Tips for Painting Concrete Steps

Lead Image for Tips for Painting Concrete Steps
  • 4-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-150

Painting concrete steps isn't much different than painting any other surfaces, but there are a few precautions and steps you should take to ensure a safe and effective project.

Preparing the Surface

In order for concrete and paint to have adhesion with one another, the concrete must be clean of dirt and previous paint. Give the concrete a good scrubbing, and use either a hand sander or wire brush to remove loose paint.

Purchase some Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) available at paint and home supply centers. Follow the directions for dilution and application of the acid for etching the surface of the cement. Allow it to completely dry before painting.


Smooth finished concrete can be slippery when wet or soiled, so consider the texture of the finish when painting. If the concrete step is smooth, you may want to apply an adhesive textural tape. Textural tape comes in various widths and is available at hardware and home centers

When applying the paint you can also add a small amount of fine sand to the paint which will create a textural surface without affecting the look or color of the steps.

Material Selection

Concrete specific latex exterior paint and primer have better adhesion properties than standard house paint. For ease in application, apply with a firm bristle brush, or sponge roller.

Painting a Concrete Block Wall

Like concrete steps, concrete walls are large, bulky and gray, an aesthetic that might not add much appeal to your home. One way to make a concrete block wall more inviting is to paint it. Painting a concrete block wall is like painting any other type of concrete, but it does take some time and special equipment to do it correctly.

Remove Loose Concrete

Over time a concrete block wall can begin to erode. This can be caused by the elements it has to face but also by human error. You could back in to the concrete block wall with your car or accidentally strike it with a hammer. Regardless of the reasons for the damage, it is important to remove any concrete that is loose as well as grout or mortar. If you try to paint the concrete block wall without removing loose concrete will create a bad paint job. Use a wire brush and gently scrape the loose concrete away from the wall.

Patch and Repair

Once you have spent the time removing loose concrete you will also want to spend the time to patch any holes and cracks in the concrete block wall. This will help to make the paint go on easier while keeping the structural integrity of the concrete block wall intact.

Patching is fairly easy to do accomplish as you can buy concrete already mixed in a squeeze bottle. Squeeze the concrete in to the cracks and holes and then spread it out with a putty knife. Once the concrete is dry you can sand it down flush with the rest of the concrete block wall.

Clean the Surface

Beyond the removal of the loose concrete and the patching of the wall you also need to clean them. A concrete block wall can become incredibly dirty and covered in all sorts of oils and other things, like mildew and mold. Using a power washer is a good use of your time on a large wall as it will get the cleaning done quickly.

You can also set out to clean the wall prior to removing loose concrete as the washer could remove that as well. You can also use a bucket of water and a scrub brush to get in to the texture of the concrete block wall. Use a mild soap that is oil-free and then rinse the wall to remove the suds.

Use the Right Paint

Painting a concrete block wall requires you to use a specific kind of paint or else it will not adhere to the concrete let alone survive the elements. Chose a paint color that works with the rest of the paint on your property. You will also want to select a paint that is weatherproof. You will also want to start with a primer and then finish up with a sealer coat.