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Painting Concrete Floors

Designer Secrets for Updating Your Home Décor On a Tight Budget

By Pamela Cole Harris

The first time I saw a painted concrete floor, I was amazed! It was beautiful! It is the perfect solution for an inexpensive floor that will last and last. If you want to try this money-saving technique in your home, here’s how (but I warn you, this is not a one-weekend project!)

1. If your floor is inside the house, do a little checking before you decide to paint your floor. Is the concrete damp? Are there puddles? (If so, then you have a larger problem than an ugly floor!) If so, contact a professional to take care of the water seepage problem. Let the concrete dry thoroughly before painting (this may take a l-o-n-n-n-n-n-n-g time!)

2. Thoroughly clean the concrete. If there is any grease on the floor (what have you been DOING in this room?), you must remove it before painting or the paint won’t stick. To remove grease, put down cat litter to absorb the majority of oil, then scrub again with Goof Off. Then mix up a bucket of TSP and scrub the floor, rinsing several times, until your mop is clean (I didn’t say this would be easy, did I?). Wait at least three days for the floor to dry.

3. Sand off any paint (have you done this before?) or bumpy stuff (such as glue or paint residue) with a hand sander and 80-grit sandpaper. Vacuum well. Go over the floor with a tack cloth (a sticky cheesecloth available at any hardware or home improvement store).

4. Use Cement Fixall to repair any cracks and holes, then let it dry completely.

5. Now we begin the painting process. Roll on two coats of Kilz primer and stain blocker. Let dry between coats.

6. Use a roller or a paint compressor, if you have one, to paint on at least two coats of a good latex flat paint. (Don’t settle for the cheap stuff for this project!)

7. Now for the creative stuff! Use your imagination to come up with geometric shapes, the look of faux tile, faux stone, or even a faux yellow brick road! Let dry completely!

8. Roll on two coats of Breakthrough*** sealer with a 1/4" nap roller. You will need a respirator mask for this (cough! cough!). Let dry.

Now you have a beautiful concrete floor - indestructible and colorful!

I just have one more tip - lay some nice soft rugs around, especially in the wintertime! Your floor may be marvellous, but it will be cold on those tender toes!

How to paint a concrete floor - pictures 


***  Apparently this product is very difficult, if not impossible to get hold of these days.  One of the companies which used to supply it (HPI Finishing Supply) no longer seems to have a presence online.  If anyone does know where Breakthrough Sealant can be purchased please let me know.

As always one of my visitors has come up trumps.  Margo Cuccio has contacted me as follows:-

I researched the internet & called half a dozen paint stores. I found several companies that used to handle it but only one that has it now. 

Luckily I found out a pertinent piece of information. There is more than on product with a "Break-Through" name and the one you need for the floor application to protect and not damage all the work you've done to paint your floor is Break-Through "clear satin". A manager at a Sherman William's store in Tulsa, Oklahoma told me this; he was very familiar with the product but did not sell it. He said the sealer dries really harder polyurethane so I'm sure this is why it is recommended so highly. He also said that the sealer was manufactured by Vanex. They don't have a website. The are in Mount Vernon, Illinois, U.S.A.. PH. 618-244-1414. I told the lady how hard I'd worked to find the product & she informed me that they do not ever intend to have a website. I guess they don't care if they sell this product or not. She gave me a distributor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They are Environmental Paint & Supply; there phone number is 918-437-3200. It's approx. $43/gal.

You are going to be shocked...I have more information.  The supplier for UK is:

Avenue Coatings in Colnbrook, Slough.  Their phone number is 01753-686888 and there is another associated online shop which still seems to feature some Break-Through products although they are in very large quantities.

Claudia Chin Chin writes - Breakthrough paint is available at Star Scenic in Orlando, Florida

I just purchased some a month ago.

I have checked out the above supplier and, although there are many different 'Breakthrough' products I could not see a sealant suitable for concrete listed amongst the products on offer.  They may, of course, be able to obtain it for you.


Patti writes -

"Breakthrough can be ordered pretty much through any PPG (Pittsburgh Paint) dealer. I ordered 10 gal. here in Columbus Indiana to do all my wood floors in my "turn of the century" house. Have used it for many years -- it is THE BEST for floors.

The breakthrough manufacturer was purchased by PPG - they also make paints."




As you will see I have now found some additional details regarding "Breakthrough" products but as there are apparently several different products with similar names I cannot guarantee that this is the same as that being recommended.


I was reading your hints about painting cement floors - the last paragraph has not been my experience. I am a "can't stand cold person". Almost did not do the cement floor overlay for fear of having cold feetsies - I am a bare foot girl at home. So I just did the overlay rooms we don't live in a lot. Turns out the floors feel great. Same temp as whatever I keep my thermostat at. I do use ceiling fans in my house so that may keep warm air pushed down. But please think about adding that bare foot girl loves the cement floor so much she is replacing worn carpet in the entire house now. It is beautiful, clean, rugged, easy to maintain - and comfortable on bare feet.

Randy M. Doughty

As you will see I have now found some additional details regarding "Breakthrough" products but as there are apparently several different products with similar names I cannot guarantee that this is the same as that being recommended. 





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