Transform Old Concrete With Cement Stain

Boring concrete

Let’s be honest, while concrete is a great economical and lasting option, its look over time can turn a garage, a sun room, a basement, a porch or a patio into a plain eyesore! But do not despair, there are a number of options that can completely transform the look of old boring concrete at a fraction of the cost of replacing or pouring new concrete. One of this option consists in applying cement acid-stain, available in various colors, to give a brand new look and protective layer.

One of the advantages of using cement stain over paint, is that cement stain is permanent, won’t fade or peel. It creates marbled variations of color on cured concrete by chemical reaction with the minerals in the concrete. Concrete resurfacing results will vary greatly due to variations in the underlying concrete.

Concrete stain flooring

Concrete stain flooring


Paint tray
Paint brush, spray bottle and/or pad
Paint roller
Tarp or plastic roll
Concrete stain (comes in solid and translucent colors)
Concrete sealer


As for all painting job, the first step is to clean the surface of oil, dirt, mud, dust and residues. Use coca cola to remove oil stain on garage floors. Use a broom, a brush for the areas that need the most work. You can also power wash the area but make sure that it has plenty of time to completely dry.  Skipping the drying process will prevent proper adhesion of the stain. This step is really important because stain is essentially translucent color that will not only show the underlying defects or colors variations but can also make them even more visible.

Always test the color you choose in a small area to make sure that the result is acceptable. Don’t just rely on the manufacturer’s color chart because stain reacts differently to different types of surfaces. This is especially important if you are working on an intricate pattern with various colors not just applying one color over the entire area.

Apply too little and there won’t be enough color to etch the concrete and last. Spray too much and you will end up with a puddling problem and too dark effect. Practice makes perfect so either test a small area or hire a professional if you are going for a large area and complex design. This requires practice, proper timing.  Generally, you want to apply a first coat using one of the techniques below and finish with a light brush to soften the edges and  make sure the stain is evenly applied before moving to the next section. Some of the techniques are:

Paint with a brush: always start at the perimeter (edge of a wall or building)
Scrubbing: if you are using this technique make sure to maintain a n
atural stroke to avoid streaks
Spraying: this is great when creating flowing patterns that requires loose applications.
Rolling: Great for intricate geometrical patterns like diamond shapes.
Cut lines with a circular saw (1/8” deep) if you are making repeated patterns of different colors. Adding some blue tape in the grooves will help prevent stain of different colors from bleeding into other areas.
Use stencils to create beautiful forms
Use tape to create square tiles for a stone work look
Stamp concrete to create wood board patterns
Simulate bricks patterns and much more…

It is recommended to fully wet and neutralize the area to avoid accidental foot prints or marks. Let it dry fully then add a concrete sealant finish coat. This can be done either spraying, using a cross-hatch rolling, or even buffing if you are going for a wax finish look. Wait at least 4 hours before stepping or moving furniture back.

Artistic Concrete design

Artistic Concrete design

If you have an area that can’t be cleaned, has some defect, you may have to be creative and turn defects or color variations into unique patterns and designs by applying more stain in these areas.

If you have rust stains or have filled cracks, the stain will appear darker in these areas, so plan accordingly.
The best time to apply stain is on a cloudy day. Avoid direct sun on a summer day. High heat will speed up the drying time and make it very difficult to smoothly blend one area into the next without creating color variations and streaks.

So if you have a concrete patio or a slab that is in need of some TLC, try out acid stain. Tackle it yourself or hire a professional and enjoy the results. Check out amazing diy projects and pictures on Pinterest to see how others have transformed their boring floors and patios into gorgeous creations!

Happy New Year!