How to Stain a Concrete Patio to Look Like Stone

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how to stain concrete patio

Concrete can be a great material for patios due to its durability and versatility. 

However, one of the downsides of having a concrete patio is that it can be slightly plain. Many people who have concrete patios wish that there was some way to make them a little more exciting. 

Luckily, concrete takes a stain very well. You can use concrete stain to create all kinds of patterns and colors that match your style.

Staining a concrete patio is a relatively simple process that doesn’t require much preparation. 

In this guide, we have laid out everything you need to know about staining a concrete patio. Following the below steps will help you create something incredibly unique to you and your tastes. 

Staining a Concrete Patio to Look Like Stone: Basic Idea

While staining a concrete patio is relatively easy, there are some steps you need to adhere to. Following these steps will get you the best possible finish on your patio. 

  • Test for sealer and strip it 
  • Tape off a stone pattern 
  • Apply your stain 
  • Seal the concrete

Why Stain a Concrete Patio?

why stain a concrete patio

Concrete patios are a very common occurrence in suburban homes as well as higher-end houses. While they can be very durable and can withstand all kinds of weather and use, they are slightly boring. 

Staining a concrete patio to look like stone can be a great, creative way to rejuvenate your space. It is also relatively simple and most people can do it in a matter of days. 

You may also want to stain your concrete patio if it is starting to look worn. 

When concrete is exposed to sunlight over a long period of time, it will start to fade. This can make the patio look old and detract from the look of the backyard. 

Staining your patio allows you to cover up the fading and give your patio a completely new look. 

Test and Strip the Sealer

One of the first things you will need to do before you stain your patio is test it for a sealer. 

Concrete patios will usually be sealed by the original contractors who installed them. This is to protect them from moisture and keep them from deteriorating in the rain and snow. 

Before you can stain your patio, you will need to remove the sealer if it is on there. 

You can test whether or not your patio is sealed with something called the “water test.” 

Essentially, you just drop a few drops of water onto the concrete. If it beads up, it is sealed, if it absorbs, it is not. 

To remove the sealer, you will need a commercial stripper. These can be purchased at any home improvement store.

Simply follow the directions on the stripper package to remove the sealer. Then, hose down the patio with water and let it dry completely. 

Tape a Pattern 

Once you have stripped the patio, you can then start thinking about the pattern you want on it. 

It is recommended that you use masking tape to mask off the pattern you are going to use. This is a great way to get a stone tile look on your patio. 

You will first want to mask off the areas that will be lighter in color, probably the original color of the concrete. 

Mask this pattern carefully and create the size and shape of the tile pattern that you want. Take your time with this part of the process and make sure it is done to your satisfaction. 

You are essentially marking off the areas that will give the illusion of grout with tiles. These areas will remain unstained. 

Apply the Stain

apply the stainDepending on the type of concrete stain you have gotten, you may need to mix it. 

Whenever you are working with concrete stain, be sure to wear a mask and gloves to protect yourself. These stains contain volatile organic compounds and can be hazardous to your health. 

Your best option when applying the stain is to use a sponge. This will give you a consistent application without visible streaks or brush marks. 

Once you have finished with the first coat, let it dry for at least four hours. If it doesn’t look as dark as you want it to, you can add a second coat. 

Let this dry overnight. Then, you can remove the masked off lines. 

Seal the Patio 

It is best if you buy a concrete sealer at the same time as your stain. That way, you can be sure that they will be compatible with one another. 

Apply the sealer in the same way you did with the stain. Use a brush or a sponge and try to get it on in an even coat. 

Let the sealer dry for at least 12 hours before you walk on it or put any furniture on it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to stain concrete patio

  • How can I make my concrete patio look nice?

One of the best ways to make your concrete patio look nice is to keep up on maintenance. 

Regularly cleaning your patio will give it the nice sheen you are looking for. You can also reseal it every five years to make sure it holds up under the weather and doesn’t deteriorate. 

  • Is it better to paint or stain a concrete patio?

You will want to stain your concrete patio if you want to change the color. 

This is because stain will seep into the actual pores of the concrete and stay on for many years. Paint will only sit on the surface and may chip after a while. 

  • Do you have to sand concrete before staining?

You can sand concrete before staining but it is not required. 

What you should do, though, is make sure the concrete is clean before you start the staining process. Dirt and grime will prevent the stain from getting into the pores and sticking. 

Conclusion

Staining your concrete patio to look like stone is a great option for people who want their patio to be unique. 

Taking the time to mask it off properly and get the pattern you want is essential. By following the above steps, you can get a stain that looks like you want and will last for years.

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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