Everything You Need to Know about Decorative Concrete for Your Patio

by Grace Motley

Suburban homes are known for having a ubiquitous square of concrete off their back door. In lieu of a dull, gray patio, many people are choosing to add a decorative finish to their concrete to improve its appearance. 

1. How can you improve the look of your concrete?

Applying a decorative finish is an inexpensive way to improve the look for your concrete patio. There are simple, do-it-yourself techniques as well as more involved methods that require professional expertise to change the look of the concrete. You can upgrade an existing patio or you can plan on adding decorative concrete at the time the concrete is poured. 

2. What are your options?

When you want to change the look of your backyard patio, there are several methods to choose from, including:

  • Paint. The quickest and easiest way to add a decorative element to your concrete patio is to paint the concrete. You can paint it a neutral color, like white or beige, or you can add a burst of color, like bright yellow. The decision depends on your design aesthetic. 
  • Stencil. Another easy fix for a dull patio is to paint a stencil on the concrete. Stencils range from checkerboard patterns and stripes to detailed lace designs. You could even stencil a line from your favorite poem or song. 
  • Stamp. Stamped concrete is a method best left to the professionals as it involves stamped a design imprint into freshly poured concrete. The design pattern can make the concrete look like stones, antique bricks, and even wood planks. 
  • Stain. Stain can be applied to concrete in various ways. Powdered stain can be applied to wet concrete and liquid stained can be rubbed onto existing concrete. Both leave a translucent color on the concrete. 

Be sure to start with a clean patio that is in good condition or a new patio that has had plenty of time to cure before applying any decorative finish. 

3. Do you need to prep and seal the surface?

It is a good idea to powerwash existing concrete before applying any decorative paint or stain. Starting with a clean surface helps the finish create a better bond with the surface and helps it last longer. Concrete that has oil or other stubborn stains can be cleaned with a solvent to assist in removal. Once you finish the process, you should apply a sealer after it has cured and yearly thereafter. This will help maintain the look of your newly decorated concrete. 

Decorative concrete options can change the look and feel of your backyard. Contact local contractors to learn more.