This beautiful patio concrete stain job in Dallas, TX shows us just what staining can do. This freshly poured pad only required a light cleaning to get it ready for the stain. Acid staining holds up very well to the elements because it's not a paint that can peel up after a few years under our harsh Texas sun. Since it actually changes the color of the concrete, the only way to remove it is to gouge or chip the surface. Normal maintenance to keep it looking like new is to seal it every two or three years with a good quality concrete sealer.
Sealer is a very important component of decorative concrete, including this patio concrete stain project. It helps make the color of a concrete floor "pop," especially if it's a solvent based sealer. Water based sealers are also good but just don't move the color like the solvent based sealer. Many of the big box stores sell concrete sealer, but it's usually water based. How can you tell the difference? Solvent based concrete sealers are completely transparent and have a very strong smell. Water based sealers have a milky appearance and low odor.
The sealer penetrates the patio concrete stain and goes into its pores, slowing future water penetration and minimizing unwanted staining that comes from things like rusting flower pot holders, leaves, and other stuff that gets left on the patio. A good grade concrete sealer can last for years before needing to be reapplied and usually just requires power washing the floor before putting it down again. One thing we always do when we seal patio concrete stain projects is to include some type of skid resistant agent in the sealer coat. A sealed concrete floor on its own can be a little slippery. By incorporating a skid guard, slipperiness is reduced. One type of skid guard we use is called "Shark Grip" which consists of very finely ground polyethylene beads. These plastic beads are mixed into the sealer, which is then sprayed onto the floor. The beads are spread in a thin layer and act like transparent sandpaper particles, decreasing how slippery the sealer is, even when wet. In the next project, we show you how to take care of interior decorative concrete floors after we've stained them.