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How to Create Stained Concrete Patios

Many outdoor areas require regular maintenance. If you’re here, you probably want to know how to stain concrete on your own. Concrete is often used in hardscapes like driveways, pathways, and patios. It’s made from a mixture of cement, water, air, sand, and gravel. To shield the surface from the elements, concrete sealer is applied after it’s poured. Most homeowners don’t think much about it until they need to refresh it.

The basic principles for staining a patio apply to all concrete surfaces, whether indoors, on individual slabs, or outdoors. If you don’t want to spend money on new concrete but want to take on a DIY home improvement project, this guide will teach you how to stain it. 

DIY Skill Level:


Time Requirement:

About 24-72 hours, depending on the size

Materials Required:

  • Personal Protective Gear (masks, gloves, safety glasses, long-sleeved clothing, and closed-toed shoes)
  • Concrete Cleaning Supplies: Broom, Pressure Washer, Degreaser, and Concrete Cleaner
  • Concrete Repair Supplies
  • Concrete Stain (or concrete paint)
  • Tape (painter’s tape and duct tape)
  • Stain Application Tools (airless sprayer, paint roller, and paintbrush)
  • Concrete Sealer

Can I Stain an Existing Concrete Patio?

Your concrete surface cannot be brand-new! To stain concrete, it must be at least four weeks old and in good shape. Before staining, make sure to fix any cracks or chips. Staining concrete, rather than installing new concrete, is a more budget-friendly landscaping project.

How Can I Apply Stain on a Concrete Patio?

Using the right tools and proper concrete preparation are crucial when it comes to staining. The preferred method, as recommended by experts, involves using a sprayer. This allows for even coverage and the maintenance of a continuous “wet” edge. Adequate ventilation is also essential to prevent fumes from accumulating and to ensure that the stain dries uniformly.


Can I Stain Concrete Myself?

Yes, staining concrete is considered one of the easier DIY projects. An acid-based paint is recommended for beginners, although it can be a bit unpredictable. It’s advised to test a small section first, and if needed, you can stop at a joint to create a more uniform appearance. Consider your local climate, as using salt or ice melting in colder regions can negatively affect the long-term appearance of stained concrete patios.

How Much Does It Cost to Stain Concrete?

Staining your patio yourself can help cut down on the project’s cost. The overall expense depends on how big your project is and the quality of the materials you purchase. For a standard-sized patio, you might spend around $700 for stain, sealant, and surface prep materials. Renting equipment like a paint sprayer or pressure washer could increase the costs slightly. Keep in mind that staining concrete is a much more budget-friendly option compared to pouring new concrete.

Stained Concrete Patios

How to Stain Your Concrete Patio

Concrete Clean Up

Sweep: Begin by using a stiff bristle brush to clear away any large debris from your patio. This step helps uncover major stains, discolorations, and cracks.

Clean: If you’re dealing with recent stains, you can use a concrete cleaner. Most of these cleaners contain a strong alkaline detergent. Keep in mind that they work best on porous concrete, and older stains may not come out completely.

Wash: Deep clean your concrete using a pressure washer. You can rent one at a local home improvement store and experiment with different settings. Just use clean water for this step.

Avoid Muriatic Acid Cleaner: Many manufacturers caution against using muriatic acid to clean concrete before staining. This is because it can remove minerals needed for the stain to achieve the desired color.

Helpful Tip: Check to see if your concrete has been sealed. If it has, the stain won’t stick properly, and you’ll need a concrete stripper to remove any coatings.


Repairing Cracks: It’s a good idea to fix any concrete damage before staining to maintain a uniform look. First, clear debris from the cracks using a brush, and then fill them with concrete crack sealer. Smooth out the sealer using a floor scrubber.

Repairing the Edges: Fill in any missing edges or corners on your patio using a vinyl patching compound, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Helpful Tip: If you’re using crack sealer to fix cracks, let it dry for at least 24 hours, or as advised by the manufacturer. If you need to repair larger areas, wait for one to four weeks before painting or staining your concrete.

Surface Preparation

After making your repairs, clean up any new stains and discolorations.

Choose Your Stain: You have options when it comes to colors and types of stain, or you can go for concrete paint. There are two types of stains to consider: acid stains and water-based stains.

Acid Stains: In general, it’s a good idea to use acid stains. They create a strong, long-lasting bond through a chemical reaction, resulting in a color that endures.

Water-Based Stains: These are more vibrant and easier to apply. Water-based stains are also worth considering because they dry faster and contain fewer chemicals.

Concrete Paint: If you decide to go with paint (commonly used on garage floors), make sure to choose a high-performance option that can withstand the elements.

Concrete Cleaner: Before applying an acid stain to the concrete, prepare it with a concrete cleaner and etch. Rinse off any residue with clean water after using the etch.

Protect Valuables: Wear your personal protective gear (PPE) and lay down drop cloths to prevent staining anything you can’t move. You can also use painter’s tape, as you would when painting, to safeguard small items and prevent overspray. This step is crucial.

It’s important to be familiar with the stain color codes if you plan to use them in a specific design.

Test Your Choice: Once you’ve picked the stain you want to use, test it in a small area of your patio.

Apply the Stain

1. Dampen the Concrete: Begin by lightly wetting the concrete with clean water. Be careful not to create puddles or oversaturate it.

2. Cover Large Areas First: Use an acid-resistant airless sprayer to apply the stain evenly. Overlap your passes to keep a wet, consistent edge. To prevent uneven coloring, avoid leaving puddles on the floor.

3. Complete the Corners: For corners and smaller areas that the sprayer may have missed, use a paint roller or paintbrush to ensure even coverage.

4. Wait: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wait for the recommended time to rinse off any residue. You might need to rinse the floor multiple times until it comes out clean.

If you’re working in a confined space, start from the corner at the back of the room and move toward the exit. After the initial spray coat, use a paint roller. If you desire a darker shade, you can apply a second layer.

Preserve Your New Stain

1. Seal Your Stain: Wait for at least 24 hours, then apply a concrete sealer to safeguard the appearance of stained concrete patios. This sealer helps your concrete withstand foot traffic, stains, and whatever else your refreshed patio might face.

2. Consider Using a Concrete Polish: A concrete polish is like an acrylic wax for your floor. It’s not a substitute for a sealer but can enhance the overall look.

Enjoy Newly Stained Concrete Patios With Cesar’s Concrete

Your outdoor space looks fantastic with the new concrete stain. And if you ever need help with concrete work, remember, Cesar’s Concrete is here to assist you. They’re experts in making outdoor areas like your patio shine.

Keep your patio in good shape, and it will last for a long time. Invite friends, have cookouts, or simply relax in your new outdoor space. Your beautiful stained concrete patio, backed by Cesar’s Concrete, adds value and style to your home.

Cheers to your successful project, and here’s to many great times on your freshly stained patio!

Contact us to learn about the options you have and get a no-obligation quote.

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