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Welcome!

 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

The magic of patio paint and how to transform an old concrete path

Updated: 5 days ago

Patio paint is a budget-friendly way to elevate a tired patio or old garden path

Patio paint on concrete slab path

This blog post is about transforming exterior surfaces with the magic of patio paint. Whether you're looking to breathe new life into a dull concrete surface or add a splash of colour to high-traffic areas like your slab garden path, choosing the right patio paint can make all the difference.


I'll show you how I painted the path and patio area in our front garden and talk about the type of paint, the method & tools and products I used.  I'll show you the key steps to preparing a patio surface before painting and my tips for painting and stencilling onto concrete slabs. It was such an impactful yet budget-friendly DIY project that I'm sure you'll want to have a go. If you're considering the eye-watering costs of replacing an old patio or path then read this first as a patio paint job could be the alternative, saving you a packet! 


Why choose patio floor paint?

an old concrete path about to be painted with patio paint

A fresh coat of paint is a common DIY to uplift a space, and it's no different from painting a patio. A beautifully painted patio not only enhances the aesthetics of your outdoor space but also adds a durable finish to withstand the elements. You could apply the following process to garage floors or other exterior applications, but this tutorial's main focus is transforming an old patio or garden path. 

Unpainted patio steps

I decided to paint our tired and tatty front garden pathway, which is formed of concrete patio slabs, because the cost of replacing it was too high, and aside from it being very uninspiring to look at, there wasn’t anything massively wrong with it. I’d seen lots of patio paint transformations on the internet and was eager to have a go. I’d discovered the Instagram account of Dizzy Duck Designs, which was filled with inspirational projects, so I couldn’t wait to revamp my old garden path with a generous helping of patio paint!


Choosing the right patio paint

Patio paint

I researched the best way to transform concrete slabs with patio paint and read that exterior masonry paint was the best paint to use, so I grabbed a couple of huge (5L) tins from B&Q and had them colour-matched to my favourite Farrow and Ball paint shades. I was surprised that there were so many color options available for masonry paint and was so happy that you could even colour-match your favourite shade. 


Let’s take a look at the secrets to a vibrant and long-lasting patio transformation.


Step-by-step process to paint a patio 


Two 5l tubs of patio paint

You will need

Pressure washer  

Hose pipe

Broom

Scrubbing brush

Exterior masonry paint

Exterior paint brush 

Exterior paint roller & frame

Roller tray 

Stencils (optional)

Stencil brush (optional, but required if stencilling)

Masking tape


1. Preparing the surface

Cleaned patio slabs ready for painting

I’d heard the secret to longevity was all in the surface prep (this is usually the case with a painting project), so I took a lot of care in thoroughly cleaning the concrete slabs with a pressure washer. Dizzy Duck recommended using a pressure washer and went as far as to say that simply scrubbing them with a brush wasn’t enough to ensure long-term paint adhesion. I was keen to achieve excellent adhesion, so this was arguably the most important step! I didn't use a specific concrete cleaner or any chemicals - the pressure washer alone lifted years of dirt and debris. The other great thing about the pressure washer was how quickly you can cover large areas, so I definitely recommend using one for best results. 

Patio paint and roller

2. Paint the slabs

I used a roller with a deep pile to help cover the rough surfaces with paint. I found a roller was the quickest way to cover the concrete path. I worked methodically from one end of the path to the other and swept each slab before painting because with it being outside there was a tendency for dust or dirt to get blown around despite my best efforts to get the patio slabs super clean. It was a warm day so the dry time on the paint was quick and I was able to get a second coat on the same afternoon. 


Patio paint on garden path

3. Allow to dry

I left the painted surface to dry fully to ensure that it wouldn't be disturbed by the tape around the stencils for the next step. I blocked off the end of the path to prevent people accidentally




4. Start stencilling

Patio stencil and paint

I had two stencils, which I alternated, and I used masking tape to secure them in place on each slab before applying the patio paint. It's really important to tape the stencil down tightly so there's no movement, as otherwise, you won't get crisp, neat lines. I used a specific stencil brush from Dizzy Duck Designs, and unlike a normal paintbrush, you don't use sweeping motions but rather a vertical, up-and-down stippling motion to apply the patio paint onto the patio slabs. I found it better not to overload the brush but to layer up the paint slowly. It's important to get good coverage of the stencilled design; otherwise, there'll be a lot of touching up to do afterwards to repair imperfections. If you make a mistake or get a smudge, simply wipe it away with a damp cloth before it has time to dry. 


5. Allow to dry 

Patio stencil and paint

Once each stencil had been painted, I carefully removed the tape around the stencil and lifted it off the slab to reveal the newly-painted design. To reduce the chance of smudging a painted slab before it has dried because the masking tape is applied to the adjacent slabs to the one you are painting (not what you want for a long-lasting finish), I didn't paint the slabs in order but rather left a gap of a slab or two and came back and filled the gap when the others had dried.  I didn't use a concrete sealer or any sealant for that matter as the exterior masonry paint is designed to be weather-proof and resistant to foot traffic. 


Can you paint paving slabs?

You can easily paint paving slaps that are in sound condition and are clean and dry. Use an exterior masonry paint or specific concrete paint and ensure the temperature isn't too cold as this will affect how the paint adheres. Apply a couple of coats to get superior coverage and consider using a stencil to get a patterned design. 


What kind of paint can be used on concrete?

Patio slabs painted

There are specific concrete paints that can be purchased from DIY and hardware stores, but exterior masonry paint is brilliant and can be colour-matched to your favourite designer hue. If you properly prepare the patio or concrete surface before painting, you won't need a separate primer or sealant either. 


What paint is best for concrete slabs?

I used Valspar exterior masonry paint and it was brilliant. It had great coverage and held up to extremes of weather and high foot traffic without any deterioration. 


If you prefer video, you can watch the reels I shared on Instagram here and here.


Where next?


Here are some other garden-related posts...


Paths & Patios


Rockery & driveway



Storage



Decking


I hope you've found some of these ideas inspiring and useful, let me know in the comments if you try any of them. Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of the page & hit the subscribe button to receive my monthly newsletter which is packed full of tutorials, updates and offers.




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