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Can You Stain a Concrete Patio? (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Can You Stain a Concrete Patio? (A Step-By-Step Guide)

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Your patio is a relaxing space that lets you enjoy the outdoors. You can have a barbecue or use it as a place to gather with friends.

However, since most patios are made of concrete, they can look dull, unfinished, and gray.

How do you give your patio a more polished look? Can you stain a concrete patio, and is it possible to do it yourself?

Find out the answer to these questions and more through our guide to staining concrete patios!

Can You Stain a Concrete Patio?

The simple answer is yes, you can stain a concrete patio!

Staining is an inexpensive way to breathe new life into your patio. It’s easy to do, and you can finish the project yourself.

Many prefer staining concrete flooring over painting it. This is because it’s more resistant to wear and tear than paint.

There are a wide range of stain colors to choose from too. The various options mean you can create a patio with a unique look!

How to Stain a Concrete Patio

Here are the simple steps to staining a concrete patio.

1 – Pick a Type of Stain

There are two main types of stains you can choose from.

Acid stains directly react with the concrete and absorb into the surface. It’s more permanent, so it’s suitable for the outdoors.

The disadvantage of acid stain is it only comes in earthy colors. Moreover, it’s hazardous, and you have to be careful when handling it.

Meanwhile, water-based stains come in many colors and are less harmful to the environment.

Whichever you choose, it’s a good idea to do a patch test on your flooring.

Stains can look different depending on the state of your concrete. There’s no way of knowing the final result without testing it on the surface.

2 – Prepare the Surface

Once you have the perfect stain, it’s time to clean the surface. To do this, sweep the floor to get rid of any debris.

Afterward, scrub the patio with detergent and a brush. You can use a pressure washer and concrete cleaner to make things easy.

Now is also the best time to repair cracks in the concrete. A crack sealant will do the job.

Remember, if the flooring has existing stains or paint, you may have to remove it using a power sander.

3 – Cover the Perimeter

Are there spots around the patio you don’t want to get stained?

Some people use a sprayer to apply coatings on the concrete to make the process faster. The downside to this is that stains could splatter all over the area.

The solution is to use painter’s tape to protect the edges of your patio. Plus, you can use plastic sheets to cover surfaces around the patio!

4 – Apply the Stain

You can start the staining process as soon as your concrete is dry.

A paint sprayer will allow you to apply the stain evenly, but make sure to use one suitable for your type of stain. For example, you need to buy an airless acid-resistant sprayer if you’re going with acid stain!

Using a paintbrush is another option for applying concrete stain. It’s cheaper than a sprayer, but you have to be more careful when making an even coat.

The trick is to do the stains in sections so you have better control over the blending.

5 – Neutralize the Stain and Use Sealant

For acid stains, you should use baking soda or ammonia to neutralize the coating. If you’re using a water-based stain, you can proceed to rinse the concrete.

To do this, pour water over the concrete until it runs clear. You may need to rub any residue with a soft brush.

Let the concrete dry overnight, then apply up to two coats of sealant to the floor. Don’t forget to pick a sealant that’s appropriate for the outdoors!

6 – Maintain Your Concrete Flooring

Since your concrete patio is outdoors, inclement weather can destroy the seal you applied.

You may need to reseal your concrete every one to three years depending on the products you use.

It’s possible to extend the pristine state of your patio through regular maintenance. Do this by cleaning the concrete with soap and water every few months.

Avoid using a pressure washer since it can wear the sealant down!

When to Stain a Concrete Patio

The best time to apply stain on new concrete flooring is 30 days after it’s built. This’ll allow the concrete enough time to cure.

It’s vital to plan ahead and watch out for the weather forecast.

You should pick a period where there’s no expected rain for at least a week. Note that rain can wash away all the work you’ve done!

The ideal outside temperature for staining a patio is 50°F to 90°F. This temperature will help dry the concrete faster.

Finally, you can re-stain the concrete if you notice the color fading.

How Hard Is It to Stain a Concrete Patio?

Staining a patio is easy to moderately difficult. You can do it by yourself, and you don’t need expensive tools.

The hardest part for inexperienced people is getting an even finish on the coating, though. Scrubbing the floor and repairing cracks in the concrete may also be too labor-intensive for some.

To simplify the process, you can use tools like power washers, sanders, and paint spray!

How Long Does It Take to Stain a Concrete Patio?

Although staining a patio isn’t hard, it does take a while to finish.

The staining process takes at least two days. You should allot time for drying the concrete after washing.

The sealant needs to cure overnight as well.

Before you start, make sure there’s good weather when you’re staining your patio. This’ll help you avoid ruining it mid-way!

How Much Does It Cost to Stain a Concrete Patio?

According to Forbes, staining a concrete patio costs anywhere from $200 to $29,000 in 2023. The price depends on the size of the flooring and the type of stain you buy.

Expect to pay cheaper if you do it yourself versus hiring a professional.

You can estimate the price of the project by getting the total area of the patio. Multiply this number by the cost of materials per square foot.

For reference, a 100-square-foot space should cost $200 to $1,500. Acid stain is also $0.15 more expensive than water-based stain per square foot.

Is It Better to Paint or Stain a Concrete Patio?

Staining isn’t the only option you have for beautifying a concrete patio! Some people opt for painting their flooring.

So which one is better?

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of painting and staining concrete.

The Pros and Cons of Painting a Concrete Patio

If you don’t like the look of rough concrete, painting could be the option for you.

Paint can mask any rough patches that are natural in concrete. It comes in a wide array of colors so you can personalize the look too.

The main issue with paint is it doesn’t absorb into the concrete. This means it can flake and chip off with enough foot traffic.

Consider that paint doesn’t do well in full sun, and you may have to repair it more often.

The Pros and Cons of Staining a Concrete Patio

Unlike paint, stain seeps into the concrete flooring. It doesn’t cover the rough patches on the surface.

Stain is more permanent than paint. It’s better for the outdoors, and it looks natural.

The disadvantage of staining is its unpredictability. You can’t get a consistent look because the state of the concrete affects how the finished product turns out.

Which One Is Better?

For those who prefer a more natural patio, staining is the better method of coloring. It’s low maintenance, and you don’t have to worry about flaking.

However, if you want to have a smoother finish on your flooring, painting it is the best option!

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, yes, you can stain a concrete patio. It’s easy, and you can finish it yourself to save on costs.

All you have to do is pick the right stain. Don’t forget to start your project under the right weather conditions too!

You can stain your flooring with a simple paint brush, or invest in a sprayer and other power tools. It’s possible to maintain the stain and seal through regular cleaning as well.

Lastly, staining can be better than painting if you prefer a more permanent and natural look.

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