Cleaning & Preparation:

I am sure you have heard the old saying that preparation is the most important part of any job. We tend to agree, you will always get a better result if you take a few moments to ensure you have the right combination of products for your project.

When looking to paint, seal or cover a floor surface with matting, the first thing to do is look at the type of surface you have. Most of our customers are looking to paint concrete floors, this may sound simple enough but even with concrete you can have many different types of finish. Unfortunately, every surface is different, and we cannot list them all but as a rough guide a few common examples of the concrete finishes are outlined below:

Sand & Cement Screed:

This is a common type of surface in garage spaces. It isn’t actually concrete at all and should be treated differently. It tends to be very porous and sometimes quite a weak surface. If you are unsure whether your surface is concrete or ‘screed’ then a simple way to give a good indication is to pour some water on the surface, say a pint, and see how quickly it soaks in. If it disappears immediately and leaves nothing but a small damp patch, then you have either screed or very porous concrete. Before coating this type of surface, we would recommend applying our Universal Concrete Primer to pre-seal the surface and ensure the paint will cover well. If you just go straight to painting a surface that’s overly porous it is likely that coverage will be hugely reduced, and it will cost far more to achieve the finish you are looking for.

Existing Concrete:

An older concrete floor (by old we mean anything probably older than 2 years). Still bare, but not usually dusty, and possibly worn smooth in some places. This type of surface is usually quite easy to paint, it simply requires a good clean to remove any contaminants. Before getting started, treatment with our Cleaner & Degreaser will help to prepare this surface. We have 5L bottles for smaller projects like garages and 25L bottles for larger commercial projects.

Previously Painted Concrete:

As you would expect, this type of surface has some older paint coatings on it. The old paint could be in good condition but just needs refreshing or it could be wearing through and looking thin on the ground. If the current coating is mostly sound and solid (does not come away easily) then we would recommend leaving it where it is. No need to spend hours scabbling back and removing the top of the concrete just to get rid of small patches of solid paint. Simply abrade the surface (sand it back, especially on the older paint) to achieve a key (texture). This will help the new paint bond and have something to grip to. Once you have sanded, clean using our Cleaner & Degreaser before painting.

New Concrete:

Sometimes known as ‘Green’ concrete, referring to it being dry but recently laid. Though sometimes green concrete can now also mean that some recyclable/waste materials have been used as one or more of its components.

With newly laid concrete it is important to let the surface fully dry before coating it. Though the top surface may well be hard and dry, it is likely that below there is still moisture, and this can take some time to dry out. Therefore, it is important to allow the full depth to cure before covering the surface otherwise the water cannot evaporate properly, the moisture can then become trapped in the slab. Then, when it rises later it will simply push the paint from the surface. This is often blamed on the strength of the coating when in fact it isn’t anything to do with the paint at all.

There are thousands of different blends of concrete, all curing at different speeds. If you are able, consult the contractor who laid it or the manufacturer of the concrete you used. If this is not possible, then as a rough guide, leave the surface around 1 day for every millimetre in depth before applying a paint coating or anything that completely covers the surface.

If you are simply cannot wait for it to dry out naturally, in many cases you can use a Damp Proof Membrane coating (DPM) to waterproof the floor and stop the moisture rising later. These are usually a type of thick paint coating, but before doing this, please check compatibility with whichever paint you plan to use to avoid any problems between the two products.

If the surface has been allowed to dry naturally, as noted above, then the surface can usually be painted. However, most new concrete surfaces are covered with a layer of laitance. This is a layer of dusty concrete found on new surfaces, it is formed by small particles of the surface rising to the top during the drying process. It is usually quite easy to spot, if the surface appears constantly dusty (even after sweeping or vacuuming) or if the surface of the concrete can easily be marked by using a blunt object, such as a pen or a coin.

If surface laitance is present, this should be removed by mechanical abrasion (diamond grinder / shot blasting and other similar methods) or by using our Floor Etcher. This will remove the laitance and reveal the hard surface just below the laitance.

This surface is harder and cannot be easily marked, as noted above, this can then be painted. You may still wish to test for porosity (see notes on sand and cement screed) to see if a primer would be of benefit before painting.

Finishes to Concrete:

There are several different finishes to concrete surfaces:

Brushed - where a broom is used to finish the top of the concrete giving a light texture to the surface and a minimal lined appearance.

Tamped – where a batten is used to create more noticeable peaks and troughs in the surface.

Floated or Hand Trowelled – usually quite smooth but still looks similar to most concrete.

Powerfloated – see notes on Power Floated Concrete below.

 These are simply the most common types, though there may be lots more.

It is worth bearing in mind that paint can cover many things, but paint will not fill holes or imperfections in the surface. These should be made good before painting if you require a smooth decorative finish. The finish of the concrete will impact coverage and appearance, particularly tamped concrete, as the ridges can increase surface area by up to 50% more than a flat surface.

Power Floated or Polished Concrete:

This is finish is becoming more common place and is considered a decorative or wearing finish for concrete. It is created by using a machine to rotate multiple floating blades over the surface to compact and smooth out the surface soon after being laid. This creates an often smooth and very dense surface to the concrete. Unfortunately, it can also make it very difficult to paint. Often the surface is too dense to allow a coating to soak in to the top properly and this causes problems when coating try to bind to it. In this case, it is all too often not clear there is a problem until the paint dries and looks brilliant, but soon after the coating will flake in large patches and break away easily.

The porosity test can also be used to test for this, though in the opposite way to testing porous concrete. If the water sits on top and takes minutes or longer to soak in, then the surface is possibly too dense, we do not recommend painting this unless you have specifically prepared it with the correct machinery or sourced specific power floated concrete priming products. Remember to always check anything you wish to use on the floor is compatible with the paint you are using.


The type of surface you have will tell you which products you may require to prepare your surface for painting:

  • Sand & Cement Screed – treat with Floorsaver Universal Concrete Primer
  • Existing Concrete – abrade solids paint areas, remove loose paint and debris. Then clean using Floorsaver Cleaner & Degreaser
  • New Concrete – remove laitance using Floorsaver Floor Etcher
  • Powerfloated Concrete – cannot be painted unless prepared correctly.

    Before you Start:

    When looking to begin a painting project it is easy to think about the type of finish you want and how it is going to look. Though we believe it is important to consider what you will use the area for now, and in the future, to ensure you buy the correct products for your project.

    If you are painting a garage floor or an industrial area, it is important to consider the type of traffic you have in the area. If you are planning or might ever need to be able to have vehicles in the area, then you need to make sure the paint can stand up to this type of wear and tear.

    It is a common mistake to think that vehicles will pull the paint up as they drive across the surface. In fact, this is very unlikely and would probably be more likely caused by a poor surface rather than the paint itself. However, the issue is when you park vehicles on the surface or have standing vehicle traffic. This can cause is a reaction that happens with many ‘single pack coatings’ (ready mixed paints). They become softened by the tyre as they heat up and cool down naturally. This causes the tyres to expand & contract and pull the paint from the surface.

    If you are looking to paint a surface where you need to have vehicle traffic, even just occasionally, or you would like the option to use it for vehicles in the future, you should use two pack paint coatings – such as our Epoxy Floor Paint.

    This type of coating is far less likely to lift under vehicle traffic and offers a harder wearing finish.

    If you simply require a paint that is suitable for foot traffic, such as a utility room or workshop with no vehicles, our ready mixed Floor Paint would be ideal. This product is a polyurethane paint which dries quickly and is easily applied to floors or walls in areas where you want something to seal and improve the look whilst still being durable.

    Both our Epoxy Floor Paint and Floor Paint are available in an Anti-Slip finish. This uses a small sand like additive, mixed into the paint, to create a textured finish and offer better safety in wet areas. Once cured the additive is clearly visible in the surface and this can make it a little more difficult to clean.

    Please note the above is intended as a guide only and if you have any concerns with the above or anything to do with painting your surface we are here to help. Give us a call on 0345 450 9888 or email