Building & Renovating

Reader Question: How Can I Repaint My Concrete Walls?

Real Living consulting style editor and design consultant Issa Villar explains how to transform old walls

Photography: Jun Pinzon

Q: I'm planning  to have our interior walls painted a new color, and would like to know the step-by-step procedure. Our walls are all cement and in some areas the paint is chipping off. Does this mean that the previous painter skipped a step or is it a matter of moisture seeping into the cement? I don’t want this to happen again. —Kathy Cuisia

A: Concrete is porous so it is possible moisture has seeped through, especially if the walls have not been properly sealed and primed. It could also be that the walls were not thoroughly cleaned and any dirt left behind prevented the paint from adhering to the wall. 

These are the steps for repainting your wall:

  1. Use a scraper to remove the old paint from the wall. 
  2. Clean the concrete walls with a trisodium phosphate solution and a scrub brush. The solution will remove the grease and oil which might prevent the new paint from sticking. Rinse the wall well and let dry for several days.
  3. Use hydraulic cement (mixed according to the manufacturer’s directions) and a putty knife to fill any holes or cracks in the concrete wall. 
  4. Place plastic sheets over the concrete walls. Stick duct tape around the edges to make sure that each sheet is sealed down completely. Leave the plastic overnight and check in the morning for condensation on the plastic. If there is no condensation, the walls are properly sealed.
  5. If there is condensation on the walls, seal the walls with a concrete sealer. You can use a paint roller for most of the wall and a paint brush for the corners.
  6. The wall is now ready to be painted.

Click here to see more photos and view the home makeover.

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Read the original article ("Ask It") in the October 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

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