Paint Or Stain: What Works On Concrete Patios Longterm

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worker painting white polyurethane resin on a concrete floor


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Patio & Yard


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If you want to keep your patio looking fresh and new, you may find yourself looking for paint or stain that works long-term.

Yet, it makes a difference in which one you choose. Which one will last longer on concrete patios? 

Paint and staining are excellent, long-lasting ways to color your concrete patio for an extended period without upkeep. For a more vibrant color, paint is the better option.  Concrete stains are less transparent and easier to apply without mistakes that keep their color for a longer time. 

Painting or staining your concrete patio is a personal preference. Yet, there are many pros and cons to each one.

Many patio owners choose to stain their patios as concrete stains can be applied quickly, penetrating the surface of the concrete.

Paint films the surface creating multiple layers, typically lasting a shorter duration. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of using paint or stain on your concrete patio! 

worker painting white polyurethane resin on a concrete floor

What Are the Pros and Cons of Stain and Paint? 

Painting or staining your concrete patio is a personal preference, yet you must evaluate each medium’s pros and cons.

For example, many people prefer using stain as it penetrates the first layer of the concrete instead of paint, which only lays on the surface and can be prone to peeling. 

Most people recommend using stain as it is quicker and lasts longer than paint. However, evaluate the durability of the stain or paint and the other benefits and negatives.

Both paint and stain have excellent durability, but if you are looking for the most durable way to color your concrete patio, be sure to know the expected time you have before you need to redo it.

It sits on the surfacePenetrates the first layer of concrete
Requires a primerIt does not require a primer
Lasts for 3-5 yearsLasts 3-5 years
2+ coatOne coat
Slippery when wetNot slippery 
Paint vs Stain

Concrete Staining

Pros of Concrete Stains

Stains will stay on concrete for a long time but fade over time due to the sun shining on it or other weather conditions.

If you want to keep a fresh and vibrant patio, it is recommended to respray your patio every four years, but most stains will come with a longevity guarantee. 

Concrete stains penetrate the first layer of the concrete, so you do not apply layer after layer when reapplying. The surface penetration prevents peeling or chipping and creates a more translucent color. 

Concrete stains also come in many more colors than paint, making it easier to find the perfect color for you! 

Apply concrete is also rapid and easy. After applying, it dries very quickly, and you can enjoy your beautiful, vibrant patio in just 24 hours! 

The best benefit of staining your patio is that it is cost-efficient. Although prices vary per product and location, the average price per square foot is about 5 dollars, depending on the complexity of the color and stain. 

Cons of Concrete Stains

Although concrete stains have many benefits, including their clarity, it is also considered a drawback. Depending on your preference, you may want a more vibrant color for your patio.

Some shades of concrete stains cannot achieve this task and will be unable to cover cracks or previous recolor paints. 

Water-based stains also require a seal to be applied afterward to keep their color longer. Patio owners should reapply this seal every few years to maintain a vibrant, stained patio. 

The biggest con of stains is that you need to apply them professionally. If you misuse them, you can damage your concrete patio or make a mistake that you may not be able cannot correct. 

Longevity of 3-5 yearsTransparency
Only one coat requiredIt does not conceal cracks 
Many transparent colorsIt may not be as vibrant as desired
Quick and easyIt needs to be done professionally
Pros and Cons of Staining Your Patio

Concrete Painting

Pros of Concrete Paints

Painting your concrete patio is good if you only want to upkeep it every 3-5 years. Thanks to their water-based acrylic formulas, applying and correcting any mistakes made while painting is easy. 

Another benefit of painting your patio is that it provides more coverage than a more translucent color. This means you can hide cracks or small things that may not be appealing. 

Concrete paints are opaque, and the color options are endless. You can select paint and tint it to the desired hue. Paints also have various finish options, such as matte or gloss.  

Although concrete paint does not penetrate the surface of the concrete, it does provide a protective layer from weathering or other environmental threats.

Painting is another economical option in which one square foot of paint averages about 6 dollars. 

paint roller on a patio slab with concrete tiles

Cons of Concrete Paint

Painting your concrete patio may have a lot of benefits, but it also has drawbacks. A minor con of concrete paint is the strong smell and corrosive materials that can cause eye or skin irritation.

It is also slippery, so you need extra caution when walking on your wet patio. 

Another con is that if the paint is misused, it can lead to chipping, peeling, or water trapped underneath, leading to unwanted upkeep.

You can remove paint, but it is a complicated process. Most people reapply paint, again and again, making the paint layers more likely to peel. 

Paint is also very prone to scratching from moving various things across it. Although these can be resolved with another coat of paint, it can be a pain if you accidentally move your chair and scratch off the paint! 

The last con of painting your concrete patio is that the concrete needs to be prepared beforehand, which means you need to etch or rough the concrete before you paint, making the process longer than staining. 

Longevity of 3-5 yearsLayering and Peeling
Conceals cracks Requires more than one coat
Vibrant ColorsIt can be scratched easily
No professional requiredConcrete needs to be prepared beforehand
Pros and Cons of Painting Your Patio

Is Staining a Better Long-Term Option for Concrete Patios Than Painting?

When it comes to long-term durability for concrete patios, staining is often considered a better option than painting. Staining penetrates the concrete to create a long-lasting color while maintaining the natural texture. Using the best paints for concrete slab can enhance the patio’s appearance, but staining tends to offer superior longevity.

Final Thoughts on Whether It is Better to Paint or Stain Concrete Patios

Considering the pros and cons of each medium, most people recommend staining your patio rather than painting it for the aspect that paint tends to peel over time.

However, it is up to you to decide how you would like to finish your patio! Evaluate the pros and cons and determine what’s best for you. 

If your device is on a stain, then be sure to choose an acid-based stain because they last longer than water-based stains.

If you decide to paint your patio, be sure to apply the paint correctly to avoid unwanted chipping or peeling.