Outdoor Floor Projects

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.
Diamond-Pattern Concrete
Diamond-painted porch floor
A simple design makes a
great impact.

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.

What You Need:

  • Concrete-cleaning solution
  • Concrete etching solution
  • Concrete stain (water reducible acrylic) in two desired colors
  • Goggles and waterproof gloves
  • Push broom
  • Garden hose and water source
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Tape
  • Plastic watering can
  • Roller with extension handle and disposable 3/4-inch roller covers
  • Yardstick or straightedge
  • 8-foot-long piece of molding trim
  • Pencil
  • Painter's tape


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.

Illustration 1

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.

Illustration 2

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.

Illustration 3

5. Using the piece of molding trim as a guide, draw diagonal lines to join the marked points and form the diamond pattern. (See Illustration 3.) Following the marked lines, mask off each alternating diamond with painter's tape.

Illustration 4

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.

Continued on page 2:  "Sisal" Checkered Floorcloth