How To Stain Concrete Floors Patios and Pool Decks

By Joseph Scaduto | Decorative Concrete Advice

Mar 31
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Concrete stains are known for their translucent color and unique patterning that will not fade, peel, or chip to your concrete pool deck or patio.

Contractors have used acid stains to achieve a rich decorative color scheme that gives a coating that resembles natural stone, wood, or even leather to concrete pool decks and other surfaces. However, today’s products, like aqua-based stains and concrete dyes, have expanded the artist’s ideas with colors that range from soft pastels to vivid reds, yellows, oranges, and purples. In some cases, the newer coloring products are easier and much safer to apply, including a sealer, e.g., a pool deck 0r patio.

The best outdoor concrete stain

Stained concrete is an affordably quick way to transform the exterior concrete in your backyard. You can take a boring stamped concrete pool deck, for example, surrounded with concrete pavers, and transform it. This can also be done for a patio area or pool deck and make it into a beauty. There are two types of stains.

Most acid stained concrete is a more durable choice for an area of exterior concrete projects surfaces than aqua-built formulas. You will find that the aqua-based products will do fine on an exterior stone floor, e.g., on a stamped concrete pool deck in your backyard if a sealer is used frequently. The sealer makes the finish nice and new.

Your choice for the best outdoor concrete stain will be on what decorative concrete design or look you want to see. A sealer will lock in the color but can make the surfaces slippery when wet, e.g., around pools and a pool deck. You can add a plastic anti-slip additive to the sealer to make the outdoor surface anti-slip without changing the color.

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Best interior concrete stain

Staining the floor and later using a sealer will make and set a decorative concrete design to your home. When selecting a product, note that acid staining concrete is much better for high traffic flows due to its longevity. Aqua-built stains(product) such as acrylic will be easy to apply and require less clean up after the sealer is applied and not toxic. Acid stained floors will give an old-world mottled look that will blend well with any stone and wood. The Water-built product,e.g., acrylic products on floors, will bring out a more vivid, consistent coloring.

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Concrete stain vs. paint and dye

Stains work by penetrating the concrete surface, creating a long-lasting colored surface that won’t peel, chip, or fade. They are commonly available in earth tones. They will impact a rich variegated, translucent color to both outdoor and indoor concrete. Any imperfection or stain will show through, even after a couple of coats of the product have been applied.

Note that, if you enjoy a natural lasting look, opt for stains.

The paint will usually coat the surface and create a shade that will wear away after a while. Paints will impact a solidly consistent color. This is one of the good ideas if your concrete is badly stained and you’d like not to see the imperfections.

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Concrete dyes will offer an array of colors such as blue, yellow, and purple. They are commonly utilized together with stains to enhance the final result greatly. Dyes also impact transparent color. They, however, dry quicker and require little cleanup. They are also popular for adding color to polished concrete. These materials are not popularly applied outside the home because they are UV unstable. If you are interested in the difference between concrete paint and epoxy coating, we have a guide for that also.

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How to stain concrete

Staining can be done to, e.g., pool decks, patios despite their age. The staining process varies dependent on the type of stain utilized, whether its application is outdoors or indoors, and the effect you want. It is important always to follow specific instructions provided with the stain you intend to use.

There are four important steps to follow when staining concrete.

  • Surface preparation, e.g., around a pool deck
  • Applying the stain (staining concrete)
  • Clean up and the neutralization of the acid stain, e.g., on the pool decks.
  • Using a sealer

It is important to really understand the information behind the staining process of a pool deck, patio, stamped concrete before you attempt to stain, e.g., a pool deck, if you intend to make beauty and see great results.

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Concrete stain colors

There are many stain color product options(materials) that can be put to use to finish a concrete pool deck, patio, or concrete pavers. The acid stained surface will offer various variegated earthy tones, while the aqua-build kind will offer a broad range of hues. Experienced contractors know how to blend colors to create custom shades and beautiful surfaces, e.g., pool decks and pavers.

Some of the popular stain colors are; grey, green, tan, brown, terracotta, and blue.

Many contractors will also use saw cuts to create exciting patterns on floors, patios, and pool decks that are then stained with multiple colors. This cut will prevent the stains from bleeding into one another and mixing, ruining the surface, e.g., the pool area. Stencils made for use on concrete are also a great addition for creating an impressive decorative concrete design on the pool deck floor with concrete stains.

Concrete acid stains

An acid stain works by reacting with the concrete to change its color. It can be utilized around, e.g., concrete pool decks

if you are keen on achieving

  • a permanent color that will not chip, peel, or fade on your pool deck or patio,
  • a rich natural shade with variations that will bring alive the surface near your pool,
  • getting deep earthy tones that can be diluted to create great effects,

Choose an acidic stain. Once the acid stain’s reaction to the concrete is complete, the color coating produced is permanent and will not fade away. Their translucent coatings produce a unique look whenever used on the pool deck, depending on the concrete’s condition. The colors are primarily earthy tones, and the acid in the stain needs to be neutralized to stop the reaction.

Tips to note when applying an acidic stain to concrete.

  • Don’t acid wash before application.
  • Wear protective gear and be careful when working with acids.
  • Let the acid stains dry for about 5 to 24 hours, dependent on the intensity of the colors you want.
  • Neutralize the acidic stains with alkaline soap and water.

Water-based stains

Water-based concrete stains are a much newer, non-reactive option too. Similar to acidic stains, they are UV stable and can be used both outdoors and indoors. However, unlike acidic stains, they provide a full spectrum of colors with longer working times.

  • If your project requires shades not available with acid kind,
  • You want to add an artistic finish by layering and blending colors.
  • You want a stain that will be safe and easy to apply a coating of, e.g., An acrylic product, to your pool deck area.

Choose a water-based product.

A water-based product will additionally impart a more consistent color. Many contractors and some DIY experts prefer using the products because they are safer to apply, dry quicker, are low in VOCs and save you time. Many nonreactive stains will call for acid washing to prepare the surface to ensure good bonding. They come in the following options; acrylic, semi-transparent, and solid-colored.

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Concrete stain reviews

Most concrete stains with good reviews will be of a professional-grade. These stains can be acquired through specialized companies, ordered online, or purchased at your local concrete supply store. Some reasons to use a good concrete stain are;

They are easy to apply by professionals or DIY enthusiasts, will adhere well, dry evenly, give a rich dark colored look, be diluted for color control, ages well, and work well on new or old concrete.

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About the Author

Joseph is a professional floor installer that has been in the resinous and epoxy industry for many years. Joe was certified to install epoxy floors by xtreme polishing systems in Florida and runs infinity epoxy floors in long island.