A paved driveway is a great convenience, it allows you to get in and out of your car without having to trudge through mud. But, plain old concrete isn’t very attractive and when you’ve spent lot’s of time and money on making the outside of your home beautiful, concrete just looks so plain!
You can easily transform that cold, hard concrete into a driveway that looks like warm, inviting stone. You can stain concrete in many different ways, you can just give it some color or you can actually make it look like stone. Todays products make it much easier to give your concrete driveway a finished desirable look that will compliment your homes exterior.
When you shop for stains, try to avoid acid based stains, they’re much harder to apply than other types. But, they usually provide a much deeper, richer color. Water based stains aren’t just easier to use, they’re also much safer. But, water based stains can also come out looking opaque sometimes.
You can simply measure the length and width of your driveway and take the measurements with you when purchasing stain to make sure you buy enough. The very first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure that your concrete is as clean as possible. Any grease, dirt or grime on the concrete will keep the stain from adhering and it will quickly peel or flake off.
A good quality degreasing product is usually sufficient enough to clean the concrete properly. The best way to clean it is with a pressure washer, if you don’t own one, many home imporvement stores rent them. Once you’ve cleaned the entire driveway, let it dry throughly and then sweep it to get off any remaining dirt.
You should never try to stain concrete that hasn’t been poured for at least 28 days, it will need time to cure. Cover all of the items surrounding the driveway with a plastic sheet or even large drop cloths. If your concrete has powdery, white stains it’s a sign that salt is seeping up through the concrete from the soil. A efflorescence blocker should be applied before applying the stain to prevent the salt from coming back through.
You can apply the stain by hand, but it’s much faster and easier if you use a paint sprayer. If you want to achieve the look of stone, you’ll need to apply several coats of the stain. Start in one of the corners of the driveway and spray the first coat in a nice even layer. Follow the directions for drying time, usually about an hour, but it could be as much as 24 hours.
Continue spraying the stain on the driveway in the same way. But, to get the appearance of stone, skip some areas with each coat. You want the layers to have a mottled look to give it shading. Make sure that you let the stain dry good between each coat and just keep applying the stain until you achieve the look you want.
When you’ve finally got all the layers looking just the way you want, let it dry for at least 24 hours. You’ll need to try to block the driveway off to keep any animals or visitors from walking on your newly stained surface.
Now you’re ready to apply a sealant with a low napped roller. Just like there are different types of stains, there are different types of sealers. Some sealants will give the concrete a wet, shiny finish, it looks good, but will be very slick when it’s raining. There are slip resistant and non-skid sealants available that can help prevent falls.