Back Exerior & Back Yard

New Concrete: To Stain or Not To Stain?

I now have quite a bit of new concrete at my house, with the new carport pad and wheelchair ramp…

carport progress - large concrete pad for parking plus new wheelchair ramp for Matt

…and we’re not even halfway done. We’re still going to have a new driveway poured at some point in the (hopefully near) future, and that’s going to be a HUGE amount of concrete. And then this morning I talked to the concrete guy about our current sidewalk.

Not only is it very skinny and cracked in places, but any time we get a really heavy rain, water pools in front of the steps and also at the street right by the mailbox. He said it wouldn’t be a problem to pour a new sidewalk over the existing one, raising it a couple or three inches or so, and grading it properly so that the water runs off, as well as widening the sidewalk so it’s not so skinny.

So that means that after all is said and done, I’ll have a lot of new concrete. And new concrete is kind of bright and unnatural looking. As the concrete man and I were talking a couple of days ago, he mentioned that now would be the perfect time to stain the new concrete in back if I had any plans to do so. It’s new, and it’s very porous, so it would take stain very easily.

Well, that got me thinking, and of course, looking at lots and lots of pictures of stained concrete. Even after looking at loads of pictures, I’m still not quite certain that I want to stain all of the concrete. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t love the way new concrete looks. As I said, it’s bright and unnatural looking. But at the same time, I think most people have become so accustomed to seeing it that it no longer offends our sensibilities. It’s just expected, so it doesn’t necessarily affect how we view the appearance of a house. It’s just concrete, and almost everyone has it.

The concrete in front of this house looks pretty new and not stained.

I don’t think I’d ever look at the concrete itself and think that it’s pretty, and yet in the overall scheme of things, it doesn’t really affect the beautiful appearance of the house in my mind.

When it comes to stained concrete, I’m pretty picky. I realized very quickly that I’m not a fan of dark stain on concrete. In my humble opinion, when it’s really dark, it almost becomes a feature and draws more attention. I don’t want my concrete to be a feature. I want it to kind of disappear and blend in with the natural surroundings.

So I much prefer a very subtle stain — just something to take the brightness of new concrete down a notch or three. Of all the pictures that I’ve seen and saved so far, this one is my favorite…

concrete stained with Rust-Oleum concrete stain in Quarry Gray, Limetone and Earth Brownvia Pinterest (original source unknown)

It’s still concrete. It’s not trying to be something it’s not, but it’s just not so bright and white. It blends in with the landscaping beautifully.

And I also like that it’s not splotchy. So many stained concrete sidewalks, driveways and patios look incredibly splotchy, and I want to avoid that at all costs. I’d rather have unstained concrete than splotchy stained concrete.

I’d also be open to doing a light-to-medium gray. Again, it’s just something to knock out some of that brightness of new concrete.

But I think that might be gray overload since my house is gray. The very subtle brown might be a nice contrast, and would certainly blend in with the natural landscape elements better than gray.

So what are your thoughts on stained concrete? If you’ve ever DIYed a large concrete area, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Was it difficult? Was it worth it? And honestly, did it turn out splotchy? That’s what scares me the most. Splotchy concrete. No, thank you.



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93 Comments

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Kim
    June 6, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Honestly, I would just leave it. If you’re truly on the fence, why spend the money and time? The first pick looks great, yours will eventually darken up, and there is a very good chance if you stain it, it will be splotchy. I’d put the money in landscaping instead.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kim
      June 6, 2018 at 9:17 am

      Should be pic. Auto correct :-(.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Angie King
      June 6, 2018 at 10:20 am

      What she said! 🙂

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Guerrina
      June 6, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      I agree with Kim. That first picture actually looks fresh and the new concrete doesn’t take away from the house or landscaping, but actually sets it off. Concrete will get darker (aka dirty/stained) over time and use, and a pressure washer will renew.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Jennifer
      June 6, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Chiming in to agree with Kim. On the list of house things I could spend my money on, staining outside concrete is no higher than 713.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Val
      June 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      I concur 100%. Money into landscaping any ol’ day😀

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Marianne in Mo.
        June 6, 2018 at 2:15 pm

        I agree. Unless you can do aggregate. We had that at our other house, and it always looked nice. Only thing is it’s hard to shovel snow on (but you don’t get that much snow!) and it does need sealing, but so do concrete driveways. My brother in law had someone stain his porch, and it looked horrible. No going back if it gets screwed up!!! He should have just left it natural.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Deanna Middleton
      June 6, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      I prefer just plain concrete, as well.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sharon
    June 6, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I would leave it as is. The beauty of concrete is that when you pressure wash it, it looks brand new. Once you add more landscaping, furniture, etc. around the concrete areas it will take on a different look.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Traci
      June 6, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Our plain concrete sidewalk gets gray every year from use but probably also it is mostly in the shade so we have to pressure wash it every year. I always wondered if you could do that with stained concrete – if the pressure washer would take up some of the stain.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Paula
    June 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Since your remodeling and updating, letting it naturally age would make sense. If you were restoring a historic home, stain would make sense, to avoid the updated new look.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Carol
      June 6, 2018 at 11:50 am

      I wonder, since you are doing these projects over time, even if they are only 6 mo. to a year apart, will they ever appear to be the same color if you stain them?? Naturally aged concrete almost always eventually looks the same color. In most cases, I prefer natural concrete outside. Just let the elements do their work.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    CathyR
    June 6, 2018 at 9:34 am

    I was under the impression that colorant was added to wet concrete then poured. If it’s stained now and is chipped or cracked won’t the underneath white then show? I suppose it all depends how deep the stain penetrates. I like your idea of an understated gray or brownish if you feel a stain is a must. Under the carport, I’d say save your money because vehicles will drip, leak and muddy up the concrete making blotchy over time with no cost to you! By the way, ave you solved the “ curb “ idea on the ramp?

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      June 6, 2018 at 9:39 am

      I’m still giving it some thought, but I’d like to use either stone or brick. I’d like to get more done on the front of the house, because I have this vision of incorporating some brick somewhere (like maybe edging the concrete sidewalk and driveway), so if I go that direction, it would be nice to use the same brick for the curb on the ramp to keep things consistent.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        JillM
        June 6, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        You could stamp just the edges of the sidewalk/driveway to look like brick instead of laying them separately. Bricks will naturally degrade/shift/grow grass between them. If it’s stamped it will stay a more level surface. The other thought is to make sure you have the bricks when they pour the concrete and maybe they can lay them in a channel so there is concrete underneath with the bricks on top to prevent that issue. Can’t wait to see what you decide

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Justin
    June 6, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I think, knowing what you like and don’t like, I’d consider dying and stamping the front walk if that’s an option. That way, it won’t be blotchy (the dye would be mixed with the concrete instead of highlighting imperfections in the float finish) and you can have brick look or cobblestones or whatever pattern tickles your fancy.

    For the back, I almost think you’d be better off with a paint-type finish or an epoxy. Remember how you were never quite happy with how even the color was on your white concrete countertops so in the end, you epoxied them? Plus, it’s something you can do later on so you can focus on the projects you want to get done now.

    If you’re concerned about the driveway being too much concrete, have you considered other finishes? Since the parking pad itself is concrete, Matt doesn’t need to roll on it, so maybe you could do a properly installed base and compacted gravel driveway or asphalt or even another concrete stamp pattern. There are ways to break-up the expanse of wide swaths of concrete by edging it or breaking it up into sections and edging it with bricks or cobblestones.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      MOONSHADOWS
      June 6, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Yes! Spend time and money on the front and if anything epoxy the back for durability.
      Make sure color is mixed in…maybe even an exposed aggregate in brownish even a deep navy would accent landscaping and looked polished in the front without standing out (NOT standard red exposed aggregate).

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Scott
        June 7, 2018 at 4:51 am

        Epoxy is not used for exterior.

        • ← Reply To This Person
          Justin
          June 7, 2018 at 9:35 am

          A quick Google search shows that it can be. Perhaps there are special exterior ones?

          Either way, there are lots of different paints and finishes that can be used on the exterior.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Lori
    June 6, 2018 at 9:40 am

    It’s new, it’s functional, and it’s finished so, no, don’t add another thing to your list just because you can. There are so many better ways to spend your money and time than staining concrete.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Dale
    June 6, 2018 at 9:44 am

    We just had sidewalks, a driveway & a patio poured. I love the clean bright look of it unstained. In the future we may have pavers installed on the patio, butIll leave the rest as is.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Ann
      June 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      FYI- pavers are a huge maintenance pain in the butt! We’ve re-laid ours twice, grass and weeds grow between them even when you use polymeric sand and over time they move. Pressure washing concrete is way easier!

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Dale
        June 7, 2018 at 5:07 am

        I would place the pavers over our existing concrete. The brick sized pavers look so pretty

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sewducky
    June 6, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Only re-color if you have a strong idea of colors of the hard surfaces in the back and front.

    Sidewalk re-do thoughts…Oddly I’d say wait till you do the drive, So they both match in age/color less matching. On the other hand, you kinda gotta do it now, because you have the front step project and that ties into the height at the sidewalk…Maybe you can find some pretty stacked patio stone to make steps temporarily.

    Thought about ramp facing stone (from previous post) why not use a little of your Austin stone you removed from the front?

    • ← Reply To This Person
      HeatherB
      June 6, 2018 at 9:56 am

      I thought the same, if it works. I like the tying in of the Austin stone as opposed to adding a whole new stacked stone that doesn’t relate to anything else on your home.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sarah
    June 6, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I love the new fresh concrete, I think it freshens things up and matches your new siding and white trim. There is also some strange satisfaction that comes with power-washing it when it is time! I vote for leaving it as is and spending your money for things you KNOW you want done!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Arli
    June 6, 2018 at 9:50 am

    I like the clean, new look, although I could see stamping and staining the front walk for something different.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Staci G
    June 6, 2018 at 10:02 am

    My concern would be if the staining happened at different times. If you stained the sidewalk and parking pad now, but the driveway later when it is installed, will it match, or match perfectly? If it were my house and it didn’t match perfectly, no one would probably notice, but I would see it every time.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Julie S.
    June 6, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Isn’t this in the rear of the house and won’t it be covered by the new carport? If yes, I’d leave it alone for sure. Who’s ever going to see it, oil stains from the car/cars, tracking in and out your “service” door, trash cans back there maybe, etc. I see this as the “utility” part of the house.

    Now when you do the sidewalk and new driveway, maybe that’s when you consider staining since it would probably enhance the curb appeal. But I wouldn’t spend money or time staining my garage floor….?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Michelle
    June 6, 2018 at 10:15 am

    If you have the budget for it, I would stain it especially if you are going to keep the current color on your house. I love the stain on the first example you put up. Concrete can easily get dirty and stained (not in a good way) very easily and I think staining will prevent and camouflage some of that. I also like the idea of stamped concrete for your front walk as mentioned above. I think stamped and stained, it would look very much like a natural stone walkway. 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jane
    June 6, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Here in Wisconsin, stained concrete tends to be very slippery when wet. Perhaps all staining doesn’t do this, but just be forewarned, as this might be a problem for Matt.

    I agree that I don’t like the bright new concrete color, but I found that ours started “aging” after about a year.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Gwen
      June 6, 2018 at 10:37 am

      It’s more likely the slippery concrete is from sealant, not stain. Sealing the concrete keeps it from being porous, and you can add color to sealant. Where we live, it doesn’t even last a year.

      We tried it as new homeowners with new concrete, and yes, it made it slippery. Water and oil pool on the surface, as does every wet, dirty footprint. We were glad it wore off.

      My neighbors had dyed stamped concrete added to the side of their driveway and hated the color. Turned out very unnatural. So they sealed it with a darker color. Washed away in the rain in a few months. I’m told stain is permanent, but they never tried it.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Mary
    June 6, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I have not had good experiences with stain on my concrete porch. It was not new concrete, maybe that makes a difference. You might consider ‘stamping’ the front sidewalk, though. I think that’s a cool option.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Michelle
    June 6, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Could you cover the existing sidewalk with a stone veneer? Would be pretty and something different with all the other concrete.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Kathy
    June 6, 2018 at 10:17 am

    My first thought is leave it. We just had our front walk redone due to standing water. They upped it a bit and leveled it. We then had them lay pavers to match the brick on the house. Love it! But you don’t have a brick house. I’ve also seen on pinterest where people have painted concrete to look like stone. My concern is cleaning it. When it is plain, you can pressure wash. Being in the south, our concrete needs pressure washing a couple of times a year and I’m not sure how stain would hold up to that or maybe if it was stained it wouldn’t need it??? Just some questions to ponder. 🙂 You’ll come up with the perfect solution.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      JillM
      June 6, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      We power wash our stained concrete every year and it holds up just fine. Because it is sealed regularly, it probably cleans up faster and better than unstained concrete.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    VaBarb
    June 6, 2018 at 10:27 am

    We have plain and stamped concrete. If I had it to do over I would do all stamped! I would suggest looking at stamped concrete. It is amazing and gives you a stone or brick look. Depending on the pattern you can vary the color and blotchy stain actually gives it a more natural look. You may want to consider stamping for your front walk!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Laurie
    June 6, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I’d leave it as is–it will darken naturally. For the front walk, why not do a brick paver one instead of just more concrete?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Bonnie
    June 6, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I think the brown stain appears dirty. Leave the concrete natural, but perhaps add a gray stone (or gray pavers) border along the sides of the driveway. Then instead of more concrete, use the same stone (or gray pavers) for your sidewalk.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    MOONSHADOWS
    June 6, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Yes! Spend time and money on the front and if anything epoxy the back for durability.
    Make sure color is mixed in…maybe even an exposed aggregate in brownish even a deep navy would accent landscaping and looked polished in the front without standing out (NOT standard red exposed aggregate).

  • ← Reply To This Person
    BobsGal
    June 6, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Kristi…. I’m just addressing the carport only…..no matter stain or not your car just sitting on the concrete will leave a oil/grease/tire marks on the carport surface. We actually paint sealed our car port and it makes for very easy clean up with a good power washer. That carport has been sitting there for over 18 years… and after a 30 minute investment of time power washing, it looks brand new again…. so think about a true paint sealent like they put on garage floors and buy yourself a good power washer instead …..

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jennie
    June 6, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Stained concrete is great when it’s new but it fades overtime too and trust me once it’s on it’s not coming up no matter how good of a power washer you have. I have a front and back patio porch that’s stained (previous owners did) and I would NEVER stain concrete from experience. It just doesn’t look good years later especially in the main walkway where it gets easily worn. Also, stains never mix exact so if you did one now and one later they will vary in color.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Tracy
      June 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Yep, she’s tellin’ the truth! it might look ok at first but does just look old and dirty after awhile

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Em
    June 6, 2018 at 10:58 am

    My husband loooooooves concrete…so we have it in several places in our yard and seem to add to the collection every couple of years.

    Our first project was stained similarly to the one in your pretty 4009 photo, which, except for the gloss, looks kind of like aged concrete.

    Our next addition, adjacent to it, was bright white, then aged and “dirtified” to eventually match the first section.

    Then came the pool surround…bright white, then it dirtified/aged/naturalized to match the rest (you can see the difference where the pool cover protects it over the winter, but by the end of summer it’s all the same.

    And I could go on, but you get the point…as it ages, it browns…. and gets dirty. At some point, you can elect to pressure wash to brighten it IF you choose.

    As always, s’up to you 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Tracy
    June 6, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Don’t do it! If it does end up splotchy you will end up needing to do a opaque stain. And think of future maintenance! You will need to pressure wash and restain again and again! It’s just like having a deck. Once landscaping goes in the newness will disappear.
    Have you thought of a ribbon driveway? Mostly grass with a ribbon/strips of concrete for the car. A great way to not have a mass of concrete. So cute!
    If your completely doing walkway over have you considered curving it?

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Adele
      June 6, 2018 at 11:32 am

      I also would consider a the ribbon driveway or something other than concrete, mostly for environmental reasons. Rain water needs someplace to go and it is better to have it go back into the ground than into the storm sewer (or to run off under your foundation). Where I live, your water/sewer bill also increases the more impervious surfaces you have on your property.

      I have a gravel driveway which, due to poor upkeep on my part, is now mostly compacted into the soil and just looks like part of the yard. It is green with grass/weeds and doesn’t get muddy and the car doesn’t sink into the earth due to the gravel underneath. I just mow it like the rest of the yard in the summer and in the winter I park my car close to the sidewalk so I don’t have to shovel much. (I don’t have a garage.)

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Deb
    June 6, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Definitely stain–we’ve done it multiple times and had different finished put on as well. My favorite was stamped concrete. When you do the driveway, you can also break up the concrete look with pavers, on either side, across the entire thing in a couple of places. Just do a search, ton’s of examples and then do the sidewalk in pavers to coordinate. I realize the parts that Matt uses have to be smooth though, but you could work it in as trim.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Vicky Henson
    June 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Kristy, I wouldn’t do it. My parents live on an acre and have a long concrete driveway to the side of the house with lots of concrete for parking around the garage. It has aged beautifully and you don’t even notice with the surrounding grass, trees, plants and a gate. Just a thought.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Skt4me
    June 6, 2018 at 11:15 am

    New concrete looks fresh. Staining it like your picture will make it look old. Epoxy is very slippery. I learned this from experience in Arizona and Minnesota, so its not just about the ice in the winter (that you don’t have.) …..
    so don’t waste your time. Splurge on something else!

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Skt4me
      June 6, 2018 at 11:17 am

      PS, it won’t always look like this. it will “age”….be patient and put away your checkbook haha

  • ← Reply To This Person
    George
    June 6, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I’m not a big slab of concrete person. I prefer dyed in the mixing process then stamped, to give the concrete some depth. But, that is not always an option.

    You may want to considering a stamped concrete driveway and walkway so breakup the look a little. Like you mentioned, adding the driveway will give you a lot of concrete. 🙂

    I have an old , small, 1945 concrete driveway and it will not take any stain. I’m actually trying out black or dark gray paint to get it to blend in better.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Rhonda
    June 6, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I think plain concrete ages to a very attractive and natural look. It won’t stand out in a few years.
    We had a colored-concrete walkway and staircase (to the basement walkout) poured more than 10 years ago. This is where the colorant was added in the dry mix, not put in top. The walkway and staircase are EXTREMELY slippery. They are dangerous. We do not use them when they’re wet / frosty. (Except when the kids put on their snow boots, stand at the top of the very-slightly inclined walkway, and just stand still – competing to see who can slide all the way to the sidewalk. They do not need to begin with any momentum.) Our neighbors had the same and, because of sinking issues, just replaced a walkway. They did NOT color it (even though an adjoining older path is colored) because of how terribly slippery it was.
    I don’t know if stain added on top is AS slippery (I know it is to some extent), but I would be sure you research that thoroughly.
    We have epoxy in our garage. I would highly recommend the professional grade.
    I’ve always LOVED the look of asphalt – it looks classic and charming. Have you considered that for your driveway?

    • ← Reply To This Person
      JillM
      June 6, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Colorant either mixed in or applied on top should have NO effect on how slippery the surface is. That is just how the contractor finished the concrete. They smoothed it too well and should have given it a brushed treatment to ruff up the surface some. The sealant may cause the surface to be a little more slippery, but if you’re proactive with the contractor, make sure to tell them you don’t want it to turn out this way.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Rhonda
        June 6, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        Ours is stamped, not smooth. There is no sealant and, if there was, we have never resealed it.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Emy at Semigloss Design
    June 6, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I stained my sunroom floor a bright aqua and it’s amazing. Of course aqua isn’t the best color for outside. 😉 I used Kemiko acid stain, which is easy to use and comes in amazing colors. The splotchiness is caused by chemical reactions between the concrete and the acid, so maybe not the best thing if it bothers you. Other “stains” are closer to paint, so more opaque and less splotchy. But they can also be scratched off, like paint.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Theresa P
    June 6, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Maybe it’s time to invest in a landscape plan? Personally, I think your house would look cute with a brick (or stone) walkway and a concrete drive edged in brick (or stone) and divided in to sections with brick (or stone). If you did that, I wouldn’t worry about staining the concrete sections of the driveway. And, then maybe put an epoxy on your carport floor (so long as it wasn’t too slippery) and maybe do a brick (or stone) wall around the ramp for your bumper. You could also plan out how/wear you want to use that same brick (or stone) in the other areas of your house (like for your back patio and other hardscaping out front). So, maybe it’s time to plan it all out a little more? Just a thought. One thing to keep in mind is that none of these surfaces are going to be TRULY consistent, as they will each get different levels of wear, sun exposure, water exposure (under the carport), etc. And, each may need different amounts of cleaning/pressure washing.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Rebecca B
    June 6, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    I have tried to stain the concrete floor in my garage and it has been a nightmare. You have to let it sit for several days but as soon as car tires start driving over it, it peels.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Andrea
    June 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I like the earthy brown look of the one example. I don’t mind the plain on the first one either. As for the color- I don’t know- our porches and walkway to the main sidewalk is that exposed aggregate stuff (it was a builder thing- new build community so everyone has the same thing). It’s okay- it’s aesthetically pleasing, I guess. But here in the PNW- I have to constantly be on it to keep it from discoloring from moss and any other debris. While I try not to- when I power wash it I always spray some pebbles loose.

    I do like the idea for the front walk the stamped and stained. I don’t know if I’d do anything to the car port or eventually a driveway. I like the idea of stained concrete, but not sure on a large scale.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Stacye
    June 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    I just stained my front porch and steps a light earthy color and I didn’t really think it would make that big a difference. Boy was I wrong. It made the porch and steps look more custom and it ties into the brick on my house. I would at least do front sidewalk a color that compliments the stone on your house. I don’t think you would have to stain driveway too. Try the front of your house and decide from there

  • ← Reply To This Person
    JillM
    June 6, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    My husband is a concrete contractor so I will weigh in with my/our experience. We have a stained concrete basement floor, a stained and stamped concrete patio, and a stained and stamped concrete “service walk” (sidewalk to the front door from the driveway). If the colorant is mixed into the concrete prior to it being poured, you will have a more universal/solid color just as the one you liked (tan/beige/). If you use an acid stain (liquid) after the concrete is set, you can use more colors for a modeled effect. Different areas of concrete will stain slightly different. Concrete will naturally have hairline cracks that will stain a little darker. It wouldn’t have to look splotchy. You just need colors that are very similar in tone and work with it so it doesn’t come out that way. This would be an easy DIY job. We just fill spray bottles with the colorant(s) and spray away. Stained concrete does need some maintenance. It should be sealed every few years and doesn’t take well to salt (for melting ice/snow). The top layer can chip away if salt is left on the surface too long. If you plan to do the sidewalk and driveway at different times, the stain might not match even if the ready-mix company mixes it in. I could totally see you stamping the sidewalk to look like brick and “painting” each individual brick with acid stain. That would be a fun project. Good luck in your decision!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Karla
    June 6, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I had to quit reading all the comments as I might get fired for wasting time away… BUT just needed to chime in. We have a small cabin. We stained part of the porch and left an apron around the stained concrete, natural concrete. I LOVE IT! Mine looks almost exactly like your favorite picture (and they stamped it too.) BUT if you are doing projects out on your carport, you will LOVE it as it covers up everything from dirt to stains. I also feel that it is easier to sweep than raw concrete. Those that are on team ‘leave it’ have never had stained concrete!!! Just sayin’! LOL. BTW… It doesn’t all have to match. Just do an area or this area. I think you could have a lot of fun and educate your followers. Good luck.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jane
    June 6, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    I’d big time pass on the stain, Kristi. For one thing, it’s rather passé at this point, being a design element that came into use during the “Old World” (Tuscan?) decorating phase. Your house is becoming more crisp, clean, and timeless by the day; I don’t see the muddied look of stained concrete fitting in with that program. Think on what others have suggested re: the “ribbon” driveway. Basically two strips of concrete with a “median” of grass between them. It’s a great look. There’s ZERO wrong with asphalt, as well. If you’re worried about *too* much concrete (I wouldn’t be) it is 100% normal to have an asphalt driveway terminate at a concrete pad. Another consideration -and I don’t know about TX- but in my state all concrete is assessed to increase property tax, while asphalt is not as it is considered biodegradable.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      chiflipper
      June 7, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Oh yeah, check on the tax implications before adding a concrete driveway. In my area every single area of poured concrete is assessed. How about the pavers with holes? If properly set you hardly know they are there.

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    Brette
    June 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    It’s in your back yard (where I think garages and carports ought to be), so I don’t think it matters much. It will darken with age, although not like a stain. Concrete will always look like concrete unless pavers or stone are laid over it.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Brette
      June 6, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Oops, I opened my mouth too soon. This is about your front sidewalk. I favor pavers or stone, but a stain would look better than bare concrete since it is a long sidewalk. It might look good lined with vegetation like monkey grass.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sally
    June 6, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    I do not personally think in your case I would bother staining the concrete. If you wait, the brightness of it will one down by itself. That said, of the stains you showed, I would go with the light gray stain. I like the redish stain in the picture you show, because it coordinates with the wood near it. But your house doesn’t have any questions close to that, and I think it would be jarring.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Lindia Gordon
    June 6, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    We stained our pool area and it looked great for the first few years… then it started to fade. We’re in SoCal and the sun is brutal. I also prefer the clean, crisp look of new concrete.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Karen
    June 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I love the idea of a ribbon driveway, and just to throw another thought in the mix–have you seen the ‘open’ pavers that are used to make it possible to drive on grass without creating ruts? You could do a combination of ribbons and grass pavers to avoid muddy messes if someone misses the ribbons. If I had a fairly flat lot, that would be my choice.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    M
    June 6, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    DON’T stain it!!! With that much concrete, it will never be uniform in color. We had a concrete patio poured in our backyard that gets sun all day. The white of the concrete was so blinding during the day, I decided to stain it. After thorough Internet researching, I decided I did not want to mess with acid staining and went with a non acid product. Followed directions to a t, and it looked great….til winter came and parts of it just came off. Every spring I stain parts that come off from winter. There are parts that have never come off, other parts peel off. Same concrete, same method of application. Oh, and we never have salted it either in winter. Save yourself the frustration! And if your concrete guy already put a sealer on it, then you have to etch it. Ours was never sealed before staining, so it was perfectly pourous. Make a pretty sidewalk, stamp it or get a color mixed in. But leave the driveway and carport alone! The white of the concrete will eventually patina nicely.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Diana Carroll
    June 6, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Texas sun on concrete is not only hot but blinding! Before moving to Montana where I am now I had to keep sunglasses handy. Now snow blindness is the problem. I would leave it natural because a blotchy finish would be ugly and I know I would hate it. Clean and new would be my preference. What you have done so far looks lovely. I love to hose off the concrete areas because it is refreshing to the area and I love clean!! topping off the front walk would look wonderful too. I know you will make it beautiful, Kristi. Best wishes.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Donna
    June 6, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    I think the stained concrete looks dated where natural concrete is ageless. It will darken with age and does not distract from the house.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sue2
    June 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    If your house is gray-ish, I wouldn’t do any brown, tan or beige. No.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jody
    June 6, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Kristi,

    I toyed with the idea of stained concrete too when we built but I believe it has to be sealed which means it has to be resealed at some point. I like simple and low maintenance, just me.

    Also, a thought about pouring over old concrete. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me, but I live in the northern part of US where we get winter, like 20-30 below zero which affects concrete. Perhaps concrete doesn’t shift so much there where you don’t have the drastic change in temperatures.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Kismet
    June 6, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I like the new concrete look.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Allison @ House of Hepworths
    June 6, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t like stained concrete, so I’d leave it.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Elaine Ness
    June 6, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    I didn’t have time to read many of the comments, but in the end I know you will make a good choice.

    For a long time, when looking at the walkway to the front door, I longed to see a curved shape instead of the ramrod straight approach you have now. Would you consider that?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Debbie
    June 6, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    I’d leave it. It will age & you can power wash it. Think of your concrete counter tops & how they aged inside your house. I had some type of clear coating on my attached garage floor. Something was spilled & it went through the coating & power washing couldn’t clean it. Have you thought of having the sidewalk go to the driveway instead of the street. You would need to move the mailbox but I really like having that set up. People can park in driveway or street to reach the front door. You could always do a fancy paver on the edge of the concrete to dress it up.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Chris
    June 6, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I wouldn’t stain it. I’ve never seen stain that really lasted well. If you want color, you need to have them add the pigment to the concrete mix. I personally think it would be better to just let the concrete age itself into a mellower, less new, color. My mother had her patio pour done with pigments and stamped as slate. It looks good 20+ years later but it’s a lot of annual upkeep with sealing.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Linda
    June 6, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Me personally, wouldn’t stain since it’s going to be a covered carport! Why waste the money when you can do all sorts of beautiful things in the front that will show to the street?! It will fade with time and car tires anyway.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Linda
    June 6, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    By the way, totally not related to this, but in your profile info you still have Boo listed and not Cooper 😂😂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    carol
    June 7, 2018 at 9:30 am

    You mentioned putting up some kind of edge to ramp instead of a railing. How about building a short half wall along the ramp, faced in brick and capped with bluestone to take visual off horizontal plane of concrete and more on the facade of the house. Stone facing is another alternative. My vote is to leave concrete unfinished as it will darken with weather and age. LOVE you progress. Thank you for the videos!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Kathy Sturgeon
    June 7, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I like new concrete myself. It will eventually turn darker anyway. Put your money into plants and landscaping!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Michael
    June 7, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I strongly discourage this idea. It becomes a maintenance nightmare to keep the stained appearance. It’ll fade with the sun and lose the finish over time. My neighbors have this on their driveway and they are doing yearly treatments that are expensive and a lot of work to maintain. Non stained concrete is the way to go.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Adele
    June 7, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    While walking the dog last evening I found myself paying special attention to sidewalks, walkways, and driveways. One of the things I noticed is that the concrete nearly always mellowed into a darkish stone gray with some variation. A few sidewalks had slabs had been replaced with a different kind of concrete that seems to have some sort of polymer mixed into it–those were whiter and cleaner looking and I know from the one in front of my house that they are also easier to shovel. Around here there seem to be more asphalt driveways, perhaps because they are easier to repair when our freeze/thaw cycles damage them, but though they were dark black when new, most now looked a very dark gray or at least an off-black. Neither the aged and mellowed concrete nor the asphalt stood out or looked garish. They just looked fairly natural.

    I don’t think stained concrete is a big thing around here, although a friend had a stamped and stained patio that looked really great. Her house was a red brick and the patio had a flag-stone-like pattern and was the color of the lighter red of the brick. My sister laid red/gray/brown concrete pavers over her concrete front porch floor and over her walkway. It looks fabulous.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Chris Lucich
    June 7, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    We have a circular driveway that is stained. WE LOVE IT!!! It adds so much curb appeal and we have had so many people in our small town of Parker, TX tell us how much they like our driveway. I would not hesitate at ALL to tell you to STAIN!!!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Slavy
    June 8, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Personally I like the unstained concrete best- it looks the most natural to me because nothing has been done to it! Any in any case, it’ll darken over time 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sharon C
    June 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    If it was mine, I’d leave it a la natural and spend the extra money on your front sidewalk and landscaping.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Melody
    June 13, 2018 at 10:26 am

    We had a stamped concrete patio we put in around our pool. The coloring began to wear off in certain areas within a year. I didn’t like the way it aged, and it felt like it was going to be a lot of upkeep. And that was in Central Ca—mild weather. We ended up moving, but I would never spend the $$ and energy adding color to exterior concrete again. I prefer the look of “natural” concrete and how it ages, and it’s simple to power wash. Also, when landscaping is complete, I think it will be more complimentary.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Dave Bish
    August 21, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I’m a huge advocate for stamping and staining but in your case I actually agree with Kim in the first comment. The new concrete looks great as is and will get darker over time to get your desired look. You can always pressure wash to renew the color if your feelings change!

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