Speaking of giving an unexpected splash of colour to your home’s street appeal, consider how staining your concrete walkway, driveway, or even your porch would brighten up that all-important first impression. It wasn’t long ago that staining concrete was either not possible or not practical. Today, thanks to innovative manufacturers, a trip to the local home improvement store can get you on the right road to impactful property styling for sale.

As we’ve said, the first look at your house a buyer has is an important one. Even when he or she is looking at online listing images, the money shot is almost always the one that features the front of your house. If the image isn’t a positive, uplifting one, the chances of that moment of ‘love at first sight’ are forever lost. We always recommend taking pains to make street appeal really, really appealing. Here is a step by step guide to staining your tired gray concrete surfaces to add a colourful punch to your place.

The Way to Spectacular Results is Good Prep

Naturally, you’ll want to follow the instructions on your stain carefully, but we’re here to emphasise that unless your concrete is well prepped, you might get areas that simply will not absorb the stain pigment. Perhaps something like motor oil or petrol spilled on your driveway or you dropped and spilled a bottle of olive oil on the pathway as you were bringing the groceries in. Whatever kind of spill it is, it’s important to get it up and out of your way.

Sweep up any dirt or debris, then use the cleaner recommended by your stain manufacturer. One sure-fire way to get this done is working in small areas as you go, and getting those areas squeaky clean. Pour the degreaser/cleaner into a plastic bucket or even a watering can, and then pour it over the area where you’re working.

Note: There’s acid in this stuff, so be sure to wear your rubber boots and gloves.

This solution will begin to foam as it gets into the pores of the concrete and begins to clean out the dirt. After about one minute, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the cleaner deeper into the concrete. Be careful not to leave this solution on the surface for more than a minute or so – again, follow the directions. You don’t want this powerful solution to cause the concrete to pit.

When you’ve finished scrubbing your section, rinse it thoroughly with a hose until the runoff is clear. Push the remainder of the water off the concrete with a squeegee.

You can test areas where there was a build-up of grease or oil stains by pouring on a bit of water. If the concrete absorbs the water, you’re good to go. If the water still beads up, do another scrub using the degreaser.

When the entire area has been cleaned and allowed to dry thoroughly, you’ll be ready to apply your new stain.

Use painter’s tape to mask off areas where you don’t want stain. This includes walls and other vertical surfaces as well as any other horizontal surfaces, like steps, that you don’t want to stain.

Applying the stain is very much like using regular paint. The colour can be applied with a sprayer – even a garden sprayer will work if you are careful – or a paint roller. (Just use it as if you were painting walls, being careful to roll the stain on in random directions to keep from creating roller marks.) Smaller areas or edges next to those taped off places can be done with a brush. If your plan is more intricate, such as using several colours to create a stained-glass look, the more control you have, the easier it will be.

If you end up with puddles, use a regular household sponge to soak up excess stain. This will avoid inconsistencies in your colour. When the colour is dry, apply a second coat.

Finally, you can coat the concrete with a wet-look sealer to prevent any new oil stains from soaking in.

When you’re planning to sell your property, spend some time planning projects that will give a boost to your property’s street appeal. When you’re in the process of property styling for sale, consulting with your home stager is one sure way to get the job done in the most efficient and budget conscious way. Happy staining!

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