Concrete Staining Techniques


If your concrete patio or driveway is outdated and ugly due to staining, you can transform it by staining it with a new color using a variety of techniques.

Types of Stain

  • No two results of concrete staining will be the same. There are two types of stain: reactive and nonreactive. The reactive type is acid based and contains metallic salts which react to the lime content. Because of the acid content, you will have to check with local building codes to determine if you are able to use an acid stain and to consult with a materials safety data sheet for additional precautions. In addition, this application is more suited to a professional application because of the danger of acid use. Reactive stains create more variegated and translucent colors.

    Alternatively. the nonreactive is acrylic based. Nonreactive stains have a broad color selection but not as much translucence, but they're easier to apply.

Cleaning Techniques

  • Before applying a stain, you must have a clean concrete surface. For heavy stains, use a power washer and clean the surface to remove all dirt and grime. If necessary, sand the area until the stains are gone. If the surface is not clean, you will not get the correct results.

    Protect all nearby plants, structures or autos by covering them with plastic while applying the stain. Concrete stain is typically applied with a sprayer and due to the lightness of the mixture will float on the wind and stain nearby objects.

Required Materials

  • Purchase the desired color and type of stain. Strictly adhere to the manufacturer's directions and warnings. Wear the proper masks, gloves and any other safety attire. Use the suggested tools for application. Do not cut corners by using a hand roller or similar tool, as these will leave unwanted marks. Apply the stain to a test area first to make sure it looks like you want it to.

Other Considerations

  • Make sure the concrete stain is completely dry and apply a sealer to the surface. This protects the color tones and prevents dirt and oil stains from penetrating into the color. Sealers need applying regularly to protect the color. Solid color stains, images or designs are achieved with concrete stains. If you are uncertain about any aspect of concrete staining, visit your local hardware or concrete company for more in-depth ideas and techniques for customizing.


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