Concrete Stains & Sealers

Concrete need not be boring. Stain can add color to a concrete surface, setting the tone for an area's entire décor. No matter where you apply stain, though, properly seal it to ensure a long-lasting finish.

Concrete Stain Brands
Multiple paint manufacturers offer stains for concrete. Benjamin Moore Concrete Stain works for both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It resists hot tire pick-up and repels water, making it perfect for both garage and patio alike. This epoxy-modified acrylic-latex stain has a low-luster sheen and comes in an assortment of custom and ready-mixed colors, from earth tones to cool grays and blues, offering seemingly endless design options.

Behr offers two types of interior and exterior concrete stains: Solid Color Concrete Stain and Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain. The tintable solid-color stain uses a 100-percent acrylic-resin formula to create a long-lasting opaque film. Use it for color uniformity on your concrete floor, but choose the semi-transparent stain if you want the texture of the concrete to shine through as is often the case with concrete countertops in an industrial-style home.

Concrete Stain Solid Color Water-Based from Sherwin-Williams also proves suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. It bonds to concrete to protect against fading peeling and flaking, and it resists UV rays. It can be tinted with any of the paint manufacturer's 1,500 paint colors, or you can choose from 10 premixed colors. The blue of Bombay Breeze would work well on the patio of a home near the water, while Terra Cotta would suit the concrete surfaces of a Southwestern-style house best.

All of these products can be used to create one-color surfaces, as well as multi-color surfaces with more intricate designs. Concrete designs rival those achieved with tile in terms of both complexity and attractiveness, and they often are used in place of tile as a more affordable option.

Concrete Sealers
Four different types of sealer exist on the market: penetrating sealers, acrylics, polyurethanes and epoxies. Which one you use depends on the surface itself.

For example, a penetrating sealer suits an exterior concrete floor best and offers a natural matte finish. Acrylic sealers worth well both inside and out, offering one of the more economical options, as well as one of the quickest drying. Polyurethanes also suit interior and exterior surfaces, and they resist scuffs and staining well, making them popular for the sealing of both floors and concrete countertops. You should avoid using epoxy sealers outside, as UV rays can turn them yellow over time.

No matter which you ultimately choose, do choose one. A sealed concrete surface resists the elements, stains, wear and tear, and it cleans up easier than a non-sealed surface. Sealer leads to a longer-lasting surface that you can enjoy for many years to come.

Selection and Application
When deciding how to best stain and seal your concrete surface, enlist the help of a professional painter. A painter can tell you what works best in your area of the country, in terms of both climate and aesthetic. He also can point out the many possibilities on your property. While you may have initially only considered staining and sealing a concrete patio or garage floor, your driveway and walkways also could benefit from the addition of color and/or design. The concrete surfaces in your home deserve the same consideration you put into, say, your wall colors throughout.

Your painter also can help with application, as it proves a tricky process for first-time DIYers, one in which mistakes may not be easily undone. While certain sealers can dry within the hour, others take much longer and require proper preparation and protection while drying to ensure a clean finish. Many homeowners decide to leave this job to the professionals.

This post is a part of our series on Exterior Painting tips.

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