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How To Faux Paint Your Boring Concrete Slab Patio to Look Like Gorgeous Flagstone

Updated on May 10, 2017

Faux Paint Your Boring Concrete Slab Patio to Look Like Gorgeous Flagstone

A plain, gray concrete slab rarely does a home justice. While it may be an affordable, sturdy patio option for many homeowners, the decorative element can leave much to be desired.Beautify that cement wasteland with an inexpensive faux paint treatment. The project requires a few days because drying time between coats is essential. Each phase of the project itselfis not excessively time consuming; depending on the size of your patio, you can complete each phase within a couple of hours.Once complete, your concrete’s new makeover will have the stylish look of natural stone.

Faux Paint Stone

What You Need

  • For cleaning your concrete, use Trisodium Phosphate (TSP), found at your local hardware store. Be careful when working with this caustic product—protective gloves and eyewear are recommended. You’ll also need a scrub brush, a broom and your hose. A tarp large enough to cover your patio can come in handy.
  • As a pre-coat use an acrylic masonry primer/sealer; this helps bond paint to concrete.
  • You’ll need four paints in different colors. The first paint should be an eggshell or flat finish in the color you want your “grout” lines, or the lines between the stones. The second color should be the color you want the stones themselves in an eggshell finish. For a small porch, a quart might suffice. For medium to large porches you may need to get gallons.
  • For some color variation, you’ll also need a shade or two lighter, and a shade or two darker than your stone color. See if you can find these in sample colors as you’ll only need a little bit. If not, purchase quart sizes in an eggshell finish.
  • Get a quart of clear, water-based glaze to mix with some of the paints. For a finishing coat, get a clear, non-yellowing, exterior water-based sealer.
  • Apply your primer and paint with a rollers using a long handle to save your back. You’ll also need two paint pans, pan liners for convenience, a drop cloth, two large sponges, and paint stirrers.
  • The only other crucial element is painter’s tape. You’ll need two to three rolls. Be sure to use specifically painter’s tape, because it’s low-tack. You’ll be putting it on the base coat, and high tack tape could peel that base coat right off your concrete. Also, unlike other, cheaper low-tack paints, painter’s tape is made to prevent color bleed.
  • Get a painter’s tape that’s about ½ inch wide. If you think you’ll want narrower grout lines, get ¼ inch wide tape; or get 1-inch wide for thick grout lines. Any thicker than that, the faux paint job won’t look natural.

Phase 1: Clean it Good

  • Painting any floor surface can be tricky because with all the traffic the paint can begin peeling off and ruin the finish. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to prep your patio concrete well so the paint will adhere.
  • Clear off the patio and sweep it thoroughly. Protect yourself with gloves and glasses. Dilute the TSP in water according to the ratios recommended by the manufacturer. Be very careful with this caustic product.
  • Get down on your knees and scrub that patio completely clean. Use a wire brush and get deep into any nooks and crannies to remove any settled debris or grease. This is by far the most grueling phase of the entire project, so take comfort in knowing, once you’re done, it’s smooth sailing from here.
  • Hose off the patio thoroughly. Allow it to dry a day or two. Avoid walking on it or putting your plants and barbecue on it so you don’t create more ground in dirt. Ideally, cover it with a tarp at night and remove the tarp in the daytime to expose it to the sun.
  • Sweep the patio one more time just before priming.

Phase 2: Primer and Base Coat

  • Choose a day when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. Avoid working on windy days, as it can scatter dirt and debris in primer and wet paints. Set up a station somewhere off the edge of your patio to lay all your supplies. Put down a drop cloth to prevent paint spills and splatters from ruining the finish or killing the lawn.
  • Roll on the primer, being careful not to paint yourself into a corner. Allow the primer to dry for a few hours, or overnight to be safe. Acrylic generally dries quickly, but even if it’s dry to the touch it can still be soft enough to result in impressions when you walk on it and put your weight on it. This is especially true if you have work boots or sneakers with hard rubber soles with patterns carved into them. A pair of lightweight foam rubber flip-flops with a smooth bottom can be beneficial if you’re in a rush to get to the next coat.
  • Roll on the first coat of exterior paint in the “grout” color you’ve chosen. By the time the job is done, all you’ll see of this coat is the thin lines in between your stones, so choose the color accordingly. A very light gray or beige usually does the trick to offer contrast to the stone color.
  • Let it dry overnight.

Phase 3: Creating the Pattern

  • Use ½ inch painter’s tape to create your stone pattern. Unfortunately, you’ll have to get down on your knees again, however it’s not nearly as difficult as scrubbing.
  • The tape will cover what will eventually be those “grout lines.” So imagine the size and shape you want to create your stones, and tape away.
  • Imagine the shape you want your stones— round? Square? Random and rustic? Just envision them and create the shapes with the tape.
  • Once you’re finished with the painter’s tape, paint the “stone” sections with a base coat in the color you want your stones to be. Use an acrylic eggshell or satin finish paint.
  • Pull off the painter’s tape as soon as you’re able. The more the paint dries and cures, the more peeling it can cause to remove the tape. It’s okay if the edges of the grout lines look a little rough; they are, after all, mimicking finely ground stone. If you have trouble getting it, use a butter knife or craft knife to pry up the edge, then pull.
  • Let the paint dry for a few hours, or overnight.

Phase 4: Creating Shadows and Highlights

  • Creating shades and highlights will give your fake stones a more natural look. A sponge helps create texture and gives the overall appearance of a stone from nature rather than a flat painted stone.
  • Mix one part darker paint with one part glaze in a paint pan.In another paint pan, mix one part lighter paint with one part glaze.
  • Wet your sponges in the sink, then wring them very well. Dab one sponge into the darker paint glaze, then blot it on the sloped, dry side of the paint pan until its very little paint left on the sponge.
  • On some stones, add a few dabs of the darker color here and there. You can make some stones darker than others, give it a shadow around one edge, or dab some on in the center to make it look slightly concave.
  • Dab the other sponge in the lighter colored glaze, and go over some areas of some stones. This time, create a few highlights here and there. Pat the paint on lightly with the sponge. Leave some of the original color showing through underneath; you want a dappled look, not thick coverage.
  • Remember, you can always add; but subtracting requires re-painting. Continue sponging on highlights and lowlights, but only a little at a time, until you’re satisfied with the look.
  • As you dab on your color variations, be careful not to go over the grout lines.
  • If you do, wait for the paint to dry. Then take the original grout color and a thin craft paint brush to go over the mistakes. Acrylic paints provide fairly good coverage so a couple of coats should be all you need.
  • As usual, let it all dry

Phase 5: Sealing the Deal

After you’ve completed all your painting, you’ll want to add a sealer. Between exposure to the elements and wear and tear of use, your paint job’s life span is limited. Sealer will help protect the surface and extend the life of your paint job so you won’t have to worry about touch ups for a few years.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the can, and apply the recommended number of coats. Let it dry at least the maximum recommended drying time before moving anything back onto the porch.

Phase 6: Enjoy It

Put out some patio furniture where you can get comfortable, set out a few potted plants and make yourself a pitcher of lemonade. You’re going to enjoy spending time outside from now on.


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    • shai77 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed it Tolovaj. The trick is to not even worry about being artistic for the most part-- stones and bricks and pavers are random and uneven, so the less you think about it usually the better it turns out. Definitely not a project anyone has to shy away from because they worry about lacking artistic talents. I appreciate your comments!

    • Tolovaj profile image


      5 years ago

      This looks like totally doable project where we can even exercise a bit of artistic talents. Thanks for detailed and understandable explanations.


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