Preparation of Coated Concrete for Paints & Stains

A great looking finish begins with the right start. Following the proper prep procedure will dramatically affect the look and longevity of your finished project.

For Best Results:

Before you start, remove any loose or peeling paint by sanding with medium-grit sandpaper or wire-brushing the surface. If necessary, de-gloss any glossy surfaces by scuff-sanding or using a chemical deglosser.

For your safety, wear protective clothing, eye goggles and acid-resistant rubber gloves and footwear.

How to Strip Paint from a Coated Surface

  1. Step 1

    Apply a thick layer of paint stripper to the surface using a paint brush or bristle broom. Distribute evenly. The paint stripper thickness should be such that the previously coated surface is completely covered.

  2. Step 2

    If hot or windy conditions cause the paint stripper layer to dry, reapply a light coat of the stripper.

  3. Step 3

    Check periodically during the waiting period of 1-6 hrs to ensure that the coating is completely covered with the paint stripper. If the coated surface becomes visible, re-apply a light coat of paint stripper. It should remain wet and active until the coating wrinkles.

  4. Step 4

    Use a scraper or pressure washer to remove all coating and residue. Rinse with water thoroughly to remove all chemical residues before re-coating.

How to Clean and Etch a Concrete Surface

  1. Step 1

    If your previously coated surface is in good condition, you may coat over it.  However, you are still required to clean the surface.

  2. Step 2

    Apply the product directly on stained areas for best results. Use the product at full strength for tough stains and diluted for general cleaning.

  3. Step 3

    Work the degreaser and cleaner into the surface with a stiff bristled, non-metal brush or broom.  Allow the product to stand for 10-20 minutes then scrub vigorously. DO NOT allow the surface to dry.

  4. Step 4

    Thoroughly rinse the concrete surface with fresh water while scrubbing at the same time to properly remove all remaining residue. Pressure wash for best results.

  5. Step 5

    Using a non-metal squeegee or mop, remove the excess water from the entire project area. Prevent all rinse solution from entering storm drains.

  6. Step 6

    The ideal surface profile for coating should be clean and feel like medium to light grit sandpaper. To achieve this, apply your cleaner and etcher product to the surface with a plastic watering can.

  7. Step 7

    Spread the cleaner and etcher using a stiff bristled, non-metal brush or broom. Allow the product to stand for at least 10-20 minutes on the surface then scrub vigorously using the broom.

  8. Step 8

    Thoroughly rinse the concrete surface with clean water using a hose with a high-pressure nozzle or a pressure washer. The surface is ready for priming when it feels like medium to light grit sandpaper and no residue or loose concrete remains.

How to Prime a Concrete Surface

  1. Image of BEHR PREMIUM Bonding Primer in One gallon

    Step 1

    Apply bonding primer to spot-prime any uncoated concrete surfaces to enhance the adhesion.

  2. Step 2

    Apply the bonding primer using a high-quality pump sprayer, 6.4 - 9.5 mm (1/4" to 3/8") nap roller, a nylon-polyester brush or pad applicator.

  3. Step 3

    The bonding primer will dry to the touch in approximately 2 hours. Apply a topcoat after a minimum of 4 hours but before 30 days. 

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Suggested Tools & Supplies
  • Hose

    High Pressure Nozzle


    Chemical Resistant Gloves

    Paint Can Opener

    Broom (Stiff Bristle)


    Brush (Nylon/Polyester)

    Bucket Grid

    Extension Pole

    Paint Tray Liner

    Paint Tray

    Protective Apparel

    Pump Sprayer


    Roller Cover and Frame

More How-tos
Additional Resources
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