Oct 19, 20215 min

Paint Your Ugly Concrete Steps

Updated: Jan 22

Did you know you don't have to settle with the boring grey concrete steps your house came with!? Nope you sure don't!! You can easily paint concrete....and yes, even those high traffic entry steps!

In today's blog post I will show you guys how I've painted not only my steps, but other's in my very own neighbourhood....and also an update on my very own stenciled steps 1 year later.

First let's go back to the very beginning to see what I was starting with......

These steps once upon a time had astroturf on them! Remember that stuff?? Well maybe not all of you remember it, but once upon a time people used to cover their front steps in what looked like fake grass. Why?? I have absolutely no idea!! After these home owners removed the turf, they were left with some serious glue residue and texture. They did get quotes to resurface the concrete but it was coming in at around $3K to have that done, so they decided to just live with it in this state for years, not realizing that it could just be painted!

So here's where I come in!! This house belongs to my friends in laws and once she told me about their stairs, I couldn't wait to get my hands on them and make them pretty again. I knew it could be done easily, quickly and affordably.

So here's what I did!

Step 1:

Power washed the stairs followed by sanding the surface of the entire concrete in 60 grit sand paper. The sanding seriously helped smooth down the texture of the glue. I knew it wasn't all going to come off, but just by sanding it all by hand, it helped soften the appearance of the glue texture and lines.

I then swept off all the dust and taped all around the house and side walk area.

Step 2:

It's now time to prime! My favourite primer for painting exterior concrete is Aqua Lock. Some people may say priming is not necessary if you are using a good porch paint, but I don't like to take my chances when it comes to painting out doors, and especially on high traffic zones like this. I talked to the people at Benjamin Moore and this was the one they recommended so I've used it ever since and have never had any issues. Besides...it's really no extra effort to apply one coat of this and wait 1 hour before paint!

To apply the primer and all the paint in this post, I used this 6.5" roller and this roller cover meant for rough surfaces. I also use my go to paint brush for all edge work.

Now that the primer is all dry we brain stormed a bit as far as the look we were going to do next as far as design and colour choices. The outside of the house was just given a beautiful new exterior paint job in the colours Gauntlet Grey, Alabaster and Dorian Grey all by Sherwin Williams. The only thing left was to figure out what would look best on the steps with the new colours on the house. To me all it needed was a bright new entry to help break up some of the dark colouring of the exterior. Something to help draw your eye up to the beautiful front double doors.

So here's the idea I had...

....to paint a simple striped runner with the colours Iron Ore and Repose Grey by Sherwin Williams. This light section in the middle really gives the appearance of a fresh and welcoming entry!

Step 3:

Alright so now that the design and colours are chosen, it's time to start painting our outer dark colour. Make sure before you paint your colour on, you've waited at least a good hour (longer if it's chilly out) for the primer to dry, I like to use Behr's Porch and Patio Paint from Home Depot. Luckily they were able to colour match to my Sherwin Williams Iron Ore shade.

I should mention, if you are not painting a runner like I am, then obviously you would paint the entire surface at this point.

This paint needs at least 4-6 hours of dry time before you can apply your second coat. I was working in chilly temps here....I mean its October in Calgary, so basically it's the beginning of Winter already! So when the next morning came I applied my second coat of dark colour.

Step 4:

This is the point where you will need to decide how wide you want your stripes to be and also how wide you want your runner to be. I was lucky in this case that the door was symmetrical with the steps too. I decided to have the runner just slightly inset with the width of the doors and went with 10" from each edge of the concrete.

Each stripe would also be 2 1/2" wide. I will admit this was the longest part of the process was the taping! My butt was slightly frozen too sitting on those cold concrete steps, lol!

Step 5:

It's now time to roll and brush on the last colour which in this case is the lighter colour. Again I am using the same Behr Porch and Patio Paint and got it colour matched to Sherwin Williams Repose Grey.

Action shot of me working well into the evening and also getting my late night yoga class in too...bonus!!

I did apply two coats of this colour and took the tape off pretty soon after I finished. I find if I take the tape off while it's still drying I will get a crisper line.

Optional Step:

After doing a few touch ups the next day to the lines I applied this product over the entire surface. This is not necessary, but again I like to try to get the longest wear possible of these paint jobs....especially when I'm doing it for someone else.

Now it's finally time to admire all the hard work!

You can still see the texture of the previous glue and imperfections in the concrete, but the lines of the runner do a great job of distracting from that.

Also here's a little sneak peak of another one I am currently working on....

Here's the before....

And here's the after....

Isn't it amazing what a difference it makes to paint those concrete steps!?

Also if you are looking for a bit more inspo on stenciling your concrete steps you can read my other blog post here. It's been a year since I painted my very own steps and they are as perfect as the day I did them! Here's some pictures you can scroll through I took just yesterday of how they are still looking a year later.

Soooo, have I inspired you yet to get painting your concrete stairs yet??

Hope you enjoyed this read!