Once you've painted a concrete bench, upkeep is necessary to keep it from becoming an eyesore in your yard. Protect your concrete bench by periodically applying a coat of oil-based paint. Oil-based paint provides more protection than its acrylic counterparts do. Although clean up is harder, the paint offers more adhesion and longevity than standard paints. Oil-based paint is ideal for concrete surfaces in high traffic areas or exterior applications.
Tools and Supplies
Painting with oil-based paint requires certain tools and supplies specifically designed for the material. Since paintbrushes are designed for specific types of paint, you must use a paintbrush labeled for oil-based or all paints. You will also need paint thinner or mineral spirits to clean brushes, spills and your hands. Aside from the listed items above, dropcloths, roller handles, roller covers, roller trays, rags and a wire brush also come in handy.
Before painting your concrete bench, take the time to fill holes, cracks and other imperfections in its surface. Concrete fillers, patch or crack repair products are available that simplify this process. Traditional concrete repair products require mixing. They are applied using a putty knife or cement trowel. New products are available that are pre-mixed in buckets or tubes that are used with a caulk gun. Repairing any deficiencies in the bench not only enhances its appearance, but also extends its life.
Oil-based paint presents application challenges. The paint has a tendecy to sag -- developing runs on the surface -- during its application. You must be patient, apply the material sparingly and continuously recheck your work to avoid the runs. Oil-based paint can be applied with a roller or brush. The size of the bench will dictate whether you use a brush or a combination of a brush and roller to get the job done.
Unlike acrylic and latex paints, oil-based paint won't clean up with water. You must use mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean tools, surfaces and hands to remove the material. Soak brushes in the thinner for a few minutes followed by continuously stirring the solvent with the brush. After you have removed as much paint as possible with the thinner, wash it in warm, soapy water followed by a brisk stroking with a wire brush. Hang the brush or lay on a flat surface to dry. Clean drips, spatter and your hands with a rag soaked in thinner. Discard used roller covers and soiled rags responsibly.