One of the most common questions our customers ask us is if we can concrete coat their outdoor patio or deck.

This makes sense since our customers want concrete floors which can withstand the midwest winters.

After all, we’re in Wisconsin – not in California.

The answer is yes – concrete coatings can be applied outside.

But in this article we’ll break down the differences between outdoor and indoor concrete coatings.

How Are Outdoor Concrete Coatings Different?

Outdoor and indoor concrete coatings differ in several key aspects due to the varying environments and functional requirements they must satisfy.

The different environments mean that the applications are slightly different to compete with the Wisconsin elements.

Here are the main differences between outdoor and indoor concrete coatings:

UV Resistance

Outdoor concrete coatings need to be UV resistant to prevent degradation from sunlight exposure. UV radiation can cause non-resistant coatings to fade, yellow, or deteriorate prematurely.

Materials like polyurethane and polyaspartic coatings are popular for outdoor use because of their UV stability.

Outdoor Concrete Coatings by a pool in Waukesha

Indoor coatings do not typically require UV resistance since they are not exposed to direct sunlight.

This allows for a wider range of materials and finishes that may be more aesthetically diverse but less resistant to UV light.

Weather Resistance

Coatings applied outdoors must withstand a variety of weather conditions, including rain, snow, ice, and extreme temperatures.

They are formulated to be more flexible, which allows them to expand and contract without cracking during temperature fluctuations.

For example, outdoor concrete coatings are formulated to create a waterproof or highly water-resistant barrier that protects the underlying concrete.

Epoxy, polyurethane, and polyaspartic coatings are popular choices for outdoor applications not only for their durability but also for their superior moisture resistance. 

These coatings seal the pores of the concrete and provide a non-porous surface that prevents water from seeping in and causing damage.

Indoor environments are more controlled and lack the harsh conditions found outdoors. 

Indoor coatings are primarily designed for durability against foot traffic and abrasion rather than weather resistance.

This is especially true for indoor garages as an example of indoor concrete coatings which are some of the most popular indoor applications.

Aesthetic Considerations

Aesthetics for outdoor coatings often involve textures or patterns that blend with outdoor landscaping and external home decor. 

porch concrete coatings
Mixed Use Patio Coating Outside Milwaukee

If you’re getting concrete coatings for outside areas like patios – it’s almost certainly going to be viewed by more people.

Therefore, you want it to look good from people walking or driving by.

You also want to make sure it’s functional beyond just looking pretty. This might include adding slip-resistant additives to enhance safety in wet conditions.

Even though there’s dozens of different coating designs to choose from, the ability for to maintain the concrete is more important outside.

Indoor concrete coatings can include a wider range of colors and more intricate designs, reflecting interior design trends and personal tastes without the need for slip resistance.

The aesthetics are less important since it has direct utility. 

Indoor vs Outdoor Concrete Coatings Maintenance

Surface preparation for outdoor coatings must address more severe flaws due to exposure to elements, including filling cracks and dealing with uneven surfaces that may have been damaged by weather.

Maintenance might also involve regular sealing to prevent water infiltration and weather damage.

Think about how snow impacts your driveway in the wintertime in Wisconsin.

The snow and rain can leak into the cracks causing corrosion – and so we have to prepare for this by adding more protection.

Indoor coatings require less intensive surface preparation, primarily focusing on cleaning and ensuring the surface is level and smooth.

Maintenance typically involves regular cleaning and occasional touch-ups for areas with high foot traffic.

Is Outdoor Concrete Coating a Good Idea for You?

Concrete coating is essential for outdoor areas, serving multiple purposes that enhance the longevity, functionality, and aesthetics of concrete surfaces.

One of the primary reasons for applying concrete coatings is to protect against harsh weather conditions. Outdoor concrete surfaces endure continuous exposure to sun, rain, snow, and fluctuating temperatures.

Sidewalk coatings
Sidewalk Concrete Coating by Excel

Coatings provide a protective barrier that not only shields the concrete from moisture and the damaging freeze-thaw cycles, which can cause cracking and chipping, but also includes UV-resistant properties to prevent color fading from prolonged sunlight exposure.

If you’re in south-eastern Wisconsin and have any questions about concrete coating you want answered, call us at (262) 993-6950.

Call: (262) 993-6950