How to Stain Concrete

Revitalize a tired concrete patio: Give it a brand-new look with color stain.
By: Erinn Valencich

Staining Cement 04:37

Cracked cements gets a faux brick repair in this Smart Solutions how-to.

To stain concrete, it must be unpainted and unstained. Concrete is porous and once it's stained it has essentially been sealed.

Stamped and Stained Concrete Ideas

See All Photos

Shop Related Products

Materials Needed:

  • 9" tear-resistant deck paint pad
  • telescoping rod
  • handle for paint pad (attach to telescoping rod)
  • paint pan
  • 4" paintbrush
  • tarp
  • broom and hose
  • concrete stain (water-based)
  • bucket of water
  • rag (for any spills)

Choose a Color

Use the manufacturer's color chart as a guide to selecting your color. There are different levels of coverage in the various stain options. For this project, we've used a semi-transparent stain that looks like watercolor when applied. For more coverage, go with an opaque stain. Do a small test area on the concrete to make sure you're going to get the results you want. Always read the manufacturer's instructions on the container for any special considerations when using their product.

Gather Materials to Stain Concrete

Gather Materials to Stain Concrete

Use the manufacturer's color chart as a guide to selecting your color. There are different levels of coverage in the various stain options. For this project, we've used a semi-transparent stain that looks like watercolor when applied. For more coverage, go with an opaque stain. Do a small test area on the concrete to make sure you're going to get the results you want. Always read the manufacturer's instructions on the container for any special considerations when using their product.

From: Erinn Valencich

Prep the Concrete

Remove furniture and other miscellaneous objects (planters, etc.) from the concrete at this time. Remove all residue and loose particles from the concrete using a broom and hose. If there are any other elements stuck to the concrete, you can scrape those off as well. After cleaning, allow the concrete to dry for 24 hours.

Concrete Design Options: Indoors and Out 9 Videos

Stamped-Concrete Patio Floor 07:42

A concrete patio gets a stamped-concrete floor treatment and new stairs.

Apply the Stain

After the concrete has dried, you can begin applying the stain. Place your paint pan on the tarp and pour the stain into the pan. Using your paintbrush, apply the stain along the perimeter edge and at all seams (Images 1 and 2). Then, begin applying the stain over the rest of the concrete with the pad. Use the seams as natural divisions to work in. Stay in only one section at a time so you can maintain control over blending without it drying too quickly (Image 3). Once most of the stain is out of the pad, use what is left to feather (soften) the edges from your previous strokes before you add more stain to the pad (Image 4).

Parts of the concrete will absorb the stain differently. Rust spots will finish darker than the rest of the area you are staining. You can fill any holes or uneven areas in the concrete, but the fill will absorb the stain more quickly and be darker than the un-filled areas.

Note: Don't apply the stain in direct sun; wait for a cloudy day or apply it when the concrete is in shade. The stain will dry much more quickly in the sun and won't give you much time to blend your strokes.

Replace Furniture

The stain should be dry to the touch in four hours. Wait until the next day to place your furniture back on the concrete. The stain can scratch off if you drag the furniture over it, so be careful.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Make and Install an Outdoor Chalkboard

Add a weather-friendly chalkboard to your outdoor space for inspired drawing or score-keeping on family game night.

Spice Up Concrete Floors With Painted Stripes

Use garage floor paint to give tired concrete floors a bold, fresh, tri-colored update.

How to Make an Industrial Style Log Rack

Turn common materials found at your local home improvement center into an industrial log rack.

How to Create a Wine Barrel and Bottle Fountain

Create a one-of-a-kind focal point for your backyard or patio using a wine barrel or cask and an empty bottle of your favorite vintage.
More from:

Fast Fix: Outdoors

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Tiny House Hunters

6:30am | 5:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Flea Market Flip

10:30am | 9:30c

Flea Market Flip

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Good Bones

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Good Bones

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.