Natural gray is a beautiful color; it's neutral and pretty much goes with anything, but we think you'll agree that this concrete stain driveway in Melissa, TX was an ideal candidate that showed just how well adding some color can improve its look. The reddish brown acid stain created a beautiful effect that highlights the stone and brick appearance. This was a big project—over three thousand square feet. We have a couple of tricks to prepare for a job this size and it all begins with a good power wash.
Before starting a concrete stain driveway project, we have to power wash the entire area. This cleans out the contaminants that are in the concrete that can interfere with the staining process. Nowadays, as power washers have gotten affordable, just about anyone can get one. Just keep in mind that you need to be careful using them. You can easily damage the concrete floor if you use a tip that concentrates the water flow into a very narrow stream (you can carve your name in concrete with some of these) or if you use the right tip but just put it too close to the surface. The higher-powered models will strip the "cream coat" right off the concrete, exposing the sand, stone, and cement mixture that makes up the floor. You can still stain the floor without any problems, but that "cream coat" is what gives the floor personality as it has variations in color, density, and texture. Stripping this top layer of concrete off will result in a floor that has a fairly consistent-looking color which isn't what most people are trying to achieve.
Lastly, it's really important to be consistent when you power wash. It's a dull, repetitive process that gets old real quick, but bouncing around or trying to shortcut it will be very evident when you finish the acid staining process. Acid stain is unforgiving; any place you didn't wash will show up as a band or stripe in the concrete stain driveway, and if you skip around, you'll clearly see where some places reacted more than others. Even though this concrete driveway was huge, you can obviously see that we didn't take shortcuts.
In the following project, we talk a little about concrete sealers.