Things You'll Need
Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
4 gallons water-based exterior concrete sealer, high-gloss
1 gallon exterior latex paint, flat, tinted
5-gallon bucket grid
Roller covers for rough surfaces
Experiment in an inconspicuous place or on an extra paver; test the color before applying to the entire surface.
Have the paint tinted to a darker shade than you want for the finished project since adding water and sealer will significantly lighten the color.
Sponge the paint onto the concrete if you're working on a small surface or if you want the concrete to have a marbled appearance.
When changing the color of terra-cotta concrete bricks, consider the underlying color before selecting a new hue. For example, applying a translucent blue over a terra-cotta brick may not be a successful color combination.
Add decorative designs by masking with tape or an adhesive stencil. Stipple or paint with a darker or contrasting sealer and paint mixture, using a paintbrush or small roller.
Allow the roller covers to dry completely before putting them in the trash.
Commercially prepared concrete stains and dyes are available from local retailers and online.
Wear gloves and safety glasses when working with pavers, mixing paint or applying sealer.
Do not mix oil-based and water-based products.
Use extreme caution if you decide to mix acid and pigments to make a concrete stain; recipes found on the Internet may not be safe for the average do-it-yourselfer.
Add a splash of color to your home landscape by staining the concrete walk, bricks or pavers in the garden. By using readily available water-based products, the do-it-yourself homeowner can change the plain gray concrete to match or contrast with the existing hardscape. Unlike acid-wash processes, this solution does not require acid, ammonia or other potentially toxic ingredients to color the concrete.
Mix the trisodium phosphate, or TSP, with water according to the manufacturer's directions. Scrub the concrete or concrete pavers with the TSP mixture and a stiff brush. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water. Allow to dry.
Apply two coats of concrete sealer over the concrete or pavers using a roller or paintbrush, according to the manufacturer's directions. Let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat. Let the second coat dry completely.
Mix equal parts of the sealer, the exterior paint and water in the 5-gallon bucket.
Hang the bucket grid on the inside of the 5-gallon bucket.
Roll the paint roller into the paint and up and down the grid, removing the excess paint mixture.
Roll over the concrete, applying an even coat of the translucent paint mixture. Allow to dry. If you want a darker color, add another coat of paint.
Touch up around the edges of the concrete with the paintbrush.
Roll three coats of concrete sealer over the stained concrete. Allow each coat to dry completely before walking on the finished surface.
Ruth de Jauregui
With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.