Two-to-three shades of exterior concrete paint or stain
Concrete floor sealer
Upholstery foam (optional)
As a patio material, concrete is affordable, durable, and easy to clean. But it can look a little drab. If you’re looking to enliven your concrete patio, one option is to paint it to resemble the kind of elegant natural stone patio that would command a significant sum to install. The cost of a flagstone patio, for example, can rise as high as $15 to $20 per square foot.
Read on to learn how to select and blend concrete-appropriate paints to mimic the appearance of stones and how to prepare and paint the concrete surface.
Plan Your Design and Choose the Right Colors
Before purchasing supplies and getting started on the patio, you should plan the design of your faux stone patio and figure out which color combinations will best resemble the stone of your choice. Look online to compare different types of natural stones and browse projects from local hardscaping and patio paver companies.
Natural stones are usually multicolored, defined by one overall background color, and then accented with mottles and speckles in at least one or two different shades. Once you have determined your favorites, decide which color you’ll need for a background shade and which shades you’ll need for accents. To achieve the look of flagstone, for instance, you want a patchwork of different gray or tan hues, with the lightest being the background color.
Paint a Concrete Patio to Resemble Stone in 6 Steps
Prep the Space
Clear away all patio furniture, potters, and other objects sitting on the concrete. If there are nearby outlets or hose faucets, apply a layer of painter’s tape.
Clean the Concrete
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For a clean, attractive paint job, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the patio before proceeding. Apply a degreaser and pressure wash the concrete. Let it dry completely. Apply strips of painter’s tape over any areas you don’t want to paint.
Apply Your Primer
Using a roller, apply a coat of neutral shade of concrete primer evenly over the patio surface. Concrete bonding primer is viscous, so it goes on like a thick slab of white glue, but it will dry clear. Let it sit until the primer is fully dry. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the can you purchase, but in general, concrete primer requires at least one hour to dry. Remember: you must apply paint no more than four hours after.
Add The Background Stain
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With a fresh roller (or after cleaning the paint roller you already used), apply the coat of stain you chose as your background color, evenly covering the whole surface. Wait two hours—or as long as the instructions recommend—for the first coat to dry. Now add a second coat, pressing a little harder in places to create an uneven hue to better resemble natural stone.
Create and Paint Your Stone Outlines
There are a few different ways you might lay down a natural stone design before applying the next coat of paint.
You can simply draw an outline on top of the background coat, using chalk and stencils or concrete stamps, marking out distinct stone shapes. Using your smaller brush, paint the edges of each “stone” with your darkest shade of paint, blending it carefully to mimic shadow. Use your sponge to apply daps of your final accent shades, speckling each stone. Play around with different colors and ways of placing them to find the best method.
Alternatively, you can cut shapes out of upholstery foam with your craft knife. Cut each piece to size, keeping the edges straight. Once you have cut enough of these faux stones to cover the patio space, play with the arrangement to find the best, most natural-looking one. Lay down a plastic tarp and pour out of a big pool of your lighter shade paint. Then repeat, making two separate, smaller pools of your accent colors. Take one of your stone shapes and dip it into the pool of paint, moving it around to begin slowly mixing the shades. Once you’ve coated one side of the foam, press it down to the floor, transferring the paint. Repeat with each foam shape, lining them up in the manner of stone flooring.
Dry and Seal
Once everything looks right, let the patio fully dry, sitting untouched for 48 hours. Apply your concrete floor sealer. Once it drives, remove all the painter’s tape. Voila! Your concrete patio now appears to be beautiful natural stone.