Creating Patterns with Concrete Stain

  • 3-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 350-500
What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Concrete mixer
Concrete stain solution
Releasing agent
Design (such as textured mat)
Leaves, clothes, or rags
Concrete polishing machine (optional)

A concrete stain, if planned well and applied carefully, can considerably boost the visual appeal of a driveway, sidewalk or carport. However, a sloppy stain job draws even more attention to a part of your home that may already be less than appealing. When coating concrete surfaces in or around your home, take the time to design and apply a pattern that is aesthetically appealing.

Unlike paints, concrete stains are available in a limited range of colors. Many stains work effectively when applied evenly to the full surface of concrete, but others may be enhanced by adjusting the stain solution or creating a unique design.

Before staining, it is essential that you experiment with stains on sample sections of concrete. Because each stain will appear unique on different types of concrete, use concrete samples that closely resemble your surface to determine which stain and style are best for the project.

How to Create Patterns

The most common way of creating concrete stain patterns is by texturing. Textures enhance both the color of the stain and the natural irregularities of the concrete to create patterns that are both subtle and appealing. To create patterns in freshly poured concrete while staining, follow these steps:

Step 1: Apply Color to the Concrete Surface

After the concrete is poured, set and prepared for staining, apply an even coat of stain solution and allow it to dry.

Step 2: Apply a Releasing Agent

A releasing agent will prevent any objects that you use to texture the concrete and the stain from sticking to the stained surface. Releasing agents can affect the color of the stain as well.

Step 3: Imprint Patterns Using a Texture Mat

Before the concrete surface dries completely, carefully press a stamping design into the surface to imprint a pattern into the concrete. Texture mats are available for purchase at home improvement stores and are frequently designed to resemble different types of stone.

You may also create patterns in a section of concrete that is already poured and set. After polishing and cleaning the concrete, apply the stain as normal. Before the stain dries, set leaves, cloth, string or other objects on top of the concrete. Do not move them until the stain has had ample time to dry. These objects will affect the color of the stain as it dries, leaving a pattern on the finalized concrete.

A third method of creating stain patterns on a concrete surface does not require a full coat of stain solution. Clean and prepare the concrete surface, but instead of applying an even layer of stain to the concrete, dip leaves, cloth or string into stain solution and rest them on the concrete surface to dry. This method creates a lighter concrete base with darker stain patterns filling in.

WARNING: Be careful to wear protective gloves while handling objects soaked in stain solution.

For additional ideas and pattern designs, consult a home improvement expert at your local outdoor equipment store. With careful planning and execution, your stained concrete surface will enhance the look and feel of your home or garden.