What Spray Paint Do I Use on an Outdoor Concrete Statue?

Spray paints and stains are handy for a variety of painted effects on concrete statues. You can use aerosol spray cans for solid coloring or creating shadows under details or providing a base coat for multilayer treatments. Most exterior spray paints adhere well to clean, unfinished concrete, and you can add a finishing coat of clear enamel to provide a glossy sheen, if desired.

Just the Basics

You won't find many spray paints specifically designed for concrete, but that's ok. You can't go wrong if you use an acrylic latex paint rated for exterior work. On clean, bare concrete, the paint will soak into the pores to form a strong bond. Once your initial coat is done, you can spray on additional layers for coloring or accenting. You can also use spray paint for dry-brushing over the base coat.

Concrete Stain

Another option for coloring concrete is an aerosol concrete stain. These water-based formulas are similar to conventional spray paint but offer more transparency to mimic the finished look of acid-stained concrete. This effect works best over plain concrete, but you can also apply spray stains over previously stained surfaces for additional color.

Regular Paint Works, Too

Aerosol spray paint is great for concrete statues because it's thin and can be applied in very fine layers, so it doesn't muddle delicate details. You can achieve similar results using standard house paint thinned with water. As with sprays, choose an exterior acrylic latex paint rated for outdoor applications. Thin the paint about 50/50 with water and apply a base coat with a brush. It also helps to wet the concrete before applying the paint. After the base coat has dried, you can add details or accents in another color or add a dry-brush finish.

Things You Should Know

A few tips can help you get the maximum life from the paint you use.

  • Your statue may be brand new, and if so, wait at least 1 month before painting it. If the concrete is still green when you paint it, the paint won't adhere.
  • Your statue must be washed and cleaned well before painting, but avoid using soap, which may interfere with paint adhesion, Instead, wash with clear water, scrubbing off dirt, moss or algae with a scrub brush. Let the statue dry completely before painting it.
  • You can add shine to your project by sealing it with non-yellowing acrylic enamel topcoat sealer .
  • Avoid painting the underside of the base. Leaving it unpainted allows the concrete to breathe and prevents moisture from being trapped inside the concrete.
  • You should set your statue on a pedestal after the paint is dry; if you set it on the ground, moisture can wick up into the concrete and cause the paint to flake off.
  • If your statue has been previously painted and/or sealed, follow the spray paint manufacturer's recommendations for prepping the concrete surface. Sealed or painted concrete may not bond well with some spray paints.