Precast concrete is becoming increasingly popular in construction projects due to its durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. Painting precast concrete enhances a building’s appearance. It can make it blend in or stand out from the environment according to the designer’s vision. It can even transform industrial and commercial buildings into professional-looking facilities.
Painting precast concrete walls can improve their appearance, but they’re not always easy to paint evenly. If you’ve ever tried to paint precast concrete walls, you know that the surface often absorbs the paint, resulting in an uneven finish.
In this post, we’ll share some tips for painting precast concrete walls like a pro. With a bit of preparation and the right tools, you can achieve a smooth, even finish that will dramatically improve the look of your walls.
The benefits of painting precast concrete walls
Painting your precast concrete walls is a great way to improve the look and feel of your home. Precast concrete walls can be painted using almost any type of paint, and the process is pretty simple. However, you should keep a few things in mind to ensure that the job goes as smoothly as possible.
If you’re not sure how to go about painting your precast concrete walls, there are plenty of online tutorials and articles that can help you out. By following these simple steps, you can achieve a professional-looking finish that will enhance the appearance of your home.
How long does it take to paint precast concrete walls?
Painting precast concrete isn’t a fast one-day project. Allow plenty of time to do the job correctly. You’ll have to wait while the concrete, primer, sealer, and paint dry during the different stages of the job. A typical job might take five days. Add an additional day if you need to check whether the wall is sealed and another two days if you’re using oil-based paints.
Best Paint For Precast Concrete Walls
Not all paints are created equal, and the same goes for painting precast concrete walls. You can use two primary types of paint: latex and oil-based.
Latex paints are water-based and are the most popular option for painting interior walls. They’re easy to apply, durable, and come in a wide range of colors. Use satin or eggshell latex paint on concrete walls in rooms with everyday use. Semi-gloss latex paint is suitable for kids’ playrooms, weight rooms, and workrooms where stain resistance is desirable. Exterior acrylic paint is a good choice for exterior precast concrete walls as it will withstand harsh weather and ultraviolet light.
Oil-based paints are more expensive, but they’re much more durable than latex paints. They can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces. They also come in a wider range of colors than latex paints.
Masonry paint (also known as elastomeric paint) is another good choice for painting exterior concrete walls. It contains binders that expand and contract with concrete, eliminating the cracking or peeling that can occur with exterior latex house paint.
Here are a few paint brands you may consider using:
1. Kilz Basement and Masonry Waterproofer
This waterproof paint can be used indoors and outdoors. It’s an excellent choice for basement walls, and anywhere you want to keep out water and dampness. It contains an alkali-resistant coating, so it will be long-lasting. Two coats are recommended, and this paint dries within an hour.
2. Kilz Decorative Concrete Coating
This is another affordable concrete paint that’s great for precast concrete walls. It’s available in two colors: tan and gray.
3. RTG Supply Co. Concrete Paint
This product can be used on interior and exterior walls. It doesn’t need a primer coat, and a small amount will cover a large area. Four colors are on offer: white, sand, light gray, and amber/clear.
4. Rust-Oleum Decorative Concrete Coating
This economically priced concrete and cement paint are durable. It’s offered in four different colors and is ideal for exterior walls.
5. Seal-Krete Damplock Masonry Waterproofing Paint
This waterproof paint will brighten up a precast concrete wall and dry to a matte finish. The formula is alkali-resistant and can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer. It will also eliminate odors from a concrete wall, which is useful when painting an older home.
6. UGL DRYLOK Masonry Waterproof
This paint is ideal for people who live in areas that are exposed to moisture. It will keep water away and resist staining. Four colors are available: white, blue, beige, and gray.
The difference between concrete stain and concrete paint
The biggest difference between concrete paint and an acid-based stain is how they react with concrete. Acid-based stains penetrate the concrete and react with the salts and minerals. The color lasts a long time and won’t peel or chip. However, the concrete stains can react unpredictably, and the results will vary depending on the composition of the concrete.
Concrete paint is non-reactive. It fills the concrete’s surface pores to produce a uniform and consistent color. Paint can peel or chip over time, particularly if the surface is improperly prepared.
How to prep the walls for painting
Before you start painting, you need to make sure that the surface is prepped correctly. This means cleaning the walls and removing any dust or debris that could interfere with the paint adhesion. You can do this by sweeping or vacuuming it thoroughly. If there are any cracks or holes in the surface, you’ll need to fix them before painting. You can do this with a concrete patch.
Water is one of the main ingredients in concrete, so it’s especially susceptible to moisture. When concrete absorbs water, it expands and contracts, which may cause cracks to form. Moisture in the concrete can also cause mold to grow and produce a cold basement sensation.
Interior precast concrete walls should be sealed to prevent moisture from seeping in. Some masonry sealers will also patch cracks.
If you’re unsure whether an interior wall is sealed, you can use this simple test. Tape plastic sheeting to the wall, making the sheet as airtight as possible. Check back after 24 hours and see if there’s moisture behind the plastic. If not, the wall is sealed. If you detect moisture, you’ll need to seal the wall.
If the wall needs to be sealed, purchase a concrete sealer, apply one coat, and let it dry overnight. This will prevent stains by keeping water from absorbing into the concrete.
We recommend using a concrete primer to help the paint adhere better and prevent it from peeling or fading. However, some concrete paints are self-priming and can be applied directly to concrete. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Apply the primer with a brush or a roller and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Once the surface is ready, you can begin painting, using your desired color and finish.
How to remove paint from precast concrete
If the wall is being repainted, you’ll need to remove the existing paint first. The good news is that concrete is a durable surface, and paint can be removed relatively easily. But it’s not a quick job. It will take some elbow grease and determination.
The first step is to clean the concrete surface with a degreaser or paint remover. This will help break down the paint and make it easier to remove. Once the surface is clean, you can start scrubbing. Use a scrub brush or wire brush to remove as much paint as possible. Be sure to wear gloves and safety goggles during this process, as there may be splashes of paint and chemicals. Once you’ve removed as much paint as possible, you can finish up by cleaning the surface with soap and water.
You can also use a pressure washer for exterior walls. Precast concrete can withstand great pressure, so this is an excellent way to remove paint on outdoor walls.
To remove several layers of paint, you can use a gel-based paint stripper explicitly manufactured for concrete. Allow it to stay on the surface according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the paint is completely removed, the surface can be repainted.
Choosing the best type of brush or roller to use
When painting precast concrete, you’ll want to ensure you’re using the right type of roller for the job. Selecting the right length of nap for the job is important. Use a shorter nap for smooth surfaces and a long nap for rough surfaces. Keep in mind the manufacturer’s specifications of the material you’re using. Select a nap that won’t spread the paint too thinly or thickly. Also, use the appropriate sleeve fabric for the product you’re using. High-solvent content products require a solvent-resistant roller sleeve.
When choosing a brush, select one with synthetic bristles, as they are more durable and will hold up better against the concrete.
Applying the Paint
Start by pouring the paint into a paint tray. Then begin rolling it on. When painting precast concrete walls, it’s important to avoid overloading the roller with too much paint at once. This will cause the paint to drip and run, ruining your finished product. Be sure to use a thin coat of paint and then go back over it with a second coat for even coverage.
Tips for a professional finish
If you’re using a primer, apply it evenly and in the correct direction. The same goes for the paint. Apply it in thin, even coats for the best results. If you use oil-based outdoor paints, it’s best to wait 24 hours between each coat. You’ll need at least three layers to get the best coverage.
If you’re painting an exterior wall, check the weather forecast in the area before you start the job. Additionally, pay attention to the manufacturer’s suggestions for the minimum surface temperatures for applying the primer and paint, particularly when painting outdoor precast concrete walls. A general rule is not to use the product when the temperature is below 50 F.
Once the paint is dry, give it a light sanding with 320-grit sandpaper to help smooth out any bumps or imperfections. Finally, apply a coat or two of concrete paint sealer to protect the surface from fading and staining.
Painting precast concrete walls can seem daunting, but with the right steps, it can be a breeze. Just make sure to use the right paint and tools for the job and take your time to get the desired results.