Stained concrete is a versatile and cost-effective way to upgrade the look of your new or existing concrete slab! With it, you can add hints of color, custom graphics, and bold design accents. The stains will penetrate your concrete surface, ensuring it becomes a permanent part of the space. Likewise, it doesn’t flake off or peel away like paint might do.
You’ll find many options, Whether for an outdoor or indoor concrete floor. Today, you’ll learn more about stained concrete, including ideas to help you decide what might look good in your home!
Can You Stain Your Existing Concrete Patio?
Stains can effectively revitalize lackluster and dull surfaces with minor damage. If you have an existing slab with spalling or significant cracks, you may not want to do this job because the patchwork might show through.
However, those who stain concrete for a living will often be able to make repairs with a concrete crack filler and patches that will look almost the same.
Like wood stains, concrete stains are usually semi-transparent and are used to enhance the surface instead of hiding it. They won’t hide blemishes, cracks, and other flaws, so taking care of them first is wise. Plus, they won’t entirely mask the underlying texture or color of the surface.
In most cases, you’ll need a paint sprayer to lay the stain down evenly and other materials.
Overall, professionals recommend waiting until the concrete is four to six weeks old before staining it.
Can You Stain a Patio Yourself?
It is possible to stain concrete yourself, and the process is pretty straightforward. However, if you’ve never done it, you may want to use an acid-based stain. It’s often best, though it’s unpredictable at times. Therefore, you should test one area first, stopping at the joint if you can’t do it all at once. This will help it seem more consistent.
You’ll need the appropriate tools for the job, including a paint sprayer, paint roller, repair tools, cleaners, sealers, and more.
Types of Concrete Stains
You can select acid- or water-based stains depending on the style you want for your concrete patio. Here are the differences between the two:
Acid stains will work by penetrating the surface. They must create a chemical reaction with the concrete. The acid-based stain will lightly etch the surface so the liquid can get deeper into the material.
Once the acid stain reacts, it will become a permanent part of your concrete. It won’t peel, chip, or fade away. The palette most homeowners use is earthy tones, including soft blue-green, terra cotta, brown, and tan.
On the other hand, water-based stains are great if you wish to go beyond the drama of acid staining because there are many different hues. Most manufacturers will have dozens of colors, such as metallic tints or black and white. As with acid stains, water-based stains penetrate the concrete surface to produce a permanent color.
How to Stain a Concrete Surface
Before you apply the stain, you must prepare the surface. This includes repairing any cracks with crack sealant. Overall, concrete stains are considered translucent. Therefore, they don’t hide unwanted imperfections or color variations well.
Once you’ve fixed the cracks, clean the concrete with a concrete cleaner and a pressure washer. The pressure washer should be set at a high enough steam to remove dirt and debris without crumbling the surface. Often, this will eliminate most common stains, including organic matter, grease, oil, and dirt.
When you have a clean surface, you will:
- Apply the stain with a paint roller or paint sprayer.
- Let it cure.
- Apply a second coat. You only need a second coat if you want a darker color.
- Clean and neutralize it.
- Add a protective sealer coat.
Many homeowners find that staining concrete doesn’t create a beautiful DIY finish. Hiring a concrete staining contractor to deliver professional results is often better.
Colors for Concrete Patio Stains
You can get countless decorative effects when using a water-based or acid-based stain to spruce up the look of the concrete surface. Sometimes, choosing something simple is best, so one stain color that complements the landscape or home is ideal. Likewise, you could be daring and utilize many stain hues to create a customized look.
Natural earth tones are the most popular colors. Used alone or with other colors, they can create a beautiful look for the patio that compliments the area and your home. Those stamped concrete to look like stone or wood might prefer a more naturally-colored stain to keep the pattern realistic.
Cost of Staining a Concrete Patio
If you do the work yourself, you’ll keep the cost lower. However, the total price you pay depends on the quality of materials you buy and the size of your project. If you have a standard-sized patio, it will cost about $500 for the stain, sealant, and surface preparation materials.
However, renting the equipment you’ll need could be additional costs, such as a pressure washer and concrete paint sprayer. Overall, the cost you pay will be much lower to stain than to rip out the old patio and put in a new one.
Those who prefer to hire a professional will generally pay $2 to $4 per square foot for one color and little slab preparation.
Tips and Ideas for a Stained Concrete Patio
Here are some ideas to help you decide what concrete stain options you want:
- Set off the patio by including a stained border.
- Make the patio look like marble.
- Apply many colors of stain to look like natural stone.
- Use saw cuts and stains to make faux tile.
- Use stencils with the stain to create customized graphics.
- Use stains, concrete dyes, or an integral color to create unique decorative features.
- Bring the patio to life using an antiquing stain.
- Use a vine design to adorn the entire patio and make it pop.
Water-based Stains for Restoration
If your patio has eroded or oxidized, you may want to consider a water-based stain. Breathe new life into the patio by acid-washing your concrete and applying dark brown concrete stains around the edges and lighter browns for the main area.
Rejuvenate Your Outdoor Concrete Patio
Most homeowners stick with gray because that’s what it looks like once it’s laid. However, you can use concrete stain to make it a more inviting color.
Paint vs. Stain
When you choose to add color to the patio, remember that you can use concrete paint or stain. Concrete paint gives a bolder color and costs less. However, the stain is more permanent and will be sealed regularly.
Overall, concrete paint is only a short-term option. You’ll have to continuously sand and repaint the area to keep it looking beautiful throughout the years. If it’s an outdoor concrete patio, the paint only lasts one year!
Cleaning a Stained Concrete Patio
When it’s time to clean the patio, you should use these steps:
- Rinse away debris and dirt with a pressure washer or garden hose.
- Apply a concrete cleaner or use liquid dish soap and a stiff bristle broom to scrub it.
- Rinse the concrete floor well with a pressure washer or garden hose until you no longer see suds.
- Dry the surface fully with a leaf blower. Alternatively, let it air dry for 24 hours before sealing the concrete.
Why Work with a Professional to Stain Concrete Floors
While it can be fun to imagine yourself spending a day staining the concrete patio, it’s often more work than you initially believe. Therefore, hiring a professional to clean and apply the stain might be wise. If you’re unsure of your skills and don’t know what tools you need, consider working with Austin Innovative Concrete, Inc.
Call (512) 333-4293 to request your free estimate now! We can help you decorate your concrete with stain and so much more!