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How to Paint or Stain Concrete Slabs

Updated February 21, 2017

Concrete slabs are poured blocks of concrete used as foundations, patios, sidewalks and concrete driveways. Concrete slabs may contain added reinforcement such as rebar or steel frames, used to support homes, businesses and skyscrapers. The drab, monotone colour of concrete slabs offers little in the way of pleasing decor and often leads home and business owners to add colour to foundations and other types of concrete slabs. Adding paint or stain to a concrete slab not only brightens its appearance, but also discourages the concrete from sweating and improves the concrete's ability to resist moisture and chemical absorption.

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  1. Decide whether to use concrete stain or paint. This is the most important step in the process, as there are both benefits and drawbacks to using stain or paint. Stain will bond with the concrete and the colour will last for a long time, but it will also highlight any imperfections in the concrete. Chips or cracks will show up much clearer with stain. Paint offers the benefit of hiding concrete slab imperfections, but it will chip over time and fade long before the stain. Paint also protects the concrete from harsh weather unlike stain does.

  2. Clean the surface of the concrete. Debris, dust or grease left on the concrete will show through stain or leave paint uneven. Spray down the concrete with concrete cleaner, another cleaning chemical or wash down the concrete slab with a pressure washer. Freshly poured and dried concrete will most likely not need cleaning prior to painting or staining.

  3. Apply paint or stain when the surface temperature of the concrete is between 10.0 to 32.2 degrees C. This will help the stain to bond or the paint to dry. Neither paint nor stain will adhere properly if the concrete is too cold or too hot. Apply the stain or paint following the instructions on the container.

  4. Allow the paint or stain to dry thoroughly before continuing with any further construction. Do not allow vehicles to drive on concrete slab driveways until certain the entire surface of the driveway is dry.

  5. Tip

    Use clear stain as a final coat to length the lifespan of the stain.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Pressure washer
  • Concrete paint or stain

About the Author

Stephanie Daniels

Stephanie Daniels is a freelance writer residing in Louisa, Kentucky. Daniels focuses on parenting, children, gardening and home-decor articles. She was the manager of Home Decor for Home Depot for 4 years. Daniels has written for many online publications and enjoys ghostwriting.

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