Now that the pool deck was resurfaced, I couldn’t turn a blind eye away from the crap-tacular concrete patio. I tried…I even bought a large outdoor area rug for a great deal at Ross ($27, thank you very much) to cover it and pretend it didn’t exist. But alas…it didn’t match the color scheme and in all honesty, it bugged me.
So I pulled out the trusty iPad and I Googled. And Pinterested. And You-Tubed. I bought a magazine at Lowe’s that had an article about covering with pavers. I looked a little further into this, and found that 1) it was a little too expensive for what I wanted to spend and 2) it wouldn’t look right- the patio concrete runs right into a stamped concrete walkway- so it would end up being raised. Other options were to re-surface with concrete (like icing a cake), tiling, painting, or staining. I considered tiling, but the tiling job I had done in the past was not easy and after pricing supplies, I found it more expensive than I wanted.
I decided on staining. In hindsight, painting might have been a better choice because there were cracks and chips that showed through the semi-transparent stain I used, but I liked the look of the stain better. I had an ambitious dream to stain the patio to look like “tiles”. Thanks, Pinterest!
When prepping the pool deck for resurfacing (see my last post), I had already cleaned and etched the patio surface with Rustoleum Cleaner & Degreaser, then the Rustoleum Clean and Etch. I had a large crack in the concrete, as well as gouges that came from God-knows-where. I used a pre-mixed concrete crack filler to fill the crack, and the cement patcher to cover the gouges.
The crack filler was easy to use- just apply into the crack. No need to trowel, according to the instructions, but I wanted to flatten it as much as possible so I used a putty knife (and my finger). The cement patcher was a little more laborious for me. Only because I’m a newbie. I added the water per the instructions, but I mixed it in the bucket it came in which was a pretty dumb idea. Note to self: use a bigger bucket in the future. When mixing, it splattered onto my patio and I had a hard time getting it thoroughly mixed. I used a paint stirrer, but something more sturdy would have been a lot easier.
Regardless, I eventually got it mixed and spread over the gouges, and trowelled flat (well, as flat as possible). It dried quickly, which was good for my impatient soul. Then I sanded flat, and had my husband sand again.
Here is the prepped and patched patio:
Now for the staining. In my head, I wanted to use the darker color stain first, then apply a lighter “highlight” color. After further research, I learned that the lighter stain should go first. Behr has numerous colors the stain can be tinted to- I wanted a stone/ tile/ southwest-looking color, so we chose the Behr Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain in “Saltillo”, and the darker color “Moroccan Dunes”. The images below look similar, but the “Saltillo” is actually pretty light, which you’ll see in the photos below.
Next, I prepped the area. I bought some plastic sheeting to place over the surrounding areas as I planned to apply the stain with a sprayer. Then I was ready for the base coat.
I had purchased a garden sprayer, because based on what I read online, it was preferred over a paint sprayer. The dude who works in the paint department at my local Home Depot said I can use any garden sprayer- so I bought a high-quality one. Note: make sure it has a fine mist option. You’ll find out why later. Mine did not.
I put some of the stain into the sprayer, and pressurized it. I nervously started spraying. From what I saw online, using a circular motion while spraying created a stone-look. Mine looked like a paint-spatter-look, since I did not have a fine mist option on my sprayer. Hmmm. Good thing I though ahead, and had a paint roller waiting. I ended up back-rolling the paint and came out with a uniform base color (note the Saltillo appears lighter than the pic above). Then I had to wait 24 hours before taping.
OK, here’s the terrifying part: taping out the design. I knew I wanted a border around the perimeter of the patio. I couldn’t find any 1/2 inch tape anywhere, so I ordered from Amazon. From what I understand, automotive stores may carry 1/2 inch tape for detailing. I found it easier to just order it. I measured 4 inches from the edge of the patio, and taped a straight-lined border. For the “tiles”, I wanted a diagonal layout. So I started in a corner and taped diagonally 18 inches apart. This was challenging- to keep the measurements uniform. I recommend having a second person helping and measuring with you. Also, make sure the tape adheres well to the concrete.
Since I wanted a darker border, I started by using a nylon paint brush to paint the “Moroccan Dunes” around the border. I used two coats for this step.
By this time, the sun was starting to go down, but I didn’t care. I wanted to git-er-dun. After the border dried, I poured the darker stain into the sprayer and got ready to spray it on. I guess I’m a DIY optimist, because for some reason I thought the sprayer would work this time. It did not. It looked like a murder scene, thanks to the reddish-brown stain we chose. Luckily, hubby was standing behind me and I sent him in to get another roller- a sponge-textured one (I wanted a stone-look, dangit!). I quick put the sponge roller on and it looked like Sponge Bob wandered through the afore-mentioned murder scene. Plan C: I ran in and got a regular sponge (the kind you wash your car with) and started spreading it out. Looked much better, although my foot prints showed, and I was tracking them everywhere. Now I looked like I wandered through a murder scene. Didn’t matter to me, because once I got the hang of applying via a sponge, it was starting to look really awesome. Even though I was a mess.
After it felt dry to the touch, I removed the tape. Some of the darker stain seeped under the tape into the “grout” lines, but I just went the next morning and touched it up with the Saltillo (light) stain.
I let everything dry for 24 hours, then used Behr Low-Luster Sealer to seal it. I chose the low-luster sealer because we have a pool, and the wet-look would most likely result in wet kids slipping and falling. However, I applied two coats of the sealer, and when I later let my dog out, he skidded on the newly refinished surface!
Here is the patio a week later- we love it!