Household Paint Tips: What To Do When Paint Peels From Concrete Floors

Simple do it yourself instructions provided to remedy the problems of peeling concrete floor surfaces with instructions for proper concrete surface preparation.

Concrete is a popular flooring material that is porous in nature. Due to its high alkaline content, a chemical reaction occurs between the concrete and oil or alkyd-based paint finishes which in turn weakens the adhesive bond between the paint and the surface thus causing peeling problems. Older concrete floors may contain an accumulation of grease or oil, which can also create a barrier that will limit the adhesion of paint.

One way to help with a peeling problem on a concrete floor is to properly prepare the surface to accept the paint. The first step, however, is to remove all traces of the peeling paint and start over.

Begin by scraping and sanding the concrete surface to remove all paint. Use a strong detergent and thoroughly clean the concrete floor. Stay away from a mild dishwashing detergent as it contains softening agents for your hands and is not stringent enough to properly clean the surface. If you are unable to completely clean the surface free of all the paint, it may be necessary to use a chemical stripper available at your local hardware store. Follow the manufacturers directions carefully. After the concrete floor is thoroughly cleaned of paint rinse it thoroughly with clean water and let it dry for a couple of days.

Once the floor is clean and dry, it is necessary to etch the surface of the concrete with a 10% solution of muriatic acid and water. Mop on the acid and allow the solution to sit on the surface of the concrete for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bubbling ceases. Rinse the surface with clean water and allow it to dry completely. Note: Muriatic acid is a dangerous solution that requires the use of eye goggles, rubber gloves and rubber boots to protect your eyes and skin from acid burns.

When the floor has been properly etched it will resemble the texture of fine sandpaper. Follow the etching by sanding off any crumbly area of loose concrete and the floor is now ready to paint.

Latex paint is generally the easiest to use because it has a water-soluble base that makes for easy cleanup. Three coats of latex paint will be necessary to give a good finish to the concrete. The first layer will provide a primer coat and the next two layers will give the concrete surface a nice, finished look. Be sure to let the paint dry thoroughly between coats. While latex resists peeling caused from moisture vapor it's downside is hot-tire pickup. When you drive your car on a latex painted concrete surface, the hot tires will soften the latex paint and cause it to stick to the tires.

A second paint choice for concrete is an oil-based paint. An oil-base paint will offer a harder, shinier finish to the concrete surface than a latex paint will. A primer coat of the oil-based paint thinned with mineral spirits should be applied as a first coat followed by a finish coat. The primer coat is necessary to enhance the penetration of the paint and improve the bond to the surface.

For the most durable and longest lasting finish an epoxy or epoxy-polyurethane paint is a good choice. While somewhat pricier than latex or oil-based paint, epoxy will provide an abrasion-resistant finish to the concrete floor.

Unfortunately, no matter the hard work you put into properly preparing the surface of the concrete to accept a painted finish, the porosity of concrete, it's alkaline base chemical make-up and moisture problems cannot guarantee an un-peelable surface. Repainting a concrete floor occasionally is a necessary procedure when paint is the chosen sealer for a concrete surface.

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