How to Stain Concrete Pavers for a Backyard Makeover? A Step-By-Step Guide

Many homeowners look for an inexpensive way to update their outdoor spaces, and staining concrete pavers is a fantastic, cost-effective solution to transform your patio, driveway, or walkways. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every step of how to stain concrete pavers, ensuring you achieve your desired results.

Understanding Concrete Pavers and Stains

Before we delve into the staining process, let’s understand what concrete pavers and stains are.

Concrete pavers, often used for patios, driveways, and walkways, are an ideal material due to their durability and porous surface. They come in various styles, including concrete patio pavers and brick pavers. The porous nature of these pavers, including concrete and brick, means they absorb stains well, giving a long-lasting, durable finish once sealed.

When referring to concrete paving stain or paver stain, the term “stain” refers to a process that imparts color to the paver. The paver absorbs the concrete stain and, as a result, does not peel or fade like paint. This process is known as staining concrete or staining concrete pavers.

Prepping the Concrete Pavers

Before beginning your staining process, determine the condition of your pavers. If they’re new pavers, they’ll require less prep work. However, older, stained pavers may have unwanted stains or residue from oil, dirt, weeds, and other matter. You’ll need to clean these thoroughly to achieve the desired results.

How to Clean the Surface

  • Using a stiff-bristled brush, sweep the surface of the pavers to remove loose dirt and debris. For stubborn stains, use a pressure washer to clean the surface thoroughly.
  • In the case of oil stains, use appropriate chemical products that are specially designed for concrete surfaces. Always scrub in a circular motion for the best results.
  • Once cleaned, apply joint sand to fill the gaps between the pavers, preventing weeds from sprouting and providing a neat appearance. Use a push broom to evenly distribute the sand evenly, ensuring it fills every crevice.
  • Let the pavers dry completely. This is an important step because the stain won’t adhere well to a wet surface. Patience is key, as the hard work you’ve put into preparation will pay off in the final result.

Applying the Concrete Stain

Staining concrete pavers can be accomplished using various methods, but a sprayer provides an even coat and makes the job easier. You may use a pump sprayer or any other type to distribute the stain uniformly.

Applying the First Coat

Concrete stain, especially acid stain, is a popular choice for staining concrete due to its ability to penetrate the surface and provide a permanent color. Begin by applying one coat of the stain using the sprayer. Cover all the pavers evenly, ensuring the stain seeps into the porous surface for a long-lasting result.

Let the first coat dry completely. Depending on the climate and the particular stain used, this can take anywhere from 0/1–2 hours.

Applying Additional Layers

You may want to add additional layers of stain for a darker, richer color. This step is optional and depends on your color preference. If you decide to add another layer, apply it in the same manner as the first one. Two coats usually provide a richer color and better protection against elements.

Sealing the Stained Concrete Pavers

Once your stained concrete pavers are completely dry, the next step is sealing them. Sealing is an essential part of the process that protects the pavers, enhances their color, and gives them a beautiful, glossy finish.

Applying the Sealer

Sealers come in water-based and solvent-based forms. Many homeowners prefer water-based sealers as they’re easier to apply, have less odor, and are easier to clean up.

Use your pump sprayer or a paintbrush to apply the sealer. Much like the staining process, you want to apply it in an even coat, ensuring the entire surface of the paver is covered. Once the sealer is dry, add additional layers for better protection and a glossier finish.

Make sure your sealer doesn’t block the texture of your pavers, which can make them slippery when wet.


Once sealed, your stained concrete patio or driveway should maintain its beautiful color for years. However, the sealer may fade over time due to wear and tear and exposure to the elements. To maintain the vibrant color and protect the pavers, it’s advisable to reseal them every few years.

The Final Result

Your backyard now has a fantastic new look with beautifully stained concrete pavers. This project may require a bit of elbow grease, but the result is a stunning, durable, and refreshed outdoor space. And remember, the process can be repeated on any concrete surface, including concrete patio pavers, brick pavers, and more!

How to Maintain Stained Concrete Pavers

Here are some steps you can take to maintain your stained concrete pavers.

1. Regular Cleaning

The first step in maintaining your stained pavers is regular cleaning. This doesn’t have to be a complex process. Sweep the area with a push broom to remove dirt and debris. Doing this regularly prevents the buildup of dirt that could stain or damage the surface of the pavers.

You can wash your pavers with mild detergent and water for a more thorough cleaning. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the surface gently. Avoid using harsh chemicals as they can fade the stain on the pavers.

2. Removing Stains

Despite your best efforts, stains might occur. When they do, you should act quickly. Leaving stains to sit can make them more difficult to remove and may lead to permanent discoloration.

For oil stains, a simple degreaser should do the trick. Apply the degreaser and scrub the area with a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly with water once the stain is gone.

For other stubborn stains, you might need to use a pressure washer. However, use caution as high pressure can potentially damage the surface of the pavers.

3. Resealing the Pavers

Resealing your pavers every few years is a critical part of maintenance. The sealer acts as a protective layer, helping to prevent stains and fading.

Before resealing:

  • Ensure the pavers are clean and completely dry.
  • Apply the sealer using a pump sprayer, roller, or brush.
  • Cover all areas for uniform protection.
  • Allow the sealer to dry completely before walking or driving on the pavers.

4. Weed Control

Weeds may grow between the joints of your pavers. If left unchecked, they can cause the pavers to shift or become uneven. To prevent this, regularly check for and remove any weeds that sprout up. You can do this by hand or use a weed killer for persistent growth.

5. Check for Structural Damage

Periodically inspect your pavers for signs of structural damage, such as cracks or chips. If you spot any damage, it’s best to address it promptly. Small cracks can be filled with matching colored caulk, while larger cracks or damaged pavers may need to be replaced.

How to Stain Concrete Pavers to Look Like Stone

To Stain concrete pavers to look like stone, here’s an easy and quick guide:

1. Choosing the Right Stain

The first step in this process is selecting a stain that can give your concrete pavers the desired stone-like appearance. When mimicking the look of stone, you’ll likely want to choose an acid stain. Acid stains react chemically with the concrete to create a marbled, variegated color ideal for a stone-like look.

2. Preparing the Concrete Pavers

Thorough preparation of your concrete pavers is essential to the success of this project. Here are the steps:

  • Cleaning the pavers. Use a stiff-bristled brush to remove any loose dirt and debris from the surface of your pavers. A pressure washer can be particularly effective in removing stubborn stains.
  • Repairing cracks or damage. If there are any cracks or chips in your pavers, they must be repaired before staining. You can use a concrete repair mix to fix these imperfections.
  • Applying a concrete cleaner. After all the repairs, use a concrete cleaner to the surface to ensure it’s ready to accept the stain.

You can continue the staining process once your pavers are clean and in good repair.

3. Applying the Acid Stain

Applying an acid stain is a multi-step process that requires attention to detail. Here are the steps:

  • Applying the stain. Applying the acid stain to your clean, dry pavers using a pump sprayer. Remember to wear protective clothing and safety goggles, as acid stains can be harmful.
  • Creating texture. To mimic the natural variations in color found in stone, consider applying the stain in different concentrations and using multiple colors. For instance, you might use a darker color around the edges of the pavers and a lighter color in the center.
  • Neutralizing the stain. After the stain has been allowed to sit for the recommended amount of time (usually 4-6 hours), it must be neutralized to stop the chemical reaction. This is typically done using a solution of baking soda and water.
  • Rinsing the pavers. Once the stain has been neutralized, rinse your pavers thoroughly to remove residual acid. Allow the pavers to dry completely before moving on to the sealing process.

4. Sealing the Stained Pavers

After completely drying your stained pavers, apply a concrete sealer to protect your work and enhance the stone-like appearance. The sealer will protect against the elements, foot traffic, and other potential damages. It will also enrich the colors of your stain, making them appear more vibrant and stone-like.

What Are the Best Concrete Paver Stain Colors?

The best concrete paver stain colors include the following:

  • Natural earth tones. Natural earth tones like tans, browns, and terra cottas are the most commonly chosen stain colors. These shades are often chosen because they blend seamlessly with many landscapes and architectural styles, offering a classic, timeless appeal. They can also mimic the look of natural stone or clay pavers, which are generally more expensive.
  • Grays and charcoal. Grays and charcoal tones are popular choices for a modern, sleek look. These colors can create a sophisticated, contemporary aesthetic that pairs well with modern architecture. Light grays can also mimic the look of weathered stone or concrete for a more rustic or aged appearance.
  • Reds and rust colors. Reds and rust colors can provide a vibrant, warm aesthetic to outdoor spaces. These colors can recreate the look of brick or red clay and offer a striking contrast to greenery and landscaping elements.
  • Blues and greens. Less traditional but increasingly popular are blue and green concrete stains. These colors can create a unique, eye-catching aesthetic and may pair well with coastal, beach, or nautical-themed landscapes. They can also complement water features like pools and fountains.
  • Darker shades. Darker shades like dark brown, black, or deep charcoal can provide a dramatic, bold look. They can make a striking contrast against lighter-colored homes or landscaping elements.
  • Multicolored effects. For those looking to achieve a more natural stone look, combining multiple colors can create depth and variation that mimic the appearance of the stone. This is often achieved by using an acid stain, which can create a marbled, variegated effect.

Note that choosing the best color for your concrete paver stain requires careful consideration of the desired aesthetic and the existing elements in your outdoor space. It’s also recommended to test a small, inconspicuous area before staining all of your pavers to ensure the color fits your liking. Additionally, remember that colors may appear differently under different lighting conditions and against the color of the existing concrete, so it’s wise to view the color at various times of the day before making a final decision.

Final Thoughts

Your outdoor concrete pavers can be transformed with the right stain and sealer. To achieve a stone-like appearance, choose the right acid stain, prepare the pavers properly, and clean and seal them afterward. Additionally, consider the desired aesthetic of your outdoor space when deciding on colors for your concrete paver stains. With proper preparation, you can create a one-of-a-kind look that will last many years.

If you need more professional help with your project, contact us today. We can help you choose the right concrete stain colors and provide the expertise to ensure a successful project. Let us help you make your outdoor space look amazing!

Photo by Sharon Mathews on Unsplash

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