For a soon-to-be-poured concrete area, purchase a powdered dye to mix into wet concrete. With this approach, as the masonry wears, newly-exposed surfaces show a consistent color.
If your concrete came with your home, blend the nondescript gray into surrounding plantings using an easy staining technique.
Some stains involve acid etching, which initiates a chemical reaction between the staining solution and the concrete to fashion a colorfast surface.
Other stains create a rich palette that mimics marble.
Combining staining and etching techniques yields the look of cobblestone.
Explore the options and browse color swatches at a local home improvement store or on the Internet before committing to one particular procedure.
Choose a color that blends with the surrounding.
1. Choose a color. Concrete staining techniques work on individual pavers as well as on slabs. Stains may not hide concrete defects or discoloration, but cracks give the surface a weathered look. Remember that stains, like paint, appear darker when spread over a large area. Unify separate rooms by using hues in the same color family. Stain masonry surfaces (including upright ones) throughout your garden. Apply stain to existing surfaces or to new ones using the same techniques.
2. Clean the concrete. Water-based stain, which won't harm the environment, will adhere only to clean, dry concrete. Use a concrete cleaner, following the manufacturer's directions. Cleaning concrete requires nothing more than a scrub brush and old-fashioned elbow grease. Wear rubber gloves and knee pads for protection. Allow cleaned surfaces to dry thoroughly before staining them.
3. Begin to stain. Before you start staining, dab a little on an inconspicuous spot to check the effect. Use a manual pump sprayer to apply stain. Protect surrounding surfaces, including plants, from donning a new hue by covering them with tarps or old sheets. Apply as many coats of stain as the manufacturer suggests. If you stain steps or vertical elements, such as concrete columns, trade the pump for a paintbrush for better results. Apply a sealant if you wish.