Concrete Staining, Stamping: Improve the Appearance of Concrete Surfaces

There are many new ways of adding to the curb appeal of a home, whether it is new, or decades old. A popular method is to make the driveways and walkways a focal point. Brick, stone, and other similar surfaces take much work to lay down piece by piece and can be expensive (and are not as durable). There are more options to make concrete areas more attractive and better accent details of the home. Concrete stamping and staining are popular ways of adding flair to driveways or patios at a fair price.

Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete is usually done in combination with staining. It is the process of stamping dimensional patterns into a wet concrete surface. The result of the process is a look that combines the elegance of masonry work with the lasting, durable nature of concrete. The options for patterns are nearly endless, ranging from tiles, stones, and bricks to herringbone, and fan-shaped limestone.

For old concrete in good condition, it can be scoured, cleaned, and even cut or carved with a concrete saw and other special tools to achieve similar effects.

Staining Concrete

New concrete can be stained or colored as it is poured. Old concrete, if in good shape, can be stained as well, through a slightly different method. Acid stains give concrete a stone appearance, and through different methods, can result in variegated, splotchy, or mottled textures. The colors are generally run red, brown, or green. The color is not paint. It comes from a chemical reaction between the concrete and the chemicals applied.


A contractor should first thoroughly clean the concrete to remove dirt, grease, paint, and sealer. These pollutants will keep the acid based stains from penetrating the concrete, and the stain will not take.

Next, the acid stain is applied, and different techniques are used to create desired textures. After allowing the stain to cure the correct amount of time, the contractor will wash off the acid solution and sweep the concrete, and the concrete stain is complete.

New concrete stain is achieved by adding coloring agents to dry concrete before mixing with water, or it can be applied to poured concrete, and floated in various stages and amounts before finishing.

Hiring a Contractor

For this project to be successful, many things have to be carefully considered, and it is important to hire a contractor that is knowledgeable and experienced in the art of decorative concrete. This means that the lowest bidder might isn’t always be the best contractor for the job.

Ask potential contractors for references, and portfolios. Many contractors will give a discount to customers who agree to allow their concrete to be photographed for a portfolio, or to provide a reference. Make sure to check the references. Call the Better Business Bureau to see if your contractor has any complaints..

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