How to | Color | Stain | Concrete for Dummies

Concrete It | Reinforced Concrete | Mixing Concrete

How to | Color | Stain |  ColoConcrete

Staining or coloring is probably the easiest thing you can do to give your concrete patio or sidewalk a distinctive look.  There are three ways to color your concrete.  The first is to put the color into the concrete mix before it is poured into the forms.  The second method of coloring is to apply the color to the surface of the concrete while it is still wet.  And the third is staining.

You can purchase color and stains for concrete at just about any lumberyard and home improvement store.  None of the three color methods are difficult to do.  With the first you put the color in the concrete mix before it is poured in your forms.  In this case just follow the directions given with the color.  In the second method you spread the color uniformly across the surface of your concrete while it is still wet and then use the float to spread it around and into the concrete.  Then finish the concrete as usual.  Staining is the last color method.  There are several ways to stain.  Regular, etching and semi-transparent.  Regular is like paint.  It goes on and covers completely.  Etching and semi-transparent go on the same way (use a paintbrush, a spray can, I saw one done with a mop and it looked pretty good), but there is a difference.  Semi-transparent can be applied in layers.  Since the stain is semi-transparent the existing surface of your concrete sidewalk or patio will show through the first few layers of stain.  The more times you apply the stain to the surface the less the original concrete coloration below will show up.  Etching, too, allows the surface below to show through.  In each case just follow the instructions given for the product you purchase.  

Sidewalk with color stain applied
Sidewalk with color added to the mix

One last item.  Older or stained concrete will probably require some cleaning.  Whatever staining product you get will always give some advise and recommendations as to cleaning the surface and what to buy for that purpose.

A sidewalk with regular stain applied to the surface.

Sidewalk with color in the mix.
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