How to Stain Concrete Paving Stones

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Etching acid
Soap and water
Garden hose
Concrete patch kit
Cotton booties or thick socks

Concrete paving stones look great in your yard or around your garden area, but in their natural state they fail to add color and character. Concrete paint is a decent option, but that easily wears off so staining concrete paving stones is a much better choice. The stain can last longer than painting and you will not ruin the texture of the paving stones, nor will you take away from their beauty. Staining concrete paving stones does take time and the use of chemicals. The following information will provide several tips that you can use in order to stain concrete paving stones effectively.

Step 1 - Check Absorption

Concrete is a material that can absorb water as it is made out of limestone and other materials which are porous. If your concrete paving stones are covered with a sealer this will not happen. If you plan on staining the concrete paving stones then they need to be able to absorb liquid which, in this case, would be the stain. There is a simple test that you can do to make sure the paving stones are ready to accept stain. Use a hose and spray them with water and watch the reaction. If the water beads on the surface then the pavers are treated. If they are not treated the water will be absorbed.

Step 2 - Clean the Paving Stones

Paving stones with weeds growing out of them

Concrete paving stones can become heavily soiled as well as cracked and chipped. All of these issues can create issues with the staining of them. If you happen to stain the paving stones prior to cleaning them or repairing gouges or scratches you will see every detail when the stain sets. Start by pulling weeds and clearing any debris from the area. You can clean the concrete stones with soap and water but they do need to be dry prior to staining. Surface scratches can be repaired by sanding them. Deeper scratches, gouges, and chips can be repaired by using a concrete patch kit. Once the concrete patch has dried you will need to sand it flush to the surface of the concrete paving stones.

Step 3 - Etch the Surface

Concrete needs to have some sort of texture in order to be stained. You can achieve this easily by washing the concrete paving stones with etching acid. You can find this at any home supply store. You simply paint it on the stones with a brush and wait 30 minutes. The acid eats away at the limestone causing the smooth surface to become textured. Wash the pavers down with a water and vinegar mix to neutralize the acid and then scrub the pavers with fresh water.

step 4 - Wear Booties

Patio next to a pool

After you stain the concrete paving stones you want to protect the surface of the pavers. The stain is still fresh and can be ruined by walking on them. Shoes can leave their tread impression in the stain and it will remain in the stain. If you need to walk on the concrete patio pavers soon after you stain them, wear cotton booties or thick socks. You can then walk freely on the stained concrete patio pavers without ruining the finish.