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Repairing and Beautifying Your Concrete

Written by Builders

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Have you ever wondered how to fix cracks in your concrete, whether it is your sidewalk, patio, basement wall, or garage floor? How about ideas to dress up your concrete patio, or get the biggest bang for your buck? Everyone is itching to be outside and enjoy the outdoors. Is your patio ready for the up coming season? Here a few solutions:

Repairing Cracked Concrete using a Polyurethane Self-Leveling Sealant

Step 1

A good sealant to use is the Loctite PL S20 or Vulkem 116. They are polyurethane sealants which I just learned means its self-Leveling, which is awesome!

Cut the tip of your sealant tube at an angle with a utility knife. It is easier if you match the width of the tube opening to the crack you will be filling. Insert the tube of sealant into a standard caulk gun.

Tip: If the cracks or joints are over 1/4” deep, a Backer Rod should be placed in the crack before applying the sealant. If you are like me you had no idea these existed or what they even are. A Backer Rod is a foam tube that is used to help fill in cracks so you don’t have to use as much sealant when the cracks get deep.

Step 2

Move the nozzle of your sealant tube slowly along the length of the crack, allowing the sealant to settle. This step may need to be repeated; if so do so immediately so that the two applications can adhear to each other.6

Step 3

The excess sealant should be removed immediately with a commercial solvent or a citrus-based cleaner.

Customizing your Concrete

Now that you have repaired your cracks, here comes the fun part. Below are some cosmetic solutions. Who would have thought there were so many creative and unique options for concrete? No more boring gray! I am so excitted about this stuff I have been looking for anything that is concrete to stain on our property and trying to convince my husband its nessesary for curb appeal.

Three Easy Steps for Beautiful Concrete

Step 1

Roughen (or etch concrete): Concrete must be as rough as 120-grit sandpaper, as smooth concrete will not accept stains and coatings.  Use concrete etcher to etch and roughen concrete surfaces.  Or you may use a floor sander or shot blaster to roughen the surface.

Step 2

Neutralize and allow concrete to dry completely: Concrete must be free of foreign matter and completely dry for stain to penetrate.  Use Concrete Cleaner to remove dirt and stains and to neutralize after etching.

Step 3

Apply transparent acrylic concrete stain, epoxacryl solid concrete stain or clear acrylic concrete sealers with a pump-up sprayer, airless sprayer, brush or roller.  Test a small area first and let stain dry to ensure color satisfaction. Stain and Enjoy!

Stain: Ready Mix Colors and Tint colors. Sooooo many options!

Single Color

The fastest and easiest way to a new look is a single color application of stain. Just a few steps to success!

  • If needed remove oil and grease stains using a concrete cleaner (recommended Mason’s Select Concrete Cleaner).

  • Roughen and prepare surface using a concrete etcher (recommended Mason’s Select Concrete Etcher).

  • Neutralize surface with a rinse of concrete cleaner.

  • Allow surface to dry completely.

  • Use a pump up or airless sprayer to apply stain.

  • If desired, you may apply additiaonl coats of stain to obtain a darker color tone and additional protection.

  • For additional shine and protection you may also use a sealer as a top coat (recommended Mason’s Select Clear Sealer).

Designer Effects

Blending: Use multiple colors for a natural stone look

Build

 

  • Start with your base color and using a sprayer, apply stain in a light circular motion.

  • While stain is wet, apply second color.  Do not over apply stain.  If using a third or fourth color, allow the first two colors to dry before applying more stain.

  • Wet stain applied on wet stain will result in a blended effect and colors mixing.

  • Wet stain applied to dry stian will result in more defined color separation to showcase accents and designs.

Tip: When using mutliple colors choose either warm tones or cool tones.

Rag Rolling: Use multiple colors and a rag to mimic marble.

  • Apply a light medium tone base coat and allow to dry.

  • Use one darker tone, and one lighter tone, apply additional colors with a rag that has been rolled tightly.

The uneven surface of the rag will create a marble look.

Misting: Use a spray mister to achieve a granite look.

  • Apply a light toned base coat first and allow to dry.

  • Use one spray mister per stain color to apply additional colors.

Tip: For best results, practice your spray pattern on a piece of newspaper until you reach the desired pattern and effect.

Sea Sponge: Create a mottled effect.

  • Apply a light to medium tone base coat and allow to dry.

  • Using one darker tone, and one lighter tone, apply additional colors with a sea sponge.

 

Tile Effect: Get the look of tile in a few steps   

Creating a tile effect is easy to do, and the results are stunning!

  • Measure design carefully and firmly apply painter’s tape to clean and dry concrete to create a faux grout line.

  • Apply stain lightly over tape, do not over apply.

  • Allow stain to dry completely and carefully remove the tape.

  • Top with a concrete sealer (recommended Mason’s Select Clear Concrete Sealer).

 

Concrete Overlay

  • A several colors of stain wet on wet using a sea sponge.

  • Top with a clear sealer (recommended Mason’s Select Clear Concrete Sealer Gloss Finish).

Brick, Pavers & Retaining Walls:  Add color and protection.

Mason’s Select stains may be used on brick, pavers and retaining walls.  Choose a single color, or multiple colors.

If you have any questions ask below, or visit Builders and talk to Perry in the Paint department. Perry is the one that educated me on the subject. You can also view other ideas on our pinterest page http://pinterest.com/buildersne/. I would love to see your final projects, post them on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BuildersWarehouse. Happy DIYing!

About the author

Builders

Founded in 1977, Builders is a locally owned home improvement retailer that began in Kearney, Nebraska and now consists of two building material dealerships in Nebraska that serve a mix of professional and retail customers, a 100% pro-oriented yard in Denver, a countertop manufacturing facility in Kearney and a truss plant in Grand Island and Denver, CO. All under one roof, Builders is your project headquarters.

3 Comments

  • My husband and I stained concrete 2 years ago and it really was pretty easy! It was fun being able to pick the colors we wanted. I would advise practicing your technique on a paver stone or something first 🙂