That bare floor on your porch, deck, or patio poses plenty of promise. Add color and interest underfoot with these decorative treatments that transform exterior spaces into delightful outdoor rooms.
A plain concrete floor on this porch paled in comparison to the pretty railing and sunny surroundings. To complement the home's cottage style, the owner embellished the surface with a classic large-scale harlequin pattern painted in unexpected hues of buttery yellow and terra-cotta. A checkerboard pattern could enliven such a surface equally well. Or, where the blocks intersect, add a flower or another design for personality.
1. Clean the concrete floor with water, using a push broom to scrub the surface or spraying the floor with a garden hose equipped with a pressure nozzle. Let dry. Apply concrete cleaning solution following the manufacturer's instructions, and scrub with a push broom. Rinse off the cleaner with a garden hose.
2. Etch the surface to make the concrete more porous for accepting the stain. Wear safety goggles, waterproof gloves, and any other necessary protection to avoid putting skin in contact with the acid solution. Following the manufacturer's instructions, mix the concrete etching solution and water in a plastic watering can.
3. Evenly sprinkle etching solution mixture on the concrete and scrub with a push broom. Rinse thoroughly three times with a garden hose to remove all residue from the surface and surrounding plants. The surface must dry completely (at least two days) before painting. To test for dryness, tape plastic sheeting to the concrete surface overnight. If the plastic becomes wet underneath, allow the concrete to dry longer. Using a paint roller, apply the light color of concrete stain over the entire surface (yellow was used here -- see Illustration 1.) Let dry 24 hours, then apply another coat if desired. Let dry thoroughly.
4. Determine the desired size of diamonds and how they will be placed on the floor. Using a long straightedge or a yardstick and pencil, start in one corner and mark the width of each diamond across one edge of the floor. Starting at the same corner, work down a perpendicular edge, marking the height of each diamond. Note: For harlequin diamonds, the height of the diamonds will be longer than the width. (See Illustration 2.) Make corresponding width and height marks on the remaining two edges of the floor. For a large floor, you may want to make corresponding marks halfway down or across the floor to make connecting the marks easier.
Roll on the darker color stain (terra-cotta was used here). (See Illustration 4.) Tip: Roll the surface of each diamond only once, applying a thick coat; rolling the wet surface more than once will pull up the base coat. Remove tape before stain dries. Let dry. If another coat is desired, mask off diamonds again and repeat.
6. Let the concrete surface dry 24 hours before walking on it; wait at least two weeks (up to 30 days, depending on humidity levels) before placing furniture or heavy planters on the porch or patio.
Like a rug, this painted floorcloth can be positioned anywhere on the surface and rolls up easily for winter storage. And the vinyl provides a durable, outdoor-friendly surface.
Fashioned using a notched squeegee --and painted on the back side of a vinyl remnant purchased from a home center -- this design imitates alternating squares of sisal. Using the same tool, you might want to try for a striped effect, or you can paint any variety of patterns or designs freehand.
1. Roll exterior latex primer on the reverse side of the vinyl remnant; let dry.
3. Make a combing tool by cutting 1/4-inch-wide notches in the rubber blade of a squeegee. To vary the look of your floorcloth, cut larger or smaller notches. Brush on exterior latex paint of desired color (tan was used here) in the first masked square of the top row. Pull the comb through the square while paint is still wet. (See Illustration 2.) Tip: Work in smooth, even motions with a firm stroke. Practice first on a scrap piece of vinyl or poster board. Use a rag to wipe the comb after every stroke to keep paint from accumulating in the notches.
4. Repeat the technique, making combed lines running in the same direction, in each masked square. Remove tape; let dry.
5. Mask off every other square in the second row, beginning one square to the right of the first painted square; repeat in remaining unpainted rows to create a checkerboard pattern. Repeat painting and combing technique in these masked squares, making combed lines running in the same direction as the previously painted ones. (See Illustration 3.) Remove tape; let dry.
6. Mask off the first unpainted square in the first row. Brush on paint, and pull the comb through the square at a right angle to the previously combed lines. (See Illustration 4.) Pull the comb through the square again, across the lines you just combed. (See Illustration 5.) Remember to wipe the comb with a rag after every stroke. Immediately place the comb in the original position and pull it through the paint again, moving the comb in a zigzag motion. This creates a herringbone pattern. (See Illustration 6.) Remove tape; let dry.
7. Repeat taping, painting, and combing to create a herringbone pattern in all remaining unpainted squares.
8. Let floorcloth dry thoroughly. Seal with two coats of clear satin-finish, water-base polyurethane.
What outdoor room would be complete without a "rug" to anchor your conversation grouping? A few cans of semitransparent deck stain freshened this weathered deck with personality and style. This checkerboard design was positioned slightly off-kilter for the relaxed look of a throw rug; the same pattern could be aligned symmetrically with deck sides.
1. Wash the deck using deck cleaner according to manufacturer's directions and using the push broom to scrub the surface, if needed. Let dry.
3. Mark a second set of lines to create a 6-inch-wide (or desired width) border inside the rug outline, using the T-square and chalk line.
4. Determine the desired size of diamonds to fill rug. Starting one-half the width in from one corner inside the border, use a ruler and chalk to mark the width of each diamond across one edge of the border. Starting at the same corner, work down a perpendicular edge, marking the height of each diamond. Make corresponding width and height marks on the remaining two edges of the border. Diagonally connect the marks with chalk lines to form the diamond shapes. (See Illustration 2.)
6. To apply the stain, use a disposable sponge paint applicator to apply color along the straight edges; fill in color with a tapered-bristle brush. Beginning at the center of the rug, apply the stain to every other diamond and the border. (See Illustration 4.) Let dry. Apply one or two coats of polyurethane, if desired.