How to Stain Concrete to Make Your Home’s Walkways Look Like New

Whether you’re dealing with an old concrete porch, a new concrete garage floor, a new concrete floor, or a grass-stained walkway, adding a stain is a great way to give concrete a renewed look.

Here are more things you need know about staining concrete.

Take Time to Properly Prepare Concrete

One of the most important steps is to thoroughly clean it before you start. Start by removing any items from the area and sweeping away dirt, dust, and debris. Next, use a mop or a stiff broom to scrub the concrete to clean any stuck-on dirt or grime. If you are working outdoors, consider using a pressure washer and mild concrete detergent to quickly remove layers of dust, debris, and discoloration from old concrete. Take the opportunity to repair cracks in the concrete surface with a concrete crack sealant.

Safety Considerations and Weather Concerns

Take appropriate precautions to stay safe while you work by opening windows or doors, setting up fans, and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

As for weather, if you are working outdoors, it’s necessary to plan your project for a dry day.  Additionally, you should start the staining project early in the day when it is still relatively cool to allow the stain to dry at a consistent rate.

How to Stain Concrete

Staining concrete takes time, so be prepared to set aside at least 24 to 48 hours to complete this job. Just keep in mind that most of this time is spent waiting for the stain and sealant to dry because the finish can be ruined by rain, water, and any activity on the concrete surface if these coatings are not fully dry.

Step 1: Clean dust, dirt, and debris.

The best results can only be achieved with a clean, prepared concrete surface. Start by sweeping and scrubbing the concrete with a stiff broom. If you are working outdoors, it might be easier to use a pressure washer to clean the concrete. If the concrete has old sealers, paints, or adhesives, you might need to use a stripping product to remove these old coatings.

Step 2: Repair cracks with concrete sealant.

Concrete materials can crack over time, so before staining, apply a concrete crack sealant with a caulking gun to repair any existing cracks.

Step 3: Prepare the stain.

You can apply stain with a roller or brush if you are staining a relatively small surface, but if you are staining a large surface, it’s recommended to use an acid-resistant airless paint sprayer.

Step 4: Apply stain with a sprayer, roller, or brush.

The goal when you are applying a stain is to get even coverage. Use a roller and brush combination to apply the stain in even strokes across the surface. The brush is especially helpful in tight corners and narrow crevices that a roller can’t reach and a sprayer might not be able to access.

Step 5: Let the stain dry.

Different stains will have different drying times, so check the manufacturer’s directions for the recommended duration. On average, a stain requires at least 24 hours to fully dry before you can apply sealant.

Step 6: Use a concrete sealant to protect the stained surface.

Stained concrete can be protected from chemical and physical damage if you apply a concrete sealant. Make sure the stain is fully dry, then apply the sealant to the target surface.

Choosing the Right Concrete Stain

If you are relatively new to staining projects, it’s recommended to stick with a water-based stain, but if you have significant experience and want to try something new, opt for an acid stain to complete the job.

Knowing so much about staining concrete, let’s do it!