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DO YOU HAVE UGLY CONCRETE?

Make the ordinary... extraordinary

Concrete stain is a fast, simple way to turn your dull gray patio into a lively, colorful surface that will make your outdoor space more inviting. The stain is nearly foolproof to apply—just wet the concrete and spray on the stain. If you’re not happy with the result, you can go back and apply a second or third coat to enhance the color.

In this story, we’ll show you how to apply the stain, including ideas for mixing stains to create a unique, multicolored surface that looks like marble. You’ll save a substantial amount of money by doing it yourself, and you won’t need any special tools—just basic painting tools and rain-free weather. If you’re cutting kerfs into the concrete, you’ll need a diamond masonry blade for your circular saw.

You can apply the stain over worn concrete, but don’t expect a miracle. You’ll still be able to see the old appearance through the stain. And avoid staining spalling concrete. The stain will turn a darker color wherever the concrete is pitted.

What is concrete stain?

Concrete stain is a water-based product that coats the concrete and becomes a permanent part of the surface. The stains can fade and wear over time, but sealer helps protect them.

Concrete stains are different from acid (or etching) stains, which chemically react with minerals in the concrete to change the color. Acid stains are available for DIYers, but there are fewer colors to choose from, and applying it involves more steps.

Use multiple colors of stain to create a distinct border or design on patios or sidewalks.

You can do this project in a weekend. Prep the concrete and apply the stain on Saturday, then seal it on Sunday. If you decide to add a second coat of stain, you’ll need another day.

The stains are available at home centers in the paint section—the color is added just as with paint. One gallon covers 200 to 400 sq. ft. A gallon of sealer also covers 200 to 400 sq. ft.

The color you choose may look slightly different after it’s applied. Each patio will accept the stain a little bit differently. However, the color will be close to what you see in the brochure.

The stain is semitransparent. It won’t completely cover the surface as paint would. You’ll see the concrete through the stain, especially if you’re using a light color

This project is much faster and easier if you stain your whole patio a single color. All you have to do is wet the concrete and apply the stain. Then backroll with a 3/8-in.-nap roller if you want even coverage. That’s it—there’s no need to block off sections or switch sprayers.

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