How to Stain Concrete
A few years ago the city was tearing up a section of sidewalks in our neighborhood. I asked the guys if I could have the leftover pieces for my garden. They happily set them in place for me. Nice workmen!!
The “raw” concrete looked fine but I wanted them to look more like flagstone. You can see that I painted them about 10 years ago but it chipped off over the years of wear and tear. This time I didn’t want to use chemicals or acid because I have thyme planted between the steps. I also have kids and dogs running along this path so I wanted to keep it as natural as I could.
While walking our enormous dog around the neighborhood I noticed redish-brown spots on the sidewalk where fertilizer was sprinkled on the grass and left marks on the sidewalk. The light bulb went off! I could “fertilize-stain” my own sidewalk!
Here are two pieces of concrete sidewalk before. You can see little bits of painted surface on the sides.
This is the MAGIC ingredient! It is the fertilizer Ironite. A small bag costs about $9.00, and you can pick it up at Home Depot.
I wet down the concrete with the water hose and then liberally sprinkled on the Ironite. Make sure it doesn’t clump up in any one area. I used my gloved hands to spread it into a thin layer. Then I used the water hose to slightly wet it down again.
You can see what the walkway looks like during the process.
Leave it on for 24-48 hours to really change the surface and then use A LOT of water to rinse it off. You may have to use a scrub brush to get it all off. Make sure you water any plants around so that the fertilizer doesn’t burn it. I had no problems with burning at all.
Time for a hot cup of joe? Not yet!! Here is the crazy part. I used espresso grounds from Starbucks and some vegetable oil to create some depth and extra color.
You are going to need a really inexpensive brush. A stiff brush that you can find at a discount store. The worst paint brush you can find because you need to be able to “scrub” the oil and coffee grounds into the concrete.
You can see how it looks shiny and dirty at this point. That is perfect!! It will only look shiny until the oil soaks in. (overnight)
This is what it looks like up close. I think it looks great!
This took two days, a half of a bag of Ironite, some espresso grounds and vegetable oil. Done!!