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The Home Depot

Step by Step to Concrete Staining

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Patio & Walkway > Step by Step to Concrete Staining
Step by Step to Concrete Staining

Concrete staining is a beautiful, creative and unique way to improve the look of your home. There is so much room to play around with color, pattern and texture. The possibilities are endless! That can be a great thing, but it can also be intimidating.


According to the web site, there are two different kinds of concrete staining methods: water based and acid based. Acid based staining, the site says, reacts with the minerals on the surface of the concrete and changes their chemical structure. Water based staining is just a coating on the surface of the concrete. Where acid based stains are usually only limited to earth tones – browns, greens and tans – water based stains offer a wide range of color selections.


If you’ve been considering staining concrete in your home – whether it be a countertop, fireplace or even your driveway – you’ve come to the right place. This guide will give you the basic, step-by-step way to stain concrete.

  1. Staining can improve boring old grey concrete, but remember – it can only go so far in hiding faults and imperfections.

    1.What do you want?

    Figure out the look that you would like to create in your home. Do you want the floor in your living room to resemble wood or marble? Maybe you have a cool idea featuring lots of color that you’d like to install on your patio. Or, maybe you don’t know. Study décor magazines or websites could help you decide what you want. Ask friends and neighbors whose homes you admire for ideas and suggestions.

  2. 2.Clean the surface

    Clean and sand the surface to be stained thoroughly before beginning the project. In some instances, this may simply mean scrubbing stains with strong soap and water. In other cases, this could mean pulling out the big guns by using stripping agents, solvents, sanding or grinding. Whatever you do, make sure you clean the surface thoroughly. The staining process won’t cover up any unsightly areas on the surface, so make sure they are gone before you begin.

  3. 3.Apply the stain

    The instruments you use to apply the stain will vary depending on the size of the surface you are staining. You can use anything from a spray bottle, to a watering can to pump sprayers. You can even use traditional paint brushes. Whatever you use, make sure you are protected. Use goggles, gloves and a face mask while applying the stain. Always apply a small amount of tester stain to an out-of-the-way portion of the surface before doing the whole thing. Oh – and if you are staining new concrete wait a bit before staining. Some experts suggest waiting about two weeks.

  5. 4.Back off

    Give the stain time to work. Make sure that no one walks on it and nothing comes in contact with it because any marks left on the stain in this stage can be permanent. Know that the effect the stain has on the concrete will vary every time – that’s part of the beauty.


    Concrete staining is a great way to make your house look more unique and special. Staining can improve boring old grey concrete, but remember – it can only go so far in hiding faults and imperfections. Complete the job carefully and you’ll have your very own piece of art to enjoy for a long time.

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