How to Dye Concrete Patios

Lead Image
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 45-250
What You'll Need
Concrete cleaner
Safety glasses
Latex gloves
Concrete dye
Paintbrush or sprayer

Concrete patios make a wonderful relaxation area but they can look very plain. You can make your concrete patio look special, even unique, by applying a dye to it in either a single color or in a pattern. You can even make the concrete patio into a work of art if you have the talent for it. Expect the job to last all weekend and, because the dyes are water-soluble, the clean-up is very easy once you’ve finished.

Step 1 - Making Plans

Before you consider applying the dye to the concrete patio, you need to have a very good plan of what you’re going to do. Will it is one color, or will you make a pattern? What colors will you use? You need to look at swatches of the available colors before deciding. If it’s going to be a pattern, you need to trace it out on a grid so you can refer to it as you work.

Step 2 - Checking the Concrete

You will need to be sure that the dye will work on the concrete. Do this by taping off a small corner and applying the dye. Paint it on and leave overnight. If the color remains strong, you can proceed and dye the concrete patio. However, if the color has faded, you will first need to strip the sealant off the concrete then sand it down. This is in order for the dye to penetrate the concrete properly.

Step 3 - Cleaning the Concrete

To clean the concrete and prepare it for the dye, first, sweep the patio clean then hose it down. Next, use a concrete cleaner and your buffer to ensure the surface is smooth. Leave the patio to dry overnight so it will be ready for the dye.

Step 4 - Mixing the Dye

Take your dye concentrate and pour it into a 5-gallon bucket. Add water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you can also use acetone or alcohol. This dilutes the dye to the correct shade. If you want the shade lighter, add a little more water.

Step 5 - Applying the Dye

You apply the dye to the concrete patio with a paintbrush. However, if you prefer, you can use an airbrush, paint sprayer or even a sponge. The color needs to be even so you need to apply it quite thickly to ensure good coverage.

If you’re planning a pattern, you’ll need to lay it out on the patio beforehand rather than going freehand with the brush. To do this, take your grid tracing which should be to scale and mark out the pattern very lightly in pencil on the patio. The dye will be thick enough to cover the marking.

Take special care where two colors join. You will need to allow the first color to dry first before you apply the second. For patterns, it’s best to work with a paintbrush since this will give the sharp edge that you require.

When you’ve finished using the dye on the concrete patio, allow it to dry for a full 24 hours then apply a sealant to keep the color bright.