Staining or painting concrete is a cost-effective way to add style and colour to a plain concrete patio. With imagination and faux-finish techniques, you can create texture and dimension, imitate brick or stone, or even mimic a more complex acid-etched technique for a fraction of the cost of repaving or repouring cement. A single colour stain or paint rolled on the concrete--the easiest technique to do here--will also completely transform grey concrete.
Decide upon your desired colour by looking at colour charts at your home improvement store. You can also order a custom colour-match to achieve a certain look. Purchase your stain or paint according to your specific square footage needs, as indicated by the manufacturer's recommendations. Purchase concrete cleaner and any tools, such as brushes or rollers, at the same time.
Sweep the patio and clean thoroughly with the concrete cleaner, mixed to the manufacturer's specifications. Use a deck brush to work in the cleaner and to remove stains or stubborn dirt. Rinse thoroughly with a hose or pressure washer multiple times, as needed, to remove suds or any foam. Let dry completely.
Apply paint or stain with a roller and an extension pole, according to manufacturer's instructions. Create a faux stone or broken effects-look by pouring different colours in separate paper plates, and dabbing or rolling it onto the concrete with a sea sponge or rag. Alternate colours or hues and use your imagination to create the desired effect.
Let the paint or stain dry thoroughly before walking on it or washing it.
Patch and repair cracked or broken concrete first, if desired, with concrete patch compound or a cement crack kit. Allow concrete to cure prior to staining or painting. Preparation is key. Paint or stain will only adhere to whatever is underneath it. Buy several close or complementary shades to mix on your own.You don't have to be precise; the more uneven the mixing, the more natural your result. A sealer can be applied on top of the painted or stained concrete as the final step, but it is not essential. If you are using multiple shades of colour, apply a dark base first, and then layer lighter colours on top. Do not allow the layers to dry before applying other colours on top for a more natural stone look. This technique works well on taupe, terra cotta, peach, tan or brick colours.