Right Kind Of Paint To Use For Concrete Water Fountain?

I Want To Daub Paint A Concrete Water Fountain …

I received this email from Steve who asked:

Hi you have a great web site. I am planning on daubing/painting a large water fountain. Can you tell me what kind of paint I should use. The fountain is made of concrete. And what method would you use for this project. Thanks Steve

My reply:

Hi Steve:
Thank you for contacting me and for the kind compliment. I do try to “over deliver” information for my visitors.

About painting your water fountain, I can offer some helpful hints, with these two being VERY important:

   -Make sure that the concrete is DRY before you even think of picking up a brush!! One little bit of moisture in the concrete will cause the paint to peel on-up-the-road; and
   -You can use latex paints or oil-based paints and even stains.

**For the best all-inclusive info I can offer you, please go to this page on my website Colorant Guides and look about half-way down for the 3rd content box that says “Read the Colorant Guides”. Click on the PDF icon to open up the guides.

Refer to the 2nd page of the PDF guide and you’ll have every question answered about all the ins and outs of the different way to color concrete. Feel free to print out a copy for yourself.

As far as the method of application … what kind of “look” are you trying to achieve?? (You didn’t say.) A mottled effect? (then sure you could just daub on color with an old sponge or even a wadded up rag); or your could use a brush to daub on layers of color; or do you want it to look like marble? … then refer to this webpage: Faux Verdigris Painted Technique

If you just want a solid color, then I’d probably just brush on the color.

Don’t forget to allow your painted or stained technique to dry well; then apply at least 3 top coats of clear finish to help protect the paint and to help make it last longer and let it dry thoroughly, and then you should be “good to go”!!  🙂

I hope this helps you. If you have more detailed questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me again. I wish you lots of luck with this project!!


  1. Tony Henry says:

    You refer to 3 coats of clear finish to be applied after painting. Which clear finish best protects the paint?

  2. Claudia says:

    Hi Tony:
    In most cases I personally like to use the Krylon clear spray paints (they are acrylic). However, depending upon the type of paint you used to add color to your item, perhaps a polyurethane or even a marine varnish would work and/or be more appropriate. But for most of us, I’d wager to say a polyurethane or acylic product would be just fine.

  3. You refer to 3 coats of clear finish to be applied after painting. Which clear finish best protects the paint?

  4. Hi: Perhaps this blog post will give you the some answers http://www.the-artistic-garden.com/blog/whats-a-good-sealant-for-a-bird-bath/

    And don’t forget to use the search function on my blog – this will usually help find other posts that just may provide the answer you’re looking for. 😉

  5. It seems like everything I have used as a top coat turns white after about 4 days of being under water, on my concrete leaf birdbaths. I’ve used shellac, behr wet look sealer, and groute sealer, wood stain. I have read others ideas on painting these birdbaths, and these are some of the idea’s others have used. I’ve put so much into making the leaves strong and beautiful, which means nothing if I can’t keep the color I’ve painted it sealed.

  6. Lorena Cheney says:

    My concrete water fountain is disentrigating before my eyes. I can see strings of fiberglass sticking out all over the top bowl. My husband power washes the fountain periodically to get it clean and it is looking worse and worse. How can I fill in all the crevices and give it an overall smooth appearance again, like when it was new. The bottom bowl has not flaked and still looks good (just faded from outdoor exposure).

  7. Lorena:

    This won’t be a quick ‘n easy repair project, but it may be doable. Since I’m not actually there to see the true condition of your fountain, I can only suggest you either try uring a premixed concrete repair compound or mix up a batch of fresh concrete that you’ve adding a bonding agent into. I’ve written about bonding agents here: Hypertufa & Concrete Bonding Agents.

    You’ll also have to prep the fountain – remove all flakes, etc. You may have to singe off the fiberglass fibers with a blow torch. And you’ll need to moisten and paint on bonding agent onto the fountain before adding your haomemade batch of concrete or if using a premix follow the preparation instructions.

    Also … perhaps that power washer cleaning technique isn’t the best idea for your older fountain. I think I’d discourage your husband from using it again if you’re able to repair it.

    Good luck! 😉

  8. I have a black solid stone fountain. I do not know the name if the stone, but it is not concrete and I want to learn how to care for it. Any ideas?

  9. Leticia:
    I really can’t offer much help as #1) you don’t know the exact type of stone; #2) depending upon your climate, i.e. does it get cold and frigid or are you living somewhere hot and humid?; does the water run 24/7?; what type of mineralization is in the water pumping through the fountain; etc. etc.

    I would ask the folks you purchased it from for care instructions. 🙂 Or, try and research the type of stone and then do online searches to find out how to care for it in your particular circumstance.

  10. Carol Blevins says:

    I’m looking for the color “Antique Rust” which was the original finish on our cement fountain. Do you have any resources? We have looked at Home
    Depot, Ace, and nurseries with fountains. Thanks for any help you can give.

  11. Claudia says:

    Hi Carol:
    I would try to replicate the color – meaning get a couple of colors within the same color-family, and perhaps some brown, black and white paint. And then begin to mix them to achieve the original color. Obviously you’ll want to do this in a small batch of paint, keeping track of how much of each color you add in to get the final matched color result.

    Or … follow the instructions for a technique such as my Daubing Technique to produce a new coloration on your fountain, but using the color variations closest to what’s already on there. Good luck!

  12. This is extremely important if the intention is to apply 100% solids epoxy or poylurethane sealers which are usually applied with a roller. This is an inexpensive task that can be done in a weekend, and it will give your home a fresh, new feel. Tiles are available in different patterns, varieties, and designs.

  13. is there anything to colour water in an outside water fountain

  14. Claudia Brownlie says:

    Keith: You could use any type of non-toxic colorant suitable for fountains. There might be commercially sold options or I am sure you could use food coloring or something similar However I would certainly be cautious about what you add into the water as depending upon the type of material your fountain is made from, any coloring agent could end up staining the fountain forever. Have you searched online for colorants for fountains? Try that, too. Good luck! 🙂

  15. I have a plastic floor fountain that I recently spray painted same color to spruce it up. Now the water doesn’t flow right. I use to get a nice even flow all the way down but now the water clumps together like Mercury. Someone said maybe there was some kind of elextrical charge with the old paint. I have now tried rubbing it with a fabric softener sheet, electrical tape at the top, rubbing alcohol, Vaseline, and sanding it. My husband said try putting some kind of gloss on it. Before I try that are there any suggestions?

  16. Claudia Brownlie says:

    Hi Carrie: Sorry you are having the water-flow problem, but I have no clue what might be going on. There just isn’t enough information for me to go on – I’d have to see the exact type of paint you used; how you applied it; how long you let it dry; etc., etc. But I would NOT use Vaseline or any other greasy type lubricant to try and help the water flow – the grease will get into the pump motor and could clog it up, not to mention you will have an oily residue floating on the water’s surface. Sanding it and/or using a polyurethane clear gloss spray “might” help. I’ve no clue as I’ve never encountered the type of problem you’re describing. Best of luck in figuring out the problem.

  17. I just bought a used water fountain and want to paint it a terra cotta color? I have read that you recommend oil based paint or latex paints and then seal it but my question is that if I paint the inside of the fountain the water won’t peel it? I went to homedepot and asked them the same question and they told me to use pool paint but unfortunately it only comes in a few colors and not terra cotta:(. Please I need some advice

  18. Claudia Brownlie says:

    Hi Rosa: Well, if you ask a number of people for their recommendations, you’ll likely get a number of different answers! LOL But that being said, I will wager the H-Depot salesperson hasn’t had experience in painting many, if any, decorative items that will be used outdoors. And when you mentioned water – well they could only think to tell you “pool paint.” But of course, you need to trust the information you feel most comfortable with. But you asked me, so I’ll try to help …

    Yes – you certainly can use oil or latex paint for the inside and outside. And yes, I can speak from experience that if all surfaces are PREPPED CORRECTLY BEFORE you even put a stroke of paint on them, you should have success. If the water causes the paint to peel or blister over time, then (again from what I’ve learned myself) it is probably because you either painted on the fountain when the surface wasn’t completely dry, and/or you didn’t prep the surface well enough. You might need to take a wire brush or other stiff brush to “scrub” the surfaces to get rid of any dirt, little loose pieces of concrete (if it’s made from concrete), and things like that. If you don’t prep it properly, then you will likely get some level of peeling on-up-the-road.

    And MAKE SURE to apply 2, or better 3, coats of clear sealer. A polyurethane will work. Just make sure the coats of your colored paint have dried thoroughly. Don’t rush this project. Patience will serve you well in the long run!

    But remember, nothing will last forever outdoors. Over time, even the best paint jobs may start to bubble, chip or peel. If so, then just prep it as mentioned above and give your fountain a fresh coat(s) of paint and seal again. Have fun and if you find you don’t like the terra cotta color – then start over. After all, it’s only paint! Good luck. 🙂

  19. Hi,
    Please. Suggest me the best colours paints for fibre fountains.

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