Concrete is one of the most popular surfaces for patio use. Because of its durability and low maintenance, homemakers prefer it to other patio surface materials.
However, like everything else that is constantly exposed to adverse weather conditions, concrete deteriorates over time. When you first installed it, it looked positively new. After a few years, what was once a shiny gray surface had turned into a dull, monotonous gray.
Other than tearing out the whole concrete surface and replacing it with a new one (which can be an expensive endeavor, not to mention physically taxing), your other option is patio concrete staining. It is the easiest and cheapest method. Plus, you can do it yourself. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing something beautiful and knowing that it is your handiwork.
However, before you start, consider the following reminders first.
#1. Concrete stains are categorized into two types.
You can choose from either acid stains or acrylic stains. Both can greatly enhance the appearance of your concrete surfaces. However, each stain type has its own character and distinction from the other, so it is best if you get to know what the strong and weak points of each type are before making a decision.
Patio concrete staining with the use of acid stains depends on the chemical reaction between the stain and the free lime on the surface. This produces a natural-looking, translucent color, creating a slightly reddish, variegated, and dark coloring on your concrete surface.
What makes patio concrete staining using acid stains unique is that every acid type reacts differently to the free lime. So you can create different effects, producing an illusion of variety on your surfaces.
The other type of stain used for patio concrete staining is acrylic. Because acrylic stains are water-based, the pigments tend to enter through the pores of the concrete surface. In this way, the color, which is characteristically semi-translucent adheres to the concrete in a way that acid stains never do, creating a more lasting and consistent coloring.
The good thing about acrylic stains for patio concrete staining is that they can mask any flaws or inconsistencies in the surface. Acid stains, on the other hand, tend to accentuate them.
#2. Set realistic expectations.
It is difficult to predict the exact outcome of a patio concrete staining job. This is especially true if you are using acid stains. There is just no way to predict how the chemical stain would react. Often, using the exact same stain can produce two different colorings on two distinct slabs.
This can be a problem if you plan on matching your concrete surface to furniture or other surfaces. To fix this, just make sure to use stains of a complementary color. Do not expect to get the exact same shade for each slab you apply the stain to. It will not produce the desired result.