How to Make Concrete Look Like Wood

Rosemary Rugnetta

The nature and texture of wood is warm and inviting. Creating the look of wood on any surface takes time and patience, but it can be done, even on concrete, using faux finishing techniques.

Faux finishing makes concrete look like wood.

The concrete must be completely dry and clean before priming and painting, otherwise neither the primer or paint will adhere properly. If the concrete surface is a floor, apply an all-in-one degreasing and etching product before priming to ensure the concrete accepts the primer.


Experiment in small sections to get the look that is desired before doing the entire surface. Practice on scrap cardboard to hone the graining technique.


Make sure there is adequate ventilation when applying sealer. Do not try to correct minor mistakes. Wood is natural and the results of creating faux wood should also be natural.

  1. Pour concrete primer into a paint tray. Paint the entire concrete surface with concrete primer, using a roller for a large area or a brush for smaller areas. Since concrete is porous, this will seal the surface and make it easier to apply the additional paints. Again, let this completely dry, which may take a couple days.

  2. Paint the entire surface of the concrete, using the lightest shade of paint. Since this is your base coat, it is important to make sure that the surface is completely painted. This must dry thoroughly before moving on.

  3. Apply the next shade of paint onto a small section of the concrete, painting in one direction. Take the graining tool and rock it back and forth as you drag it along the wet paint. This graining tool will drag some of the paint along with it and leave the look of wood grain and knots behind. Complete the entire surface using this technique. Allow this to dry.

  4. Note at this point if the look you are going for is achieved. If a more detailed wood look is desired, take the last shade of paint and paint small sections, scattering the sections around the area. Always paint in the same direction as was done in previous steps. Using the graining comb, drag it along the wet paint to create lines in the surface. This will add another dimension to the look of wood already painted on to the concrete. Let this completely dry at least 24 hours.

  5. Apply a clear sealer for protection with the paint roller, if desired. This will also produce a gloss finish.