finish an existing stamped concrete patio

by Carol
(KC, MO)

Q. We bought a 2 year old house with an awesome stamped concrete patio. It is a simple design with the veins running through it. I would like to darken it up a bit and would like the brown color to settle into the veins for an antique look. First I was thinking we wanted to do an acid stain, but then read about solvent based pigmented sealer. It said the color would settle into the veins. Is this the route we want to go? How durable is it? Is it easy to upkeep? Would we do 2 coats? Let me know which route you think we should take, acid stain and sealer, or the pigmented sealer. Thank you.

A. Acid stain is a great way to add color to the concrete because it is permanent and will not wear off. Acid stains don't always look like the color on the color chart, you have to be able to accept the end result, there is no removing it after it is applied. If there is already a sealer on the concrete, then acid stain is out of the question.

When we highlight stamped concrete after it has been poured and sealed for a while, we mix some of the powdered color release with mineral spirits and put it in a spray bottle. Then we spray the areas we want to accent with this liquid colored release. This dries very fast leaving the color in the lower areas. Next we seal the concrete with a decorative concrete sealer, wait 24 hrs and seal it again.

If you need to highlight some more, spray some more color on between sealer applications.

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