Whether you choose to use concrete patio stones together to create a patio slab or separately to create a walking path, you most definitely can use paint to add colour and style to your yard. Use your imagination and a little concrete paint to create decorative patterns or cover the entire surface area.
If working with loose set stones such as in a walking path, remove them, if possible, to make the cleaning and painting process easier. Clear furniture and other items from a patio slab. (Newly poured concrete will need to set for a minimum of 30 days before being painted.)
The first step in the preparation process is to clean and cure. Remember, the better you prepare your stones, the longer your paint job will last. Cleaning new concrete will require little more than a wire brush and some soapy water. Scrub the surface, rinse and let dry. Aged concrete will require a more thorough cleaning, especially if it has any mould growing on its surface. Use a wire brush and trisodium phosphate (TSP) or oxygen-based patio cleaning product. Rinse well. If the area is especially mouldy or dirty, consider renting a power washer to rinse and ensure thorough cleaning. Pour household bleach over remaining mould stains to lighten them. Rinse again.
Allow the concrete to dry thoroughly before painting. The drying process can take up to 10 days, especially if the washing process involves removing mould.
If your patio does not have natural cover, consider renting a canopy tent for protection during the painting and drying process. Paint will not adhere to hot concrete.
You can use stain or paint on your concrete stones. Concrete stain is translucent and does not work well if you want to add another colour, such as a decorative stencil, on top. Concrete paint is opaque, provides better coverage and allows for the addition of multiple contrasting colour decorations.
To stain concrete, use a brush, rag or roller to apply one coat and let dry.
Tape off areas you do not want to paint or areas that will receive a contrasting colour. To secure stencils, use a spray adhesive. Use a roller to paint slab base concrete patio stones and a brush to paint individual concrete stepping stones or stencil decorations on a slab base. Depending on the depth of colour you prefer, apply two to four thin coats, allowing 24 hours of drying time between coats. Concrete paint tends to go on light and darken as it dries, so do not be alarmed if the colour looks "off" when wet.
Allow paint to dry for approximately three to five days before walking on it or replacing furniture and other items.
Concrete paint can become slippery when wet so consider purchasing a sand additive to mix with your paint for better footing. Sand additives are available where you buy your paint. Do not use a sealer on concrete paint. Sealing your concrete patio stones will make them slippery.
Concrete paint with UV protection is available. Ask for this if your concrete patio stones will receive large amounts of direct sunlight.
Use your imagination and get creative when painting concrete patio stones. Consider possibilities such as contrasting stone colours, sophisticated stencil designs or even a child's handprint.