Some of that ugliness was mildew, but mostly it was from old paint peeling off, and the concrete spalling (aka falling apart). Yes, Hubby, I used that word again. You married an engineer.
As usual, I have a plan in my head for what I would like to do as a permanent fix, but who knows if it will ever happen. After building that wall though, I just couldn't take the ugly stoop any more. About that time, the home improvement stores were running adds for the ultra thick porch/deck paint, saying that it could bring new life to worn out concrete and decking. Too good to be true? Maybe. Worth a shot? Sure. I mean, was it going to get worse than this?
I picked up one gallon of Behr's Deck Over paint in a light gray color, attempting to coordinate with the new concrete blocks, and set off to fix my ugly porch. I also grabbed a can of black spray paint and gave the railing a fresh coat of paint while I was at it.
The first step was to give the whole surface a good wash, and try to get all of the loose pieces of concrete off. This is pretty much impossible, but loose pieces are only going to fall of later and mess up the coating, so I did what I could. Then, I took some concrete patch/filler and filled in the worst areas.
Finally, I coated the porch in the Deck Over paint, following the instructions pretty carefully (rare moment around here). The paint requires two coats, and is more like the consistency of brownie batter than paint. It took most of the gallon to cover my porch and steps. It really is more of a coating than a paint, and so it smooths out a lot of the rough surface on the concrete. After I was finished, here's what we had:
Not bad, huh? I mean, it's still concrete, but at least it looks fresh and clean. I was much happier to walk up to this at the end of the day than the cracked, mildew covered nastiness that was there before.
So, here we are, about 8 months later. How did we like it and how did it hold up?
First, dirt does not come off of this thing easily. Rain does not wash it clean, and neither does a spray down with the hose. I had to get out a scrub brush and cleaner to get the dirt off of the porch! I thought that was a little weird.
Second, it could not withstand the snow shovel. I didn't really expect it to, but there wasn't really anything else we could do with two feet of snow! It was pretty quick to peel with any shoveling, which is something to consider depending on where you plan to use it.
Here's how it looks today:
It has chipped in many places, and dirt has settled in, especially since it has been raining constantly for the last 6 weeks.
So, to recap, before:
Immediately after painting:
And one year later:
I really wanted to photograph this when the sun was shining, but since that just isn't happening these days, we'll have to deal with the 'one year later' photo being extra dreary... sorry about that!
Anyway, if you are thinking about painting a concrete surface, I hope this helps you to decide if it's worth it. It definitely looks better than it did, but i'm not sure it's looks great. Maybe in an area with a little less abuse, it might work a little better?