How to stain a concrete patio

How to stain a concrete patio

There comes a time for every patio when it’s time to upgrade its looks. The old surface might be dirty or just too weathered to be enjoyed anymore.

You’re looking for options that aren’t too cost heavy and might have stumbled over concrete staining. Well look no further, here is a light walkthrough for those who wish to stain old concrete or new.

It’s good to note that the entire procedure on how to stain concrete patio jobs is a detailed and lengthy process that make take several days to complete. From the prep process to the actual staining to letting it cure, good step-by-step instructions are crucial.

Such instructions are out of the scope of this article; however, read on for a brief overview of the process of how to stain a concrete patio so that you are aware of the job you are getting into.

DIY stained concrete patio

As stated before, this is a general directions guide. When you shop for products, get the whole set that goes well together. I’m not necessarily saying that get a kit for this as those can be low quality but maybe products for the same manufacturer. Proper hardware store should know their stuff.

So try to get concrete washing supplies, concrete staining acid, and the product that is used to neutralize it from the same manufacturer. That way you don’t have to guess how much to use different products, but can read from the manufacturer label.

Cleaning of concrete

First, of course, you must prepare the concrete for staining. Do this by scrubbing the entire surface. You can do this in a couple of ways. You can use a stiff brush for scrubbing or by using a high-caliber power wash to clean it.

If you have specific kind of dirt like rust or moss I have a guide for those here. Here is guide for glue and here is another one for graffiti, grease and gum.

This should get off to a good start with all the grime, dirt, and debris. If you have any grease stains, now is the time to bring out the degreaser and the power washer to lift it right out of the concrete.

It is very important to get rid of as many stains and oil spots as possible before staining your concrete patio because any and all imperfections will show through the stain on the finished product.

Once your concrete is as spotless as you can make it, you can proceed onto the next step of preparation.

Preparation of the surface

The next step is to apply the acid etching solution. This important step is vital to the success of your concrete finishing project because it prepares the surface of the concrete to receive the final stain.

You will make the solution out of four parts water and one part acid and sprinkle it over the surface of the concrete. It should bubble when the two come in contact.

After you have let the solution sit on the concrete for about thirty minutes, remove with a broom and water.

How to stain concrete patio floor after cleaning

Application of concrete stain

Now you must let the cleaned concrete dry for at least forty-eight hours before applying the stain itself. Also, once the concrete has dried, be sure to sweep off all the cement powder that may be left on the surface.

To apply the stain, use a long-handled paint roller and apply it evenly over the entire surface. You can move in a “typewriter” way so that you always have wet acid to brush.

If you plan to do a second coat of the stain (this in many cases makes the color darker), wait twenty-four hours before applying the next coat.

If you wish, you can apply the stain in whatever pattern you wish, such as wavy lines, swirls, or brush strokes.

How it is applied is totally up to your creativity–the only things that you must ensure are:

  • that the stain is evenly applied
  • that the entire surface is covered with stain.

Alternatively you can also use pump sprayer to apply the acid to the surface. Just be sure there are no metal parts so it won’t affect the color of the stain.

Neutralize with baking soda and water

Before you apply the sealer you need to wash the patio with baking soda mixed into water. It will neutralize the acid on the surface so it won’t affect the sealer on top of it. Alkaline soap and ammonia can also be used.

Important part is that it gets done so your trouble won’t be for nothing. First pick your weapon, if it’s baking soda to the mix and spread it on the patio.

Proceed to scrub the surface. Prepare to do it few times to be sure it’s really neutralized and after that, wash the surface clean. If your patio can’t be washed easily you can use a wet vacuum also to get the soda off or a traditional mop and bucket.

Apply the concrete sealer

After the concrete has been neutralized and has completely dried, it’s time to apply the sealer for it.

Now you should apply few layers of concrete sealer on the patio. Concrete is porous and acid doesn’t really help in that sense so it’s good to seal it is more resistant to weather and dirt.

You can use pump sprayer or paint roller to apply it. Few thin layers is better than one really wet as it can become slippery.

Here you can do it with the “typewriter” tactic again, no matter which tool you use to spread it. Start from one end of the patio and spread it row after row in a way that it doesn’t get to dry before you start from the beginning.

Also depending on you patio, don’t seal yourself into a corner.


Concrete staining can be a huge job that can easily overwhelm any do-it-yourself homeowner. By simply breaking it down into steps and planning the time necessary to accomplish the job, you can easily tackle that concrete to give it color and protection for years to come.

In addition, this project will also give your home additional value as it adds beauty and character to whatever living space it is in. Staining old concrete patio can be great way to update your house and raise its curb appeal.

With big projects like this, planning ahead and preparing all the steps is essential before you begin. I can tell you it’s always annoying if you have to leave in the middle of the job to the hardware store to get more supplies.

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