This is my Behr Premium Granite Grip review, based on my personal experiences as a DIYer. I used this slip-resistant and decorative concrete finish to cover 650 square feet of outdoor living space.
My honest observations are my own, and I did not receive compensation or free products for this review. All I am is a typical DIYer who prepped the concrete surface, applied the product, and dealt with problems as they arose.
I removed outdoor carpet and adhesive
The big problem I had was what to figure out what to do with the bare concrete. The unfinished concrete made an uninviting outdoor living area.
For the last 45 years, it had been covered with green and tan outdoor carpet. After many decades, the carpet looked terrible. When it rained, it got wet and stayed wet. The fibers collected dust and pollen.
The carpet was a horrible mess that seemed to always be dirty and was difficult to clean. It had to go.
Remove carpet and grind adhesive
I yanked the outdoor carpet up in sections, and threw it in the trash.
When it was gone, I saw the concrete surface underneath was covered with tough carpet adhesive. Whether I’d lay tile or another decorative floor covering on the concrete, I knew the adhesive had to go, too.
Hours of grinding
I literally spent hours using a really nice Dewalt angle grinder to remove the adhesive. As the grinding wheel got warm, the carpet adhesive would get sticky. It gummed up the cutting head.
After at least an hour cool-down, I meticulously cleaned the diamond cup grinding wheel. Then, I repeated the process.
It was a lot of work, but finally I was able to remove all the old, sticky carpet adhesive. In addition, the concrete surface got roughed up a little.
The rough concrete surface turned out to be a good thing. If I were to tile, I knew mortar would need a rough surface for the best grip.
Nobody wanted to lay my tile
I called a few reputable tile setters, and they came over to give me a quote. When they saw the condition of my concrete pads in my outdoor living area, they all recommended that I do not get tile installed.
What is slab heave?
The tile setters cited various problems, all of which seemed to revolve around slab heave. They pointed out the cracks on a few of my slabs. In addition, one slab was slightly higher than the slab it butted up against.
Slab heave, they patiently explained, is especially prevalent in areas with clay soils. Here in southern Arizona, clay-based soil is common.
The clay absorbs water when it rains, and dries out unevenly during periods of drought. As the moisture varies in the clay-based soil, it can shift slabs just enough to crack them or heave them up. That’s slab heave.
The pros recommended a decorative concrete finish
Instead of getting my outdoor living area covered with tile, the tile pros recommended I pay someone to cover my concrete slabs with a flexible and decorative concrete finish.
The cost would be much less than laying tile on my shifting slabs. They recommended various decorative finishes, including the Behr Premium Granite Grip.
Best of all, the experienced tile pros hinted that I might be able to do this job myself.
How to apply Behr Premium Granite Grip
I went to Home Depot and bought two 5-gallon cans of Behr Premium Granite Grip. It was expensive stuff, but was a little less expensive than competing brands.
While I was there, I also bought two gallons of a clean-and-etch product, along with two adhesive roller covers with a 1/4 inch nap. I was ready to begin my preparation and application.
1. Clean and etch concrete surface
The first step, and maybe the most important step, is proper preparation of the surface. As I noted above, I had already removed the cruddy outdoor carpet. Then, I used a grinder to remove the adhesive and roughen up the concrete surface.
— Use caution when etching concrete
Before applying the Granite Grip, I also cleaned and etched the concrete surface. To do that, I bought a premixed clean-and-etch product (right click > open in new tab ).
To protect my skin and eyes from possible acid burns, I wore eye goggles. I also had an instant source of water to wash if any acid splashed onto my skin (I did have some diluted acid splash on my forearm).
— Follow directions
Unfortunately, that commercially available product did almost nothing to etch my concrete surface. Then, I read that muriatic acid does a better job etching concrete, and is much less expensive.
— Muriatic acid
While I used the muriatic acid, I followed the same safety procedures. I mixed half-a-gallon of muriatic acid into half-a-gallon of water.
Always add the acid into the water, and pour slowly. Some diluted acid did splash on my left forearm, but I quickly washed it off with my water source. It had made a red mark on my skin that went away after an hour.
Without running water, the diluted acid might have a left a scar.
After following directions and using the muriatic acid on my concrete surfaces, it was properly etched. The concrete surface felt like 120-to-150 grit sandpaper.
There were a few areas that didn’t feel gritty enough to me, so I repeated the process in those areas. By taking the time to properly prepare your surface, I hoped to eliminate problems later on.
2. Cut in edges, fill in hairline cracks
Next, I used a regular paint brush and applied the Granite Grip to the edges, trim, and hairline cracks that were 1/8-of-an-inch or less. I even did the vertical edging around the pad’s perimeter.
It’s important to apply only a thin first coat. After I was finished, I wrapped my brush in a regular plastic shopping bag. The next morning, my brush was ready to apply a second coat without any rinsing.
3. Apply first coat with roller
When I applied my first coat of Granite Grip, I used an inexpensive roller cover that was specially made for adhesives. It had a 1/4 inch nap.
— Apply all coats when temps are 50 to 90 degrees
The manufacturer recommended applying Granite Grip when temperatures are in the 50-to-90 degree range. As I rolled out the product, I did notice it became less easy to work with as the temperatures crept into the 80’s.
Since I live in Phoenix, Arizona, it was important I get the job done before temperatures approached triple digits. Luckily, I finished just in time, because temperatures hit the upper 90’s and never looked back.
— Use pressure on the roller for the base coat
The adhesive roller cover really did a nice job of spreading the Granite Grip over the concrete. I dipped the roller into the 5 gallon can, and used pressure to roll it into the crevices of the etched concrete.
In addition, I changed the direction as I rolled. It was similar to the way I would brush in different directions while painting a wall with regular paint.
— Use light coverage for the first coat
Even though the first coat will not look very attractive, it’s important to only apply a light coat. The solution will bind to the crevices in the etched concrete and provide a good base for subsequent coats.
In my case, the first coat felt dry within an hour or less. However, to be sure it cured enough, I allowed it to dry 24 hours before I started with the second coat.
— Wrap roller in plastic overnight
Instead of washing the roller after the first coat, I wrapped it tightly in a plastic bag. The next morning, the roller nap was nice and flexible. None of the solution had dried overnight, so the roller was ready to go the next morning.
4. Apply 2nd and 3rd coats
The second coat was much less exhausting to apply — I didn’t have to use as much pressure to roll the Granite Grip around.
— Do not apply in direct sunlight
Because I was in a hurry to finish the job, I made a mistake in my application. I rolled on some of the second and third coats in direct afternoon sunlight.
That direct sunlight might have been the cause of bubbles which appeared in two areas. Thankfully, the bubbles were pretty easy to correct (please read the “Mistakes I made” section below).
The lesson I learned the hard way was: do not apply decorative concrete finishes in direct sunlight. As far as I know, that’s true for any decorative outdoor concrete finish.
The pros told me I should have used a spray gun for a faster application
Mistakes I made
Part of my Behr Premium Granite Grip review includes mistakes I made.
Even though I did my best to research best practices for applying this product, I still made mistakes. Thankfully, my mistakes weren’t big enough to ruin the final outcome.
— I used an expensive clean-and-etch product
One mistake was when I used an expensive clean-and-etch preparation to etch my concrete.
It was a premixed solution that did practically nothing to etch the concrete. However, it did clean some of the old stains off nicely.
After wasting my time with the clean-and-etch, I discovered that muriatic acid would do a much better job of etching concrete. I bought two gallons for less than $10 at Walmart. It was in the pool supplies section.
The next day I had much greater success using the muriatic acid to properly etch the concrete.
— I applied second, third coats in direct sunlight
Another mistake I made was applying some of the decorative concrete finish in direct sunlight.
While I applied the second coat, I was in a hurry to finish for the day. The second coat really was making it look much better, so you can understand my excitement to finish.
My mistake was applying the coats in direct sunlight on the western side of my porch. I noticed that the Granite Grip was getting a little tacky, and it did not roll on as smoothly.
Later, I noticed a few bubbles in that area. I would bet that applying the second and third coats in direct sunlight in that area was the cause of the bubbles.
So, the lesson I learned was, do not apply decorative concrete finishes in direct sunlight.
photo by Doug Martin
Other common mistakes
Other than the mistakes I made that I listed above, there might be other common errors that DIYers like myself could do to cause problems. Here are some of those mistakes, along with their possible solutions.
— Not prepping the concrete surface
A big cause of many painting projects, especially when it’s done on concrete, is to not prep the surface. Without a properly etched concrete surface, Granite Grip might not adhere properly.
I took a lot of time and work to prep my concrete surfaces. In fact, it was a lot of work. Was it worth it? Well, I hope that the time I took to prep the surfaces will make my decorative concrete finish last for decades.
— Applying a thick first coat
Don’t apply thick coats, especially when laying the base coat. As I was doing my first coat, it was looking terrible. I was very tempted to apply a thicker coat.
However, a thick base coat might not have cured properly, and it also might not have gripped the etched concrete properly.
Even on my second, third, and fourth coats, I kept them thin. Sure, it’s a lot more work and a lot more time to only apply thin coats, but the finished product looks good and will last a long time.
— Two coats are not enough
After the second coat, my decorative concrete finishing project was looking much better. In fact, it was looking so good that I started doing the sidewalk leading up to my front door.
However, only two coats still had an uneven texture and appearance. Three coats looked a little better, but was still a little uneven.
After the fourth coat, I looked at my decorative concrete finishing project and thought, “Wow, this is nice!” And it was nice. It made my outdoor living area look inviting and attractive.
— Preparation was a lot of work
When I was doing all the prep work, I almost gave up because it was so much work. Grinding was the worst DIY job I had ever done. I hated it!
Etching the concrete was also a lot of work. Plus, I kept wondering if I had etched the concrete enough for the finish I was about to apply. I kept wondering if I should do more.
I guess part of my apprehension about the prep work was due to my lack of experience. After all, I had never applied a decorative concrete finish before, and I had never etched concrete. My lack of experience made the whole preparation process difficult for me.
— Four coats is a minimum
Based on my experience, four coats of the Behr Premium Granite Grip is a minimum. I might even try a fifth coat and see if it looks even more luxurious. On my follow-up posts, I’ll let you know the results if I try a fifth coat.
— Clean-up is easy
Applying the Bear Premium Concrete Grip was not a very messy process.
For me, painting can sometimes be messy. I was surprised that very little of this product splashed on my skin or clothing.
Of course, I did get a little on my hands. To clean up, I only rubbed Jergens Ultra Healing Moisturizer on my hands for a few minutes. Then, I wiped all the residue off with a paper towel. Clean-up was so easy.
Once I was finished with the brush and the roller, I just threw them away. If I need to do touch-ups in the future, I’ll just use a clean brush that I have in the garage.
My final verdict
My Behr Premium Granite Grip review
While the preparation was a lot of work, it was totally worth it. My outdoor living area, which used to look so uninviting and ugly, now looks warm and appealing.
I still don’t know how durable this decorative concrete finish will be, but I have high hopes. My wish is that it lasts two decades with only minor touch-ups.
But, will it make it? Will it stand up to the extreme southwest summer heat? And, will it withstand torrential monsoonal rains?
I don’t know the answer to those questions, but when those events happen, I will post updates.
Based on my experiences so far, I’d recommend you try the Behr Premium Granite Grip for your outdoor concrete living areas.
Read my 4-week follow-up review of my Granite Grip application.
Included are the problems I encountered in those four weeks, and some of the possible solutions I used.
Please share your experiences with Behr Premium Granite Grip in the comments section below. If you have specific questions about applying the product, please do not ask me. I’m only a humble DIYer and this was my only experience with Granite Grip.
However, I can answer questions about the steps I took for my preparation and application process. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that what I did was completely correct and would work for you.
All the best, and I look forward to reading your experiences.
By Doug Martin, Opportunity Muse.
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by Doug Martin and Opportunity Muse.
All rights reserved.
by Doug Martin and Opportunity Muse.
All rights reserved.