If you plan to spend a lot of time on your tired, bland grey concrete patio this summer, give the patio some verve by adding colour and texture. Whether you're looking for a simple change to give your concrete patio a new look or are interested in making a substantial investment in your patio, it's easy to update patios by adding accessories and paint or finishes that give concrete a rich, organic look.
Update a concrete patio with little or no work by adding decorative touches, such as outdoor rugs or even outdoor carpet. Outdoor rugs and carpets--which are suitable for covered concrete--truly make a patio an outdoor room, which becomes an inviting extension of your home.
Painting a covered patio is a quick fix to brighten and add colour to dull grey concrete. Patch or fill any cracks, and use an exterior primer labelled for concrete use for the smoothest, best result. Use exterior paint that is labelled for concrete, and apply with a roller. Although you can paint uncovered concrete patios, paint wears best on patios that are not exposed to the elements.
Create a permanent concrete update by staining your concrete patio. Concrete stains, which are absorbed into the concrete, give patios a more attractive, organic look by mimicking natural materials such as stone or brick. Use one colour of concrete stain for the entire patio, or use stencils and multiple colours to create a patterned look.
Concrete stains are a low-maintenance, durable finish that will work on patios that are exposed to the elements. However, only experienced do-it-yourselfers should tackle concrete staining, as staining does take extensive preparation and know-how.
Take concrete stain finishes one step further by stamping your concrete patio. Stamped concrete, which gives concrete the look of stone, tile, brick or even wood, uses stains and imprints, creating patterns and texture. Like concrete staining, stamped concrete applications are suitable for all types of patios and can stand up to the elements for a long-lasting, low-maintenance finish.
Like stains, stamped concrete finishes should be applied by an experienced homeowner or a professional, because they take preparation and a knowledge of stamping techniques.
Home improvement stores carry outdoor rugs, paints and stains suitable for patios. They may also have referral services to help you find a professional to apply stains and stamped finishes.
Only homeowners with experience, or professionals, should attempt staining and/or stamping existing concrete. Staining and stamping both require the use of chemicals to alter the colour of the concrete, and should be used with caution.