What Paint Do You Use for a Concrete Water Fountain?

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A popular building material long before the Romans used it to construct the Pantheon, completed in 126 to 128 A.D., concrete has been universally lauded for its ability to stand up to the elements. Unlike its ancient counterpart (a formula consisting of volcanic rock fragments, volcanic ash, and lime), modern concrete is typically made of a mixture of Portland cement, water, and aggregate (such as gravel, sand, or crushed rock). A true champ against harsh sun, strong winds, pelting rain, and freezing temperatures, it's no wonder concrete is a favorite substance for manufacturing fountains and other outdoor water features, such as birdbaths, waterfalls, and rock ponds.

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As tough and durable as concrete is, it's been known to break down over time. An excellent way to restore a concrete water fountain to its former glory is to apply a fresh coat of paint. Not only will this revitalize the look of the fountain, but it also can protect it from future damage. Here are the types of paint you can use on a concrete water fountain.

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Latex/Acrylic Paint

If you have a concrete fountain that's purely decorative (and therefore doesn't need to repel water), then latex paint is a perfect choice. Not only is it affordable and easy to work with, but it's also low-odor, cleans up with soap and water, dries fast, and can be tinted in a variety of colors to complement any backyard decor. If you want to give latex paint an extra layer of protection, simply apply a topcoat or two of clear polyurethane.

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Alkyd/Oil-Based Paint

Obviously, a working concrete fountain is in constant contact with water that is splashing and gurgling day in and day out. Oil-based (alkyd) paint is a more durable option that does a good job of resisting moisture and humidity. Standing up to the wear and tear from knocks and scuffs, oil-based paint blocks stains and dries to a hard finish.

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Concrete or Masonry Paint

Concrete paint (often sold as garage floor, masonry, or pool deck paint) is formulated for high-traffic areas that also need to be highly water-resistant. Providing good coverage, concrete paint hides cracks and imperfections that regular paint can't. Many brands on the market require the concrete to be sealed or primed first in order to create an adequate "tooth" to which paint can adhere.

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Stain for Concrete

Because of concrete's highly porous nature, a concrete stain is an excellent alternative for giving your water fountain a decidedly antique patina with lots of texture and depth. Also, because concrete stain doesn't lie on top of the surface the way paint does, it's less likely to chip and scrape off.

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