How to Paint Patterns on Concrete Floors

A recent interior design trend makes use of bare concrete as permanent flooring instead of carpet, vinyl, laminate or wood. Keep in mind that concrete must be prepared before you can paint it. A concrete floor painted a flat color equals boring. Liven up your space with stencils. Choose your stencils according to the effect you want. You might like geometric shapes, but some people find the patterns over-stimulating. Many years ago, when the stenciling revival occurred, there were few commercial stencils from which to choose. Today, you can purchase small and large stencils in a wide range of patterns.

One method of adding a pattern is to faux-paint it to look like real floor tiles.

Step 1

Prepare the floor before painting with the concrete paint. Sweep the floor, and allow it to dry if it's wet. Buff the floor to remove glue left by carpet, using medium-grit sandpaper. This also creates a porous surface for the primer. Apply two coats of concrete and masonry primer. Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours. Next, apply the epoxy and let it dry for 24 hours. You can pour the cement paint directly on the floor, or you can cut in around the edges, using a paintbrush, and then fill in the rest of the floor, using a roller. Let this first layer of paint dry for 12 hours. Apply another coat of paint and allow it to dry for seven days. This allows the primer under the paint to continue drying.

Step 2

Lay out your stencil and line it up with a straightedge, if you purchased a repeating-pattern stencil. Measure out the placement of the design. Mark these lines lightly for easy reference. If this is your first time stenciling, practice by painting the stencil on some cardboard or any smooth, rigid scrap material. You'll get the feel of the paint's texture and the feel of the brush, and you'll also learn how to manipulate the brush.

Step 3

Tape the stencil in position. Dip the brush in the paint, tap it lightly on a paper towel to get off any excess paint and start applying the paint in a light tapping fashion. Apply the paint to small areas at a time. Clean off the stencil when you're using the same pattern with a different color.

Step 4

Use separate brushes to apply each color if you're using more than one color. Apply the first color, move the stencil to the next spot and repeat. Once you complete the first round, go back to the beginning. Make sure the first color is dry. Apply the second color, and repeat the process until all the colors are done. Don't pull up the stencil until the paint is dry. If you use fast-drying stencil paints or add Japan Dry to other paints, the paint should be dry when you get back to the beginning.

Step 5

Apply a coat of nonyellowing polyurethane varnish to the entire floor after you've finished painting your design. Use a paint roller made for varnish and a long extension pole.

Things You Will Need

  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Concrete paint
  • Concrete and masonry bonding primer
  • Epoxy
  • Lambswool paint roller
  • Paint roller
  • Extension pole
  • Nonyellowing polyurethane varnish
  • Stencils
  • Stencil brushes
  • Stencil paint (or any latex or alkyd-based paints)
  • Japan Dryer (optional)
  • Drafting tape
  • Painter's masking tape

About the Author

Julia Margaret writes for various online publications, specializing in gardening topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from California State University, Northridge, and studied horticulture at UCLA Extension. Margaret also holds a Master of Arts in special education.

Photo Credits

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