I have a concrete patio approx 28 x15 feet. When it was originally poured(about 16 yrs ago) I had color put in it and an impression stamped. I think at the time the color was added using powder and then the impression stamped in. I have tried to keep it sealed over the years. However, much of the patio has become discolored. It still looks good where the sun doesn't hit it, but the rest (about 95%) looks terrible. I'm trying to figure out my options. I think the best may be an overlay, but I also think that may be the most expensive. I've been told that stain may not adhere because of the way the color was put in. Another option would be to paint it with concrete paint. What would be the best and most economical way to fix this? Any help would be appreciated.
If the color that is there now is the result of being mixed in with the concrete pour then you can stain or paint the surface with little more surface prep other than pressure washing. If this is a slab that takes people traffic only, then a surface stain or paint will last for several years. If it sees auto traffic, then much less so. I would lean towards a stain as it will work by soaking into the concrete.
Thank you so much for the quick reply. I was leaning toward a stain also, but I was told that due to the color differences in the patio now that a stain may not produce a uniform color. Is that a possibility? That is what I really want to avoid.
Unfortunately that is true. Stain works by soaking into the surface that is to be colored. Anything that is already within the concrete - like any solvent spills or even hard to remove natural dirt - will alter the way the stain absorbs in that area. Best example would be if you had an area that had an oil spill in the past. While the stain will cover it, odds are that you will still see the 'spot' as a discolored area of the stain.
Paint will cover things like that better, but the down-side to paint is that as a pure surface coating, it will wear faster. Also, if there are areas with things like oil, they would need to be thoroughly cleaned to allow the paint to stick.
Another possibility - If your original concrete had a color mixed throughout, a really good pressure washing will improve it's overall look. The thing is, if the color was just a surface treatment when the pad was originally poured, pressure washing could remove some of the color and make it look worse.
I've tried the pressure washing, no good. The area does not get anything other than foot traffic. I may end up having to paint it. Should I use a primer before I paint to help with adhesion? And I want a shiny finish, so I guess I could use a gloss paint. A shiny sealer isn't an option with paint, is it?
I've heard about overlays, but I think that might cost more than I'm wanting to spend now. Do you know much about that?
Thanks again for your quick and very helpful response.
There are solid color, exterior stains available for concrete surfaces.
Check with Sherwin Williams paint stores?
You can add a clear coat over the top that is also exterior and shiny, if you want.
Or go with a 2-part epoxy if you want a shiny surface. Be aware though the if it's smooth surface to start out with by adding a shiny paint it will get really slick when wet.
Depending on your climate, I would be careful with choosing the epoxy paint? Once it starts to peel...it can be a real eyesore.
If the solid stain can work for you, it may eventually abrade/wear away with traffic, but not be as difficult to touch up.
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