Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

October, 2004

Painting a concrete parking structure

Q. We have a 32 year old parking structure that has a clearance of 6'6". It is constructued of precast tees with flanges that drop about 2 feet every 4 feet. This low clearance and design causes an excess amount of electrical driven "down" lighting. We would like to paint the underside surfaces with a reflective material to help illuminate this parkade. The surface to be receive the reflective material is cement. Could you advise me or point me in a direction regarding this issue?

As with any coating application job, the surface must be very clean free from any dirt, grease, oil or mold release agent that may be present from the construction and forming of the concrete, in order for the paint to adhere well to the surface. Use a good strong detergent to remove any of these surface contaminates. Clean the surface well by using a strong detergent solution and a pressure washer, use a "push broom" or something that has good, stiff bristles to help loosen any stubborn dirt or grease. Follow up with a high pressure, clean water rinse and allow the surface ample time to dry.

After the surface has been allowed to completely dry, apply a high quality concrete coating product for your specific application. Visit your local specialty paint supplier, explain your intentions and desires, they should be able to provide you with coating products and application recommendations to fit your requirements.

When preparing any surface for the application of paints or coatings, be certain to take precautions to protect against breathing in any air borne dust or debris that may be created by the prep work.

Please be aware that paints, coatings and solvents are chemicals and therefore you should always pay close attention to proper handling procedures and be prepared to wear protective clothing, such as respirators, gloves, coveralls, etc. For further information on the health and safety requirements for the coatings and solvents you wish to use we strongly
advised you to contact your local coating supplier. If possible, go the extra step and look for this information on the
website of the product vendor.


Jim Burke

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