Concrete stain is an excellent way to renew an old patio or add vibrant color to one that is newly built. While many homeowners choose to have a professional apply concrete stain for them, you can save money and have a DIY project to be proud of by staining it yourself. Here is a simple four-step method you can use to stain any patio.
Prepare the Patio
If you do not thoroughly clean your patio and remove obstructing weeds and grass, the stain will not be applied to every part of your patio evenly and there will be blotches in the patio color. Begin preparing your patio by using a string trimmer to cut the grass around the edges of the patio as low as possible. Pull up any weeds that have grown through cracks in the patio, and use a wide broom to sweep away dust and dirt.
After you have swept and weeded the patio, use a concrete cleaner to remove stains and ground-in soil. There are several different types of concrete cleaner to choose from, though many homeowners choose acidic or oxidizing cleaners for affordable and effective concrete staining preparation. Dilute the cleaner with water, pour it directly onto your patio, and allow it to sit for the manufacturer-recommended time before scrubbing the patio with a broom.
Rinse away the cleaner with a pressurized hose and allow your patio to dry completely. When the patio is dry, tape plastic film along your home's siding next to the patio for protection. You are now ready to choose and apply a stain.
Choose a Concrete Stain
Concrete stain is either acid-based or water-based, and both types will produce very different results. The first question you should answer about your desired stain color is what opacity level you need. Both acid- and water-based stains offer a range of opacity, although water-based stains are typically better at achieving a translucent appearance where the texture of the concrete is still very visible. Acid-based stains are usually the best option if you want very opaque color.
Consistency is another key difference between acid- and water-based stains. Acid-based stains use a chemical reaction process to bond to the upper layer of your patio. Because the specific concentration of minerals in your patio surface can vary slightly, different sections of the patio may be lighter or darker in color. Water-based stains simply fill pores in concrete and solidify, creating more uniform color with less visually interesting variation.
Spray the Concrete Stain
Both types of concrete stain can be applied using a plastic garden sprayer. Start in a corner of the patio and apply the stain in slow, sweeping arcs or small circular motions. Hold the nozzle of the sprayer around waist-level so that there is no splashing but you are able to cover a wide area at one time.
Set a deliberate pace, generously applying stain to every section of your patio so that it is coated thoroughly but the stain is not puddling. Follow the stain manufacturer's instructions for how long the stain needs to dry, and then add a second coat.
Apply the Sealer
After the second coat of stain has dried overnight, you should apply a sealer to prevent the stain from fading. Coat your patio evenly with sealer using a paint roller, allow the sealer to dry, and apply a second coat. Your patio will now have a durable layer of color that can last a lifetime if you repeat the cleaning and sealing process every two to three years.
Staining a patio is an easy weekend project to add beauty and interest to your home's exterior. Use these steps to create the perfect stained patio for your home. You can also have your concrete sealed and stained professionally by a concrete resurfacing company if you would rather.