How Long to Wait After Etching Concrete Before Painting?

After etching your concrete, you might be wondering when you can begin to paint. After all – this is the exciting part. However, doing it too soon can result in peeling paint and a disappointing remodel.

Generally, you can paint concrete 24 hours after it has been etched. This allows all the cleaners, water, and acids to completely evaporate.

How Long Does Concrete Etch Sit?

After applying the concrete etch, you usually wait 10-15 minutes before beginning the removal process. This varies by product, so check with the manufacturer. After the product has been thoroughly rinsed off, you need to wait for the surface to fully dry before painting. During this time, you can check to make sure it is etched well enough.

If you don’t know a lot about etching concrete read our full guide here

How Can You Tell if Concrete is Etched Enough?

Concrete is thoroughly etched if it has a sandpaper consistency to the touch. Specifically, anything between a 120-grit and 150-grit sandpaper is sufficient for sealing, painting, and staining. If your concrete is too smooth, then the paint or sealant will not properly adhere. If it is too rough, this will be uncomfortable on the feet and dull the finish. Remember, it is always easier to etch it further than to etch it less!

How Long to Wait After Etching Concrete Before Applying Epoxy, Paint or Stain?

Worker Applying Epoxy on Concrete Flooring

Before applying anything to the concrete, you want it fully dry. Depending on humidity, temperature, and ventilation, this can vary. Usually, it takes about 24 hours. In very cold and/or humid climates this may take longer. I would ere on the side of caution. If your concrete is not drying well, additional ventilation (opening windows, fans, etc.) can speed up the process. This step is very important, so don’t skimp on it!

Does the Etching Product Used Change How Long You Should Wait?

Some etching products contain additional ingredients, but this shouldn’t change the wait time very much. If in doubt, wait until the color of the concrete has completely returned to normal since damp concrete is darker in color.

What Happens If I Paint Too Soon After Etching?

If you do not wait long enough between etching and painting, moisture from the etching process will still be trapped in the concrete. This will then become trapped beneath the paint layer, and it can’t evaporate off. Trapped moisture is not good for paint, and leads to mildew, peeling, and bubbling. Essentially, painting too soon will ruin your paintjob.

What Do I Do if I Painted Too Soon After Etching?

If you think you painted too soon after etching, the only thing you can do is scrap all the paint off and start over. As soon as peeling begins, it will only worsen, and there’s no saving it. Once you’ve removed all the paint, clean it again, and give it plenty of time to dry out this time.

How Long After Painting Concrete Can You Seal it?

Once you have painted the concrete, you will need to wait for it to dry before sealing. Like with the etching step, getting the paint fully dry is important to the integrity of the seal. You can use a touch test to check for tackiness, but most paints will dry in 8-10 hours. My rule of thumb is to leave the paint overnight, and seal in the morning.

Other FAQ about Painting Concrete

Here are some other commonly asked questions about painting concrete. Make sure to check out our other articles on the subject for more information.

Can You Etch New Concrete?

Etching new concrete is very possible, in fact it is highly recommended before painting or sealing. However, you must wait until it is fully cured before you do so, which takes about a month.

How Long to Wait After New Concrete is Poured Can You Begin Etching?

Concrete takes about a month to cure. You should wait at least 21 days after pouring before you attempt to etch it.

How Long Does Concrete Sealer Take to Dry?

Concrete sealer can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 72 hours to dry depending on the type. Some types of concrete sealer will continue to cure even after dry for up to 90 days.

Final Thoughts

Overall, refinishing concrete is not a difficult process. It is mostly a game of patience. Waiting for each step to properly dry and cure is the most important thing you can do. In the case of etching, you shouldn’t do anything else to the concrete for 24 hours afterward.

All the solvent, acid, and water need to evaporate before you apply paint, epoxy, or sealer. If you don’t wait long enough, this moisture will become trapped underneath the new layer and ruin the finish.

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