Using concrete for patios is highly recommended. However, if you just leave it as it is, it can be unpleasant to look at and it lacks the protection it needs to last longer. There are ways to make it look more presentable and to keep it protected from damage. The most common is applying paint or concrete stain. Here are is some information to help you decide which one is more appropriate for your concrete patio.

Concrete Paint

Paints come in different kinds. There are oil-based types and there are those which are water-based, also known as latex paint. Oil-based paint is more durable although it has an unpleasant odor that goes away when the paint is completely dry. Water-based or latex paint is odorless and it can be thinned with water for easier application. It is a more eco-friendly option and spills and splatters can be cleaned with water. Both are often applied in layers to make the color a lot more opaque and bold. It is great to use on concrete patios if you want aesthetics that make a strong impact even from afar.

The downside to paint is that it creates a film on top of the concrete. It does not penetrate. For this reason, long exposure to heat, water, and other outdoor elements could make it separate from the concrete and crack, flake, and peel.

Stained Concrete

Concrete stains are a lot thinner than paint. There is a concrete acid stain and a water-based stain. The acid type penetrates deep into the concrete and dries in a semi-translucent color. It has metallic salts that, when exposed to lime and the natural minerals in concrete, create effects that make the concrete look like a stone or leather slab. Acid stains take longer to install because the concrete needs to be etched with muriatic acid or other similar alternatives. The etching process opens up the pores of the concrete, making it easier for the stain to get absorbed. Water-based stain, on the other hand, can easily be applied on a clean concrete surface. It dries in a semi-opaque color. It dries in a uniform color, no effects involved.

The only downside to stains is that it won’t completely hide repairs or blemishes on the concrete patio.

When choosing between paint or stain, you also have to consider how much time you can commit to applying the material, how much maintenance you can squeeze into your to-do list, and how much you are willing to invest. If you can’t decide, consult a local pro who is an expert on both materials.


A concrete patio can be quite boring if left as it is. It may not also last longer than it should if it lacks extra protection. Paint has always been the go-to material for enhancing concrete patios. Oil and water-based paints can cover up blemishes, keep water on the surface, and create aesthetics that truly stand out. Stains, on the other hand, penetrates deep into the slab, creating a colored concrete patio that lasts for years. Acid and water-based stains come in a wide range of colors and each one has its own unique aesthetic properties. Both can improve the appearance of your concrete patio but which one should you choose?