Decorate your concrete:
Staining ideas for the Do-it-yourselfer
You can enhance your home's existing concrete surfaces using acid stains,
water based stains, epoxy paints, and scoring techniques. If you're tired of
looking at dull gray concrete, there are some fairly easy projects for the
serious do-it-yourselfer to give your concrete a refreshing new look. Or perhaps
you plan to have some new concrete installed but you don't want plain gray
Decorative concrete work costs double to triple that of regular
concrete and many people simply can't afford it. There are inexpensive ways to
decorate concrete after it has cured without having to pay skilled tradesmen.
Acid based concrete stains are becoming more and more popular for coloring
concrete surfaces. They chemically react with the cementitious material to
produce permanent color with variegated or mottled appearance like that of
marble. This results in a natural, elegant looking surface. Acid stains are
available in 8-10 different colors, mainly brown, green, and reddish earth
tones. The cost is normally $60-$70 per gallon which covers 300-400 square feet.
A coat of clear concrete sealer when you're finished really brings out the
colors and beauty of acid stains. See the "before and after" photos below:
Water based concrete stains are an alternative to acid stains and are much
more user friendly because they're much less toxic. These stains don't
chemically react with the concrete; they are absorbed into the surface pores and
act like a dye. The big advantage of water based stains is the wide array of
colors available. You can find just about any color in the spectrum and create a
more vibrant and consistent appearance. They also normally cost about $60-$70
per gallon which covers 300-400 square feet. See the "before and after" photos
Adding patterns to dull-looking concrete...
If you want to venture beyond the basic staining of concrete, consider using
some scoring techniques to create patterns on the surface. You can make your
concrete look like a tile floor for example. It's up to your imagination. An
angle grinder with a 4 inch grinding or cutting wheel is the ideal tool for
this. The important thing to remember when scoring is to draw the pattern on the
concrete first and make sure you're satisfied with the way it looks because
scoring is irreversible. Most people don't own an angle grinder but you can rent
one at almost any tool rental shop.
Epoxy paints make an excellent coating for garage floors and basement floors.
Many commercial floors have epoxy coatings because of their durability and
resistance to chemical spills as well as their appearance. In recent years,
however, it has become very popular for residential use with an increasing
availability of different colors.
This is not a difficult project, but the key
to successful application is surface preparation. Epoxy paints have also become
available in a water based form making it safe for the do-it-yourselfer and
ideal for indoor applications. They cost a little more than stains. For a 400
square foot garage, you'll spend about $200 for the materials needed for this