That depends on your situation! If you’re just looking to provide color to your patio, then a stain is great: when sealed over the top and then thoroughly polished, it can look absolutely gorgeous without very much effort on your part, indoors or outside.
However, if you want to entirely cover up a concrete patio - hiding any damage or unsightly marks - then paint is better.
Unfortunately, though, that means a lot more work on your part, because it requires much preparation before the paint will take.
Stains are translucent, so although they will alter the color of the concrete patio, they’re not going to hide anything that you’re looking to cover up.
Paint is more effort, though, and should be saved for instances where the concrete needs sealing.
Another perk of staining is that it is applied easily - all you have to do is give the patio a good scrub and then coat liberally by using a sprayer.
To paint successfully you must first prepare the patio with muriatic acid, which can be dangerous if inhaled.
This strips away anything that could prevent the paint from drying unevenly, though it does mean that once dry, there’s no need for a seal on top, as the color won’t weaken or degrade.
Stains on the other hand require sealing for a really bright finish.
Can I Color My Concrete Patio?
Yes! There are several methods you can use to transform your patio from a drab, dirty grey to bold and beautiful.
If you haven’t yet laid the concrete, the easiest way to add color to your patio is integrally, adding directly into the mix before pouring.
Pigments are added to the concrete and then it is mixed thoroughly so that the color is even and the same all the way through.
Plus, this means that it won’t ever fade or chip away because it hasn’t been added over the top of an existing pour.
Another popular method is staining, which is a very simple way to add a subtle or earthier color to your existing concrete.
It looks very natural and can match well with outdoor surroundings, usually in shades of terracotta, brown, tan, and nude.
It penetrates deeply beyond the surface of the concrete, resulting in a successful and UV-stable stain that won’t fade over time after exposure to the sun.
Unfortunately, a stain remains quite translucent, so can’t be used to cover up marks or damage.
You may also want to dye your concrete patio! This is by far the most time-consuming method, as although any method of coloring requires prep, the dye needs a more thorough method of preparation using acid or it won’t stick.
That said, once all the hard work is done, as long as you scrubbed the patio up well, dyes offer the best finish and you can also find them in a huge variety of colors.
Want something weird and wonderful like purple? Go with dye!
Can You Epoxy A Concrete Patio?
Yes! As an especially versatile flooring, epoxy can be used both outside and indoors, on a variety of materials.
Whether you want a nice natural stone style or a color that’s a little more customized, it’s an easy way to transform an outside space.
If your surface is stained, cracked or otherwise damaged, epoxy works fantastically well to cover that up.
It’s a great way to avoid having to rip up and re-pour your patio, which is an expensive and messy process that takes a much longer time.
Working to fill in and cover up unsightly flaws, then adding a protective coating that prevents the formation of future damage, it doesn’t need any special training to apply - just a brush, a roller and a sunny afternoon of work! Anyone can do it.
Being both durable, waterproof and UV-resistant, epoxy is a popular option for patio protection, especially when you have a large family, many visitors or a lot of animals.
It can turn a sad and dingy looking patio into a gorgeous outdoor haven overnight.
You can find epoxy in so many different colors and shades and it is often very budget-friendly in comparison to other options.
You can get two-part epoxy that’s a more expensive but creates a non-slip finish that withstands years of wear and tear.
How Long Does Concrete Patio Paint Last?
Approximately ten years! This is the maximum period of time that patio paint will last without needing to be touched up or redone altogether, though the exact limit depends on a variety of factors and variables.
Perhaps the most important part is the preparation stage.
Unlike staining, which won’t cover up dirt or damage anyway, a properly applied coat of patio paint is able to completely conceal what’s underneath… so long as you prepare correctly!
First you’re going to want to apply a degreaser and give it a good and thorough scrub down, hosing away all of the gunk and grime that has accumulated since the concrete was initially poured.
A power washer is always helpful in this instance!
Then you really want to get in there with some muriatic acid - this requires a protective mask and gloves, as inhalation or prolonged contact has dangerous repercussions - in order to penetrate the top layer of concrete and really clean it.
Another thing you can do to lengthen the paint’s lifespan is to fill in any crevices or cracks, removing old mortar and refilling to ensure the surface is as smooth and thorough as possible.
You may well need to seal over the top of the concrete, too!
An easy way to tell if you should seal your concrete is to tape some plastic wrap to the patio and then leave it for the night - be sure it is flat and the edges are secure.
The next day, if there’s moisture beneath the wrap, sealing is your best bet.
So long as you take your time on all of the above and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for properly applying the paint, allowing it to dry completely before replacing any furniture (make sure it won’t rain!) you should get a decade out of it.