The title of this post has double meaning: bring your coffee, this is a long post AND come sit awhile with me in our new outdoor room/sitting area.
Our home is a 3-bedroom rambler, which was built in 1968. We are continually working on some sort of upgrade. I decided to makeover our covered patio - wanting to turn it into an outdoor room, like those I've seen on Pinterest and various blogs.
The structure was sound - just needed some paint touch up. The concrete, however, needed some serious love. After much research, I decided to stain the concrete, using a combination of Quikrete and Ducan products.
NOTE: In an effort to save other DIY'ers from experiencing some of my frustration, I'm including a ton of pictures as the project progressed, LFMM notes (Learn From My Mistakes!) and links to/pictures of products I used.
I started off with drab, gray concrete - and lots of cracks to give it "character".
Staining Concrete - This entire process took two days
Surface Preparation:Clear everything from the patio and pressure wash the surface thoroughly.
- LFMM: We let it dry, which was not necessary, as water is needed in the etching process, so you'll just get it wet again.
Etching: This step prepares the concrete to accept the stain.
- Protect areas where the etching product will run off - your plants will not like it
- Wet the surface with a garden hose (I used the "mist" setting - didn't soak it, you don't want puddles)
- I transferred the etching product into a plastic watering can, sprinkling it onto the concrete in a circular area about 4'x4'
- Using a stiff push broom, I scrubbed one direction and then perpendicular to that
- The product will foam up a bit - it's supposed to do that
- Once you've completed the scrubbing process, use a garden hose to rinse off the patio. You will be able to tell it's completely rinsed when there is no more visible foaming/sudsing.
Tape off and protect anything you don't want etched or stained. I used regular painters tape and paper.
- LFMM: Tape/paper higher than you think - there will be splatter!
- LFMM: Use the wet-on-wet process! If you do any internet research you will see different methods of applying concrete stain. Some dampen the surface before applying the wet stain (wet-on-wet) and some apply the wet stain to dry concrete (wet-on-dry). If you use the wet-on-wet process, you have much more opportunity to move the stain around, if it's not exactly how you want it. Using the wet-on-dry process, the stain will stay exactly where it's sprayed. There is no grace in this process.
There were areas where I had to go back and add a little more stain. You can see this in the first picture, above. Some areas, where the concrete was a different texture, the stain ran. See second photo, above, where the stain was heavier after it ran and I back-rolled it. This is okay, as it all evens out as you layer on the stain.
My patio is 12' x 28' and the first gallon of Tuscan Sunset didn't quite cover it. Grrrr!
At this point, I started to panic.
- I'm not sure about the color - it's more yellow than I thought (way more yellow than my photos are showing you)
- I'm not sure about the texture and how it's going on
- I don't like this process!
- This is my least favorite DIY project EVER!
So...I let it dry for a bit and took another look. Still not happy...but I'm no QUITTER! I went back to Lowe's to 1) buy a second gallon of Tuscan Sunset and 2) buy a gallon of Red Rocks to add in. Of course, the closest Lowe's only had ONE gallon of the base, so I had to drive another 20 minutes to get two gallons. UGH!
I poured HALF of the Tuscan Sunset into the sprayer, finished the first coat and sprayed over some of the areas that didn't get the coverage I wanted.
After cleaning out the sprayer, I poured in half of the Red Rocks stain and began adding it to areas of the concrete. I wasn't going for complete coverage with this color - simply adding a little color and depth.
ACK! Now it's too red! I decided to let it sit overnight and see how it looked in the morning...
Yep, even after a good night's sleep and sufficient caffeine intake - it's still too red. Luckily, I had saved 1/2 of the gallon of Tuscan Sunset and was able to go over the entire patio one more time, adding this color back in. This time, I used the roller to back-roll it. It provided better blending in areas that needed it.
At this point, the combination of colors and blending layers was starting to grow on me. It's sort of Tuscan Gold meets Terra Cotta. It was still a little bright, but I knew that the next step - adding concrete sealer - would darken it.
I started out with Quikrete Natural Look Waterproofer, but didn't like the duller finish. (Never fear! I was able to use the Quikrete product on our other patio, which is aggregate concrete and uncovered. It worked well for that.) For the covered patio, I found Ducan Concrete Driveway and Patio Glaze in Clear, High Gloss.
Why Ducan? Because neither my Home Depot or Lowe's had a glossy finish concrete sealer. Hrmph! I found the Ducan product at McLendons. I'm so glad I changed to this! The glaze helped darken/deepen the color of the stain, in addition to providing protection.
The concrete glaze is easy to apply, using a roller. When rolling it on, it looks sort of white, but clears up as it dries. I applied two coats, per the instructions.
Installing Outdoor DraperiesOne of my goals for this project was to see how creative I could be in using alternative products to save money.
For the drapery rods, we used electrical fittings and conduit.
The patio has four openings, so my Handy Hubby cut the conduit and installed it as four rods.
I searched Home Depot's hardware section to see if I could come up with an alternative for hanging the drapes from the rods, but didn't have any luck. I did find the least expensive drapery clip rings (I needed 8 sets) at Wal-mart.
The drapes were hung with the 6' side as the width and the 9' side as the length. I didn't need the entire 9' length, so I simply folded over the 9' side about 24" and clipped them up. The folded over section looks like a ruffle.
I found an outdoor rug at Big Lots for $39 (bargain!) and dressed the rest of it from things I already had around the house.
Here is the before:
And here are the afters:
We used wire to hang mason jars from the rafters and strung globe lights to suspend in the jars. Sorry, I didn't get photos of that process...
It's beautiful at night!