Painting outdoor concrete statues can give any yard or front lawn a distinct flair, and also color coordinate with accents on a home. However, there are a few ways to make sure that outdoor concrete statues are painted with the right paint so that colors can remain vibrant regardless of the weather.
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 and to make sure the paint stays put on the concrete.
Just the Basics
You won't find many spray paints specifically designed for concrete, but that's okay. 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.
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 if it's thinned with water. As with sprays, choose an exterior acrylic latex paint rated for outdoor applications. Thin the paint to a ratio of one part paint and one part 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. It's also recommended to add a top coat to either change the finish or to ensure the longevity of the color on the concrete statue.
Things You Should Know
To get the most out of the paint job, there are a few things to keep in mind. One of them being that if the concrete statue is brand new, it's best to wait at least a month before attempting to paint it. If it's still very new, the paint won't adhere to the statue. The statue must also be washed and cleaned before painting, however avoid using soap because it may interfere with paint adhesion. The best way to clean it is to wash with clean water and then scrubbing off any dirt, moss, or algae with a stiff brush. Be sure to let the statue dry completely before painting it.
To protect the paint, seal it with a layer of non-yellowing acrylic enamel topcoat sealer. Avoid painting the underside of the base because it allows the concrete to breathe and prevents moisture from being trapped inside of the concrete. When the statue is drying, set it on a pedestal. If it's set on the ground while drying, moisture can wick up into the concrete and make the paint flake off after some time.
If your statue has already been painted and/or sealed, follow the spray paint manufacturer's recommendations for prepping the concrete surface. Painted or sealed concrete may not bond well with some spray paints so try to sand blast the statue, manually sand it, or use a chemical stripper to remove the seal. Once most of the seal is gone, it will be easier to add a new coat of paint to the concrete statue.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.