylok’s offering seems solid already, doesn’t it? It does have its flaws, but between well-rounded protection and a beautiful aesthetic, you’re staring down a solid concrete paint from a reputable brand.
A few points to note:
We only recommend that you take care to ensure that the surface is completely dry when laying this down. Some paints and primers are more tolerant to slight amounts of moisture, but this one is known to blister up if you’re not careful. However, given the usual precautions that you should take when painting in general, we think this won’t be a problem for anyone who’s conscious and careful.
Is Convenience really convenient? That’s a question for the books, and we’ll have to get back to you on that one. However, what we can confirm is that this is a fantastic way to everything-proof your horizontal concrete surfaces. The coat is a bright gray, so it’ll fit in most settings, and it resists oil, tire marks, and chemicals. In other words: It was made for your garage. You’d never guess by the name, eh?
Application is as easy as they come since it’s ready right out of the can, and you can clean up any tracks or spills that happen with soap and water. It’s a simple package at a decent price, and hey, you can even use it indoors without concern for toxic fumes. Of course, feel free to apply it on other surfaces as well; think sidewalks, basements, and driveways.
We know, we know — concrete is already a boring gray color; why would anybody want to paint it to reinforce that? Well, sometimes it’s just a matter of smoothness, and KILZ — a reputable paint brand — will offer exactly what you need when flat neutral is the name of your game.
This particular paint is highly durable thanks to its epoxy base, which means that you can expect exceptional protection from cracking, peeling and blistering in the long run. For all the benefits of other paint bases, there’s a good reason people prefer epoxy for concrete surfaces.
This is one of those detail-oriented paints that aims to make life easier in the smallest ways. You can confidently lay this down on coated or uncoated concrete for resistance to the expected conditions in a concrete environment: oil, chemicals and tire marks.
To top it all off, you’re getting hefty coverage with a single 1-gallon can: about 450 square feet on a smooth surface. The price is surprisingly low as well.
The only drawbacks here are that you’re recommended to perform a supplementary recoat after four hours, and if you skip this step, there’s no telling what exactly will happen. Some find that resting tires cause it to peel up around the edges where the tires were resting, so keep that in mind when laying this down.
A great selling point for this paint is the number of compatible surfaces that you can lay it on. While you could opt for concrete, this also works great on masonry, stucco, brick and stone in general. While we think that a beautiful stain would be a better pick for those materials, it’s neither our circus nor our monkeys; this is all about you.
The first point to note is that you’re getting an acrylic-latex mix here, which means that durability isn’t going to be so hot here like it would be with epoxy. However, that’s no cause for despair; it just means that you have a more convenient and prettier option that’s better for laying down on less-traversed surfaces.
You could use it in your garage, but don’t expect it to survive very long against the elements. This is generally intended for physical abuse and water resistance.
There are two points we’d like to lead this review with: Firstly, yes, dual wood and concrete paints do exist. Secondly, any paint that’s called “Over Armor” must be wicked-sick at covering your deck, patio, basement floors and sidewalks, right? Well, that’s the idea here with KILZ’ solid-color, 100-percent acrylic resin paint that doesn’t just lock out the bad stuff; it also helps the substrate mend from previous damage.
Now, we’re not here to explain how this mending process works exactly. KILZ has been a big player in their game for over 40 years; they understand this way better than we do. However, we can say that they’re clearly on to something because there are quite a few satisfied users who find that this is a great paint for surfaces both old and new.
Keep in mind that this particular paint isn’t recommended for driveways or garages, which is disappointing considering what it purports to do. You also need to slather down two applications for optimal results.
Did you know that this paint is waterproof? Gee, what do you know: KILZ makes great stuff! Aside from the obvious sealant factor, this paint is versatile and can be applied to masonry and other surfaces in addition to concrete.
The alkali-resistance coat makes it more durable, less prone to leaking and overall easier to clean if you spill anything on it. While it’s certainly not the prettiest offering on this list, it can be applied to walls as well as floors of nearly any stone-like material.
You’d think this was a latex paint based on the descriptions: It’s low-odor, low-VOC, dries quickly and easy to apply.
While it offers good protection from everything in general, the one area it shines is with waterproofing. You’re supposed to lay this one down on garage, basement and commercial floors to keep traversal damage and spill at bay, including chemicals and oil. In this way, you can forgive the basic aesthetic qualities just on functionality alone.
It’s surprisingly durable for an acrylic paint, offering epoxy-level resistance to peeling, cracking and the whole nine. That’s probably where the price tag comes from, making this an official high-end acrylic offering from a company that’s known for its cut-and-clean offerings.
Rust-Oleum doesn’t just protect your goods from rust, silly. They’re a major brand that creates products like this for all kinds of applications, and you’re looking straight at what might be one of the best concrete paint solutions on this list.
This is an all-in-one solution that’s great for indoor surfaces, doesn’t put out toxic fumes and can turn your basement into a habitable zone with punchy colors and excellent resistance to traversal and spills of all sorts.
Of course, it wouldn’t make a wonderful indoor concrete paint if you couldn’t simply wipe up messes with soap and water, and to make it even better, no primer is needed. It’s acrylic, so it’s eco-friendly, and it does exactly what you need it to for your entertainment or guest hot spots in your own home or commercial environment.
Are you ready to get hammered? With Rust-Oleum’s no-primer-needed gunmetal finish, you’re paying a reasonable price for an exceptional product.
No, we’re not jerking your chain: The hammer really falls on this one. It works on indoor and outdoor surfaces, which means that it doesn’t put off toxic fumes and shouldn’t leave any nasty odors behind. It offers excellent protection from corrosion, water, and general abuse, but just as importantly, you can apply this paint to literally any material: wood, metal, concrete, masonry, whatever. It includes the usual resistances to chipping and cracking, and you should find that it does well to hide flaws in the substrate.
The only drawback, if you could even call it that, is that two coats are needed to really make this work. For what you’re getting and at the given price, we’d like to think that’s a total non-issue here. Also take note that the price isn’t quite as low as it initially seems: While it’s still affordable, you’re getting a quart-sized helping of this paint, not a whole gallon. Regardless, the only true issue you may have is that the advertised colors on the containers may not be exactly what you get, but users found that this was a complete non-issue against the bevy of benefits you’re getting here.
Twelve colors to choose from, one-quart, one-gallon and five-gallon container, all substrates acceptable: That’s Diamond Brite’s paint.
While it’s not quite as prestigious as the title suggests, it’s indeed an all-purpose paint that offers general protection from temperature, footfalls, water, and chemicals no matter what surface you’re aiming for. Obviously, we’re most concerned about concrete here, but it helps to know that the same paint can be used for other projects in your home or business.
It’s worth noting that some users found this to be a bit lacking overall. Some had to apply three or four coats before it looked decent; others ended up with premature chipping, peeling and cracking. We’d like to point out that the price tag isn’t the highest, so if the product is a bit cheap, that might explain some of it. However, don’t let that discourage you too much as many people are perfectly happy with Diamond Brite’s offering. You just might need to work with it a little.
Look, we know this is an article all about concrete surfaces, but it’s difficult to argue with a paint that can be used in multiple places at once. If you have a wood porch or patio, you might consider picking this up as a solid concrete solution as well.
The coloration is good and comes in several flavors to suit both types of substrate although only one color is truly meant for concrete — that is, the gray one. We suppose this won’t be an issue if you don’t mind wood-flavored garage or basement floors, however.
This is a good option if you have weathered sidewalks, floors or decks that need a little help holding together and could use some rejuvenation for the long run. Again, we don’t understand how the whole rejuvenation thing works; it’s a realm of magic that we haven’t devoted our souls to.
Still, it works, users are happy with it, and it’s good to know that just about any wood or concrete surface can accept this. It also provides protection from basic elements: water, traversal and temperature shifts in general. As a resurfacer, its main role is aesthetic, so you’re not looking at an alternative to KILZ Over Armor here, but it works.
This is as simple and straightforward as it gets: several natural colors, no need to mix, considerable longevity and slip resistance to boot.
It’s not a terribly complicated product to apply or to maintain, and it’s great for outdoor concrete surfaces. You might need to slather on two layers to be safe, but once you have it down, it lasts an aeon. More than anywhere else, you might want to use this around pools due to its additional traction and well-rounded hold.
Olimpic Patio Coating is available in these colors:
- Mystic Grey
- Silk Straw
- Warm Biscuit
- Sand Valley
- Desert Sun
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Best Concrete Paint Buyer’s Guide
Paint: Paints are opaque and sit on top of the substrate as a coat, providing a solid barrier between the substrate and the outside environment. They’re applied for functional and aesthetic purposes, protecting from various environmental conditions while adding gloss, color and traction.
There are four main types of paint to consider:
- Acrylic (water-based)
Stain: Unlike paints, stains are watery and penetrate into their substrate for protection all throughout instead of sitting on the surface as a thick, solid coat. For this reason, no primer is needed for stains, and they’re also cheaper to buy on their lonesome compared to paint. Additionally, stains provide a “semi-transparent” coat to the surface that allows some or all of the natural color to come through with an added sheen to improve texture aesthetics.
Sealant: Sealants are applied on top of paint to preserve it. Some paints come with sealants mixed in, eliminating this step.
Proofing: Not all concrete paints are made alike. Some provide resistance specifically to water while others focus on chemical acids, UV radiation and physical abuse. It’s essential to choose to right combination of proofing properties when painting a concrete surface in a given environment.
Primer: Primers are applied after cleaning and before painting the surface. A primer provides bonding and stain resistance, protecting the functional and aesthetic longevity of the paint while allowing it to adhere and settle properly while drying. Concrete stains don’t need this step.
Best Concrete Paint FAQ
“How should you prepare a concrete surface for painting?”
- The first thing you’ll always do with any surface is clean it. By washing it off, you eliminate any agents that might prohibit proper bonding and settling. Even if you can’t see any dirt, dust or detritus on the surface, you still need to clean it anyway since granular doses of these conditions can cause premature peeling down the road if the paint bonds in the first place. Following this, you need to let the surface completely dry out before applying anything. The slightest hint of moisture must be eliminated before you apply a primer, or you may develop blistering and premature peeling.
- The next step is leveling out any inconsistencies in the surface. This means sanding down the rough spots and protrusions while filling in any cracks or holes. This allows the primer and ultimately the paint itself to settle evenly over the whole surface. If you skip this step, you run the risk of air pockets and uneven stress points that can cause tears in the paint job. These tears make it easy for external elements to get under the paint and damage the substrate while drastically reducing the lifespan of the paint itself. Of course, once you’re finishing sanding, make sure to vacuum the resulting dust. If you mopped the area, let it completely dry before moving to the next step.
- Finally, before applying paint, you normally must lay down a coat of primer, which is necessary to ensure the paint’s adhesion to the substrate. Like the paint itself, you want the primer to be applied evenly over the whole surface, preferably with a roller. You should ensure that no detritus finds its way into the primer mix before applying the paint since this would defeat the point of cleaning the surface thoroughly to begin with. The primer you choose is entirely up to you and the type of paint you’re applying as well as environmental conditions, so be sure to read the labels to know exactly how to use the product.
“What are the benefits of using paint on concrete?”
There are several benefits, including:
- Water and ice resistance
- Temperature resistance, both hot and cold
- Resistance to physical abuse by high traffic from people and light vehicles
- Resistance to corrosive chemicals
- Mold, mildew, and pest-proofing
- Improved light reflection by to 300 percent, which reduces electrical costs for lighting a facility
- Improved traction, which is especially good for workplace environments where water and other slick substances are handled
- In the case of epoxy, improved surfacing for the addition of other coats such as protective urethane paints
- Improved aesthetics — like, who wants to see boring, gray concrete all the time?
“I’ve heard that paints and stains for wooden patios can ruin them if not applied properly. Is the same true with concrete paints?”
Generally speaking, any time you paint something, there’s a risk of damage to the substrate if not applied correctly. Concrete is more difficult to “ruin” than wooden surfaces because of its consistency and non-organic composition. It is, by nature, largely pest-proof unlike wood, and it can’t be consumed by termites or succumb to rotting in the way that wooden structures do.
Your biggest concern when painting concrete is the lifespan of the paint itself. Depending on the kind you choose, you may also need to use a sealant to protect it as the case will be with acrylic paints, which are normally used with wooden surfaces. Concrete surfaces are more commonly found in areas where a lot of abuse is expected: driveways, sidewalks, skating or biking areas, loading zones, basements, industrial facilities and more. As such, epoxy paints are most frequently used for their durability.
The question of paint’s durability on wooden surfaces is less frequently questioned than the well-being of the wood itself; the opposite is true of concrete where your first concern is whether the paint will hold up over time.
“What types of paints can be used on concrete surfaces?”
Virtually any kind of paint can be used on concrete. Epoxy is considered ideal, but acrylic paints are also viable. There are also stains that can be used to polish the concrete and make it glossy while offering protection from UV rays, water, and general abuse.
As important as your choice of paint is the decision to use paint in the first place. Paint is more than a fashion statement; it’s a protective step toward maintaining the structural integrity and overall utility of concrete walls and floors in a variety of settings. However, there are times when it’s better to forgo the paint altogether and stick with a stain or even nothing at all. Is this, for example, a basement that you never plan on using? It may not be worth the time, cost and energy to clean, level and prime just so you can add a layer of paint that has nothing to protect against and no eyes to please on a daily basis.
If you’re in the camp of playing it safe and keeping all your concrete surfaces protected, there are other options to consider besides a paint job. You may want to try staining your concrete instead, which is not only easier to do but also cheaper and forgoes the priming process altogether. You still have to thoroughly wash the surface and strip prior coats of stain or paint before doing this, but for a lesser-used and -abused surface, staining could be the answer you needed. Also keep in mind that stains are a sublimating chemical mix, meaning they seep into the substrate and protect it all throughout rather than providing a single barrier on the surface that traps certain conditions underneath it.
Whichever way you choose to go about it, remember that every time you walk into a business, the floors are usually coated in a shiny layer of stain or paint, and there’s a good reason for this. If you’re a business owner, the implications extend beyond protection and appearance: Insurance companies want to know that you’re protecting your assets. Warehouses need to be especially careful because of the heavyweight nature of labor in these places, and with employee injuries being a serious problem in some environments, the added traction of a paint or stain is also a safety precaution.
We’ve covered everything you need to know about best concrete paints, and we hope it serves you well in the coming years.