How to Color and Stain Concrete


Concrete is a composite material made from cement, water and a base material, such as sand or gravel. When dry, concrete has a somewhat water-resistant surface, which means that liquid cannot easily be absorbed into the material. This can make it difficult to color and stain concrete. To effectively color or stain concrete, you must apply a coloring that has the necessary properties to get through the concrete’s surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Push broom
  • Garden hose
  • Wire brush
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Masking tape
  • Acid stain
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Concrete sealer
  • Concrete dye
  • Acetone
  • Bucket
  • Sprayer with air pump
  • Sealant

Staining Concrete

  • Sweep the surface of the concrete to remove dust, then spray the surface with the highest pressure level on a garden hose to remove tougher dirt.

  • Use a wire brush to remove any dirt that won’t come loose with the hose alone. Rinse with the garden hose and let the concrete surface fully dry.

  • Lay plastic sheeting over all of the objects and fixtures around the concrete surface. Tape the sheeting down at the edges of the concrete to prevent stain from getting through.

  • Mix up a small amount of the acid stain with an equal amount of water. Spread the stain on the most hidden area of the concrete surface, such as a back corner, with a paintbrush. Wait three hours for the stain to dry completely and check the color.

  • Make an entire batch of stain with equal parts stain and water if you liked the color. If you didn’t like the color, continue to test stain and water combinations until you get the stain the color you want and mix up a full batch.

  • Pour stain onto one 3-feet-by-3-feet section of the surface and use the push broom to move the stain across the floor. Continue this method until the entire concrete surface is covered with stain. Give the stain three hours to fully dry.

  • Apply concrete sealer with a standard paint roller until the entire concrete surface is covered. Allow the sealer to dry for two to three hours, or until it feels dry to the touch, and add a second coat.

Dye Concrete

  • Clean dust from the concrete with a broom. Brush tough dirt spots from concrete with a wire brush and spray with a garden hose to rinse. Allow to dry completely.

  • Cover everything around the concrete with plastic sheeting. Use tape at the sheeting's edges to keep it in place.

  • Mix concrete dye with the amount of acetone listed on the product label if the dye is not already mixed. Allow the dye mixture to set up for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer before applying.

  • Add the mixed dye to the bottle of an aerosol sprayer. Spray the dye onto the concrete surface as uniformly as possible by keeping the sprayer trigger depressed and moving in sweeping motions back and forth across the concrete surface.

  • Apply sealant to concrete with a paint roller after dyeing if you want to create a protective barrier over the surface. Allow the sealant to dry and spread a second coat of sealant for the best protection.

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