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How To Stain A Concrete Patio

May 6, 2013  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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As I mentioned on Friday, we are turning our attention to our exterior while the weather is warm and the weeds are abundant.  Our whole yard needs some TLC, but this weekend we started tackling the patio–specifically staining the patio.  Staining the patio was a one-day project (love those!) and took this:
To this:
We have some experience staining concrete from when we stained our guest room floor (to this day–our most popular post), and were truly inspired by this tutorial.  The patio was even easier (Less carpet glue to remove. Less walls to protect.) Here’s how the project breaks down.
1.  Before you start clearing the patio of dirt, make sure the grass surrounding the concrete is cut really low so you don’t miss the edges.  We used a weed-whacker and chopped it really low–don’t worry, it will grow back. Then, thoroughly (really, really thoroughly) sweep your patio. We also had to pull some grass and weeds that had made their way through the cracks, too.
2.  Pick up some concrete cleaner.  We actually had this left over from the guest room.  I’m sure every brand has their own set of instructions, but we diluted the cleanser and poured it on the patio, keeping it wet for about 20 minutes.  Then after it sits for twenty minutes, you start scrubbing.  A large broom is really handy for this part.
3.  After you scrub, rinse.  All of the suds came rushing toward the corners.  Normally, puddles just seep into the grass, but we didn’t want any debris settling back down on the patio waiting for that process so we set Greta up with the shop vac to suck it all up (this was her 3rd of maybe 5 outfits on Saturday).
4.  Now things are squeaky clean and you’re almost ready to stain.  The last step is to protect your house.  The grass will be fine, but for our foundation + windows + siding, we used 2 rows of packing shrink wrap (quite a bit more durable than your kitchen’s saran wrap) along the base of the house–securing it with duct tape along the way.
5.  For the stain.  We went with Behr’s semi-transparent Concrete stain in “Loden”–a warm brown. We actually ended up using two gallons which feels like–a lot–but it is what it is, I guess.
We initially used our paint sprayer and then switched to a garden sprayer–which was recommended.  It worked a lot better than our paint sprayer for exterior use.  When spraying, we moved the wand in circular motions.
If you want a more consistent look, you can use a paint roller and go over the whole thing, but we love the natural look of how the stain settles.  It creates a lot of depth and some interest, too.
6.  Apply a second coat, leaving an hour in-between coats.
The stain is permanent, but we plan on applying a sealer sometime this week for extra protection. While this was the first of many steps to get the patio ready for…any type of enjoyment.  It was a step in the right direction and cost less than $100 to pull off.  Stained patios, ftw.
Ps. Chris is cracking jokes and sharing a little salad on his blog today.

What do you think?

  1. Sara Riso says:

    I know this is an older post but I fell in Love with the idea of doing this to a neglected slab on the side of our house. This tutorial was very helpful in the prep and overall technique and finished expectation. We purchased the same stain – however after reading the reviews longevity/ pealing was a concern. We end up buying a true concrete stain (the Behr product is more like a paint and can chip/peal they changed their formula witching the last 3-4 years) We found a wonderful stain at Concrete Resurrection – not the cheapest but very easy to use (color mocha). Overall a simple project and extremely happy with the result. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Alyson says:

    I follow you on Instagram but just discovered this post. Did you end up sealing it? I know this was a lot time ago. ???? Thanks for the tips!

  3. Charlene says:

    I have a regular concrete patio and I’m going to extend the area using 12×12 red pavers. I want to stain all of it to make a uniform color. Do you think the stain will work with the pavers? I would have purchased plain pavers, but I got a sweet deal!

  4. Pamela Koleas says:

    I stained my patio and after one winter it began to peel. We cleaned the patio prior to staining with a concrete etcher which was recommended. Now it looks so awful we don’t know what to do.

  5. Breana says:

    Wow! such a great information about fence this is very helpful!

  6. Jefferson says:

    Oh great! It was a fun reading this. I have learned a lot

  7. Chad says:

    So did you have to add some kind of tint to it at all? I bought the exact same thing and when I opened it , it looks gray.

    • Chris says:

      We didn’t add any tint. It came as the color we wanted – maybe make sure it’s labeled as the correct color.

      • Chad says:

        It’s been some time since this post. They must have changed it. Got the same exact one as you post but a test showed it as clear… strange.

  8. Elisabeth says:

    Luv it!! I need this inexpensive option for my new patio!

  9. My husband wanted me to ask you how the Behr concrete stain has held up over several years. I found your blog post and we love the results in your pictures! Can you offer any feedback now that the stain has been aged a few years? thanks!

  10. Cynthia says:

    My question is probably very stupid but does staining the patio concrete make any slicker when wet than regular concrete? Thanks!

  11. I’m so happy to see your results! We’ve actually toyed with the idea of doing this on our concrete patio. I’m also tucking this idea away for a future (hopefully) basement redo…totally agree about the carpet, especially in a basement. Thanks for sharing all your details!

  12. Ron says:

    Will the stain work over old sealer?

  13. Chris says:

    How wide of a spray pattern did you use? Like a wide fan spray or narrow?

  14. Dina Amato says:

    I have a question. I saw a video that someone posted using the Behr stain. He had used it on concrete indoors. He had done everything correctly and yet, he wanted to warn users of the it chipping off shortly after it was done.
    Have you not found scratches and chips outside since you’ve used it?
    Thanks
    DMA

    • Julia says:

      Dina, Unfortunately we moved from this home into our current one a couple months after we did this project, so I don’t have any updates on it.

  15. Alexis says:

    Has anyone tried this stain on a driveway? I am hesitant to use Behr again because the epoxy concrete paint we used peeled up in spots only months after correctly applying it to our driveway. I contacted Behr and they are going to reimburse us with product and will send the stain if we want to use that over the concrete paint. We are having to have the paint sandblasted off our drive because pressure washing is not removing it. SMH. :/

  16. Lisa says:

    Chris- I know you sold the house that you did the stained patio on, but how did it hold up? I’m going to do mine this weekend. Thank you.

  17. Breathing life back into your old patio sure looks like a fun family activity. And the final product looks great. The possibilities of concrete are endless. You can usually repair it, not replace it!

  18. Beautiful end result and color of concrete. Thanks for sharing the post.

  19. Rosa says:

    Did your patio peel? What kind of sealer did you end up using? I just got the stain and I’m planning to start the project on Friday.
    Thanks

  20. You all did a great job with this concrete patio. What an easy way to really make it pop. The beauty of this is that if you ever have an issue with it sinking or cracking, because it is concrete, you can have it lifted back into place!

  21. These days everybody loves the idea concrete patio for home outdoor decoration. it gives outstanding look to your home. Thanks for giving ideas about washing and caring patio.. keep sharing

  22. Carey Jahn says:

    Solid post, thanks a bunch for sharing this.

  23. Both varieties are used for more mortgage rates than $2. It
    does not get real medical treatments is booming, and even allowed you to walk.

  24. Nina Baker says:

    Great work.Really loved the way you have done.Nice post about concrete staining.This is really going to be helpful.Thanks again.

  25. Gina says:

    I just found your blog, love your patio! I’m thinking about doing this too but curious about the hold up of the stain. Did it peel at all?

  26. Brent says:

    Did you ever decide on a sealer? We just completed ours and are curious if we need to put something over it to protect it. Thanks!

  27. Tina says:

    I would also like to know how it holding up. We just poured a large patio and trying to decide between concrete stain and concrete acid stain.

  28. Katherine Lawson says:

    How is the stain holding up after a year? I’m ready to do this to a huge expanse.

  29. Tan says:

    Does the concrete feel much hotter to the touch now? Does it hurt feet? Dark color is easier on the eye in full sun. I want to do this too but I am concerned it will be hot and i like to not wear shoes outside.

  30. Such a nice and amazing posting on the concrete hard flooring that can satisfied the safe flooring properties and also have the long life journy for that concrete floor given by the Floor Hardner Manufacturer.This attempts the unique information denoted by this.

  31. I was looking for easy step-by-step instructions on how to stain concrete – I found you guys! My husband and I are going to complete this project this weekend and I am so looking forward to it. In finding your website – I am so impressed with your quick responses to those in need of advice and I am definitely in need of that in the decorating and design area…which leads me to my question…We have light stained woodwork (kitchen cabinets and crown molding) throughout our kitchen and living and dining areas. It is beautiful wood but the stain is so light – I feel that no color looks good with it. Do you have any advice on what color to pair with the light color wood stain? I have contemplated painting it – but my husband does not think that would be a good idea… Thoughts?

    • Hi Maranda! Glad you found us. :) The good news is light wood is making a major comeback. But of course, the stain color can go from current to outdated depending on the tone. If your husband is really against painting the cabinets, I would stick with a light color on the walls. A warm white, like Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, or one with a hint of gray, like Halo–would be so pretty. Another option is to just paint your top cabinets a warm white and keep the base cabinets wood. I love this inspiration photo: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/537969117958156510/

      Hope it helps!

  32. Patty says:

    Your patio looks great! I’ve been doing research and we’re getting ready to pull the trigger and just do it! My question is – did you ever seal it? How has it held up now that it’s been several months? Thank you for the inspiration!

  33. Patio looks great. I have been wanting to try to use this stain, haven’t had the chance to yet.

  34. Patio looks great. I have been wanting to try to use this stain, haven’t had the chance to yet.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Now that you’re several months into it – has the stain held up? We are about to do this on an interior floor and have seen mixed reviews on this product. Any peeling or other issues? Thanks!

  36. There is a significant difference after the staining, your house now looks brilliant and it looks cleaner.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Can this be done with concrete bricks??

  38. Leash says:

    Do you know if you can stain over spots that have seeped into the concrete where a dog has urinated on?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Ditto on the comment above I’ve seen really bad reviews on Behr Semi-Transparent stain. How did your hold up? Any peeling?

    • Hmm. No peeling. But eeks! Now I’m worried.

      • Nicki says:

        Hi guy’s. I really appreciate your detailed process of staining your patio. However, I’m wondering since your 2013 staining & use of the Berh Semi-Transparent Stain (one I’m about to use), have you experienced any issues or regrets?

  40. Anonymous says:

    I’ve read bad reviews about the Behr semi-translucent not really being a stain but watered down paint? Did you find this to be a surfacing coating or a true stain?

    • Hmm…I probably should have checked that out beforehand. No problems yet, but eeks!

    • sarah says:

      Its not just the semi transparent. I used the solid and prepped as I was supposed to and it still came off. Its been a year since doing my huge patio and it looks worse than it would leaving it the regular concrete. Go to reviews and you will see the same reviews by most people. We all prepped right and it doesn’t stay on. I’m considering an any surface spray paint.

      • Chris says:

        I used the valspar patio paint last year and regret the the stain is coming off as well after one year. I don’t know if I should bother to do it again or just let it peel away.

  41. Vanessa says:

    That looks amazing! Almost like a rich leather. Beautiful!

  42. Paige says:

    Hey! Came via YHL. The patio stain looks great! Makes me wish I had a patio to stain!

  43. Looks awesome! Big improvement. I like that you protected your house too. I don’t think everyone would’ve done that.

  44. I’m so very glad you posted this today, and for the tip about using the sprayer! We want to expand our narrow patio into something we can actually use for entertaining. Breaking up what we’ve got and doing all stone pavers would be like $10k and WAY out of our budget, so would laying another concrete slab next to what we’ve got. BUT we could totally stain the concrete we have and expand it with stones of a similar shade. Thanks for the inspiration!

  45. Rebecca says:

    looks great! I love your husbands cooking btw. Just curious, why not put the posts on the same blog? I click over when you mention it but sometimes forget.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Great job, I plan to do my patio in two weeks, can’t wait afer seeing yours :-) unfortunately mine requires a little more preparation.. carpet is off very little adhesive to go. Can you tell me what size is your patio? I have a 14×18 & I thought maybe 3 gallond of stain? Again, great job!

  47. Is there anything better than anonymous comments? Yes, apparently there is. Anonymous comments offending each other. Happy Monday!

    PS,. This is awesome! I know nothing about staining outdoor pavement and your backyard instantly got warmer and cozier. Good job!

  48. Patty says:

    What a difference!

  49. Anonymous says:

    “Come on now”? If I don’t know, I don’t know, so I ask. My teenagers say it’s something different, when I just asked them. Sorry my question offended you.

  50. Anonymous says:

    For the win.

    Come on now.

  51. Anonymous says:

    What is “ftw”?

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We believe we should all love where we live.

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