How to Make Concrete Look Like Wood

Updated March 23, 2017

The nature and texture of wood is warm and inviting. Creating the look of wood on any surface takes time and patience, but it can be done. It is created on steel doors, sheet rock walls, picture frames and any other surface that can be painted. Following certain steps, even concrete can be made to look like wood. Learn how to update concrete surfaces inside or outside your home.

Sand the surface of the concrete lightly to remove any loose sand. This will also smooth out the surface for easier painting.

Clean the concrete. Start by sweeping or wiping the concrete and then washing it thoroughly. Allow this to completely dry.

Paint the entire surface with primer. Since concrete is porous, this will seal the surface and make it easier to apply the additional paints. Again, let this completely dry.

Paint the entire surface of the concrete, using the lightest shade of paint. Since this is your base coat, it is important to make sure that the surface is completely painted. This must dry thoroughly before moving on.

Begin working with small sections. Using a paint brush or small roller, apply the next shade on to the concrete. Paint in one direction. Take the graining tool and rock it back and forth as you drag it along the wet paint. This graining tool will drag some of the paint along with it and leave the look of wood behind. Complete the entire surface using this technique. Allow this to dry.

Note at this point if the look you are going for is achieved. If a more detailed wood look is desired, take the last shade of paint and paint small sections, scattering the sections around the area. Always paint in the same direction as was done in previous steps. Using the graining comb, drag it along the wet paint to create lines in the surface. This will add another dimension to the look of wood already painted on to the concrete. Let this completely dry at least 24 hours.

Apply a clear sealer for protection with the paint roller. This will also produce a gloss finish.


Experiment in small sections to get the look that is desired before doing the entire surface. Use a cotton swab and the darkest colour of paint to create knots in the wood.


Make sure there is adequate ventilation when applying sealer. Do not try to correct minor mistakes. Wood is natural and the results of creating faux wood should also be natural.

Things You'll Need

  • Sander
  • Primer
  • Paint, 3 shades of brown
  • Sealer
  • Paint roller and tray
  • Paint brushes
  • Graining tool, rocker style
  • Graining comb
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About the Author

Based in Florida, Rosemary Rugnetta has been a freelance writer since 2007 specializing in home and garden topics and real estate/mortgage. She is a former property manager and mortgage underwriter who writes for eHow and Answerbag as well as private clients. She has completed continuing education courses in writing, construction management and design.