I am intending to stain my back patio which is about 12 x 15' or there abouts along with 6' of walk. I am curious if anyone here has done it and if they can recommend any products or techniques and whether or not they sealed it and any special tools that they implemented and roughly what the cost to do the project was. Thanks for your help!
sonoranpoet & marie_kap, I just read through the "More Mock Rock" post (above your post) and saw a possible answer to your question. It was posted by Txmel on May 9, 2005 and had to do with a product called Kemiko which is a powder that you mix with water and spray onto concrete. It absorbs into the concrete and permanently colors it. She had used it to color the floors in her home and maybe a patio.
I had to forge ahead and got 'er done, but would consider doing it 'better' the next time w/ what I learned. I found the products at my local hardware store and found the website to the manufacturer which gives a good video tutorial (use the longer one specifically for staining concrete) the site was superdeck (dot) com and the product I used was Masons Select Acrylic concrete stain which I think works really well as a stain. I sprayed it on and because the sprayer left some bigger drips used a microfiber mop to spread it out further. I initially was going to use two stain colors but one of my sprayers jammed (at the moment of no return and that was that)
What I learned: Clean the concrete as perfectly as possible. Power wash if possible and use a cleaner. I did not like this companies line of cleaner or etcher...etcher while biofriendly was not strong enough to etch my concrete in places and so the penetration varied (and I understand that it does vary but I ended up having to manage 'brush marks' for lack of a better term even though it ended up to be mop marks")
I would definitely use a different cleaner (which also worked as neutralizer) and a stronger concrete etcher. I was happy w/ the product though I thought it was pricey it does seal as it stains which was important due to time constraints. Also some salts end up leaching up as you clean the concrete try and get as much of these off as possible as it will affect the finish product.
It's best to do this early or later in the day. It should be done in the shade as opposed to sun. I worked alone though having someone to help is definitely a plus. If you work alone get EVERYTHING ready and have contingency plan (i.e. in case of equipment failure like sprayer) You could use a roller also but I like the look of the sprayer and the mop to spread...I think had my concrete been etched better the sprayer alone may have been adequate. This stuff dries pretty fast so make a plan of where you'll stop and start.
The biggest part was the prep. I covered surfaces I didn't want sprayed the day before.
I posted a picture just after I finished and it wasn't totally dry. At the end of the day I would use other acrylic concrete stain something a little less expensive even if it didn't need sealer, make my own cleaner using TSP (wouldn't normally do this) or a TPS substitute but a more powerful concrete etcher...the environmental friendly ones aren't strong enough and I'd also make my own neutralizer using a baking soda solution or soda ash solution. My cost for the equipment (sprayers, painters tape, products (2 gallons of cleaner, 2 gallons etcher and 3 gallons of stain (overestimate what you need) I needed 2x the amount of stain so for about 400 square feet I was into my 3rd gallon of stain which was $40/gallon. The cleaner and etcher was about $24/gallon. I could have saved myself about 1/2 of my expense of almost $300 but I was unsure so underconfident and didn't want to %$#&! this up :) I have my front entry and walk to do in the future and have enough stain to do it...and will take my own advice for cleaning the concrete and etching it and will recoup a little of the excess of this project.
Looks great to me, especially for a first-timer! I knew a guy who used a paint roller with a long handle and applied two different colors of beige to his pool apron. Looked just like natural rock when he was done.