Concrete is a robust material for a patio, but it still requires some protection if you want it to last longer. Coating your concrete patio with sealer or paint will protect it from the elements and can make it look better too. There are a lot of different concrete coatings available and you may be a bit lost when trying to choose one.
This article will take you through some of the best options and give you some advice to help you find the perfect coating for your concrete patio.
What to Consider When Buying a Concrete Patio Coating?
There are many different concrete patio coatings on the market, so how do you know which one is right for your patio? We will discuss specific products later on, but there are also some key factors you should consider when choosing a coating.
Ensuring it is Weatherproof
The most important thing to consider is how weatherproof the coating is. After all, the main reason that you are coating the patio is to increase its longevity and protect it against the elements. Your patio can get scratched and dented, and it can also fade in the sun. Heavy rainfall can also erode the concrete over time. So, you need a coating that not only looks good, but also protects against all of the elements.
Consider the climate to determine what your priorities are. Concrete sealers, for example, are good if you live in a cold climate because they protect the patio from cracking as it freezes and thaws. However, if you live in a very hot climate, UV protection should be your main priority because you don’t want the patio to fade.
Next, think about the durability of the coating. A cheap paint or sealer will not last very long, especially when exposed to harsh weather. That means you’ll be reapplying on a regular basis, which not only takes a lot of time, but it also costs you money. It’s better to spend more money on a durable coating that will stand the test of time because you will spend less in the long run.
What kind of finish do you want on your patio? Acrylic sealers, for example, are great for moisture protection but they do give you a glossy sheen on the patio, which you may not want. In that case, you can use a penetrating sealer instead, which soaks into the stone and gives a more natural finish.
If you are using a concrete paint, you will have the same options of glossy and matte finishes and you can also get textured concrete paints. These have heavy-duty resins that give better adhesion and stronger, long-lasting colors, but have a rougher texture.
Anti-slip paint tends to have a rough texture too, so it provides more grip and makes the patio area safer in wet weather. Make sure that you think about what kind of texture will work well with the rest of the yard.
Obviously, the color is very important. If you are using a clear concrete sealer, you will retain the natural color of the concrete patio, so you only need to consider the type of finish. That said, many clear coatings can also be tinted, so you can add some color if you need to. They will also enhance the natural color of the stone, so it is important to do a small test patch first so you know what the finished product will look like.
If you are using paint, you have a range of colors to choose from. Paint is an excellent option for bringing an old patio back to life, especially if you are changing the design of your yard or your home. When choosing a paint color for your patio, make sure that you consider the color of your house. The two must match and complement one another or the patio will look very out of place.
So, if you’re painting the outside of your house, it may be worth considering a change of color for the patio too.
Finally, you need to consider the total cost of coating the patio. In general, a simple concrete sealer will be cheaper than an epoxy or urethane-based coating, but the latter gives longer lasting protection against moisture. The cost of concrete paint varies a lot, depending on the quality. But bear in mind that you get what you pay for and a high-quality exterior paint can last decades if applied and cared for properly.
These are the key factors that you must consider when choosing a coating for your concrete patio. Read on to see my top concrete patio coating picks.
10 Best Concrete Patio Coating Options
If you are concerned about safety on your patio area, this INSL-X Sure Step Paint is an excellent choice. It is an acrylic paint that gives a great skid-resistant finish, so the patio area is safer in the wet weather. This is ideal for families with young children or elderly people. It is available in 7 different colors, so you should be able to find something that matches your home.
It is a fairly thick paint too, which means that you get a good protective layer and it’s also excellent at filling in cracks in the patio. I’d go for this one if you are trying to bring an old patio back to life and give it a fresh look.
For patios in wet and cold climates, you can’t do much better than the Siloxa-Tek 8500 Penetrating Concrete Sealer. This is a penetrating sealer, so it soaks into the concrete and protects it, enhancing the natural color at the same time.
The water-based formula protects against freeze-thaw cycles that can crack the concrete, and also prevents damage from deicing salt, so it’s ideal if you see a lot of low temperatures. You get great moisture protection too, so rainwater won’t soak into the porous concrete.
This is a unique product because the silane/siloxane formulation soaks into the concrete and gives it a surface layer of protection at the same time, giving it superior moisture protection compared with similar products. It’s also very easy to apply with a sprayer. If you’re looking for a clear coat for your concrete patio, this is one of the best that money can buy.
If you’re looking for a reliable concrete paint that is durable and gives you excellent protection, the KILZ Decorative Concrete Coating is a safe bet. It’s easy to apply with a roller and you get good coverage, so it’s a cost-effective option. The choice of colors is a bit limited compared with other products because it only comes in gray or tan.
However, if you are looking for a plain option, it’s great. It has a good non-slip coating and is thick enough to cover small cracks too.
While this isn’t the best concrete paint money can buy, it’s a reliable all-round solution if you want something simple to protect your patio and make it look a bit fresher.
The CC Concrete Coatings Superseal Acrylic Sealer is one of the most durable concrete sealers on the market. This acrylic sealer gives an incredibly hard coating that will last for years to come without the need to reapply. It is a very high solvent product, so expect some fumes for the first 24 hours after application, but after that, you will get excellent UV protection and moisture resistance.
The sealer soaks into the concrete but it does leave a glossy finish, which some people don’t like. When applying it, you may have issues with brush strokes too, so it’s best to use a sprayer, if possible. This will give you a more even finish without any brush marks.
A light sanding between coats will help too. Although this sealer is a little harder to apply than others, the results are well worth it because it’s incredibly hard wearing.
RUST-OLEUM products are always reliable and offer excellent performance, especially for the money, and their concrete coating is no exception. It gives a nice textured finish that is both aesthetically pleasing and improves safety. It also has hydrophobic properties, so it actively repels water and gives you a solid layer of protection against the rain.
It’s fairly easy to apply but RUST-OLEUM do sell their own applicator, which is worth buying, in my opinion. It’s not that expensive and it makes your job much easier, and you will get a better finish. Make sure that you keep stirring the coating throughout as well because the grit that creates the textured surface can sink to the bottom of the can. Also, it goes on quite thin, so you will need 2 or 3 coats for good coverage.
Finding a good coating for a pool deck can be tough. Not only do you need to protect against normal wear and tear from the weather, you also need to prevent damage caused by chlorine and excess water from the pool. Making the concrete areas around the pool cool and comfortable to walk on is also a big bonus. You can get all of that with this Cool Pool Deck Coating.
You don’t need to do much prep beyond cleaning the pool deck, and it’s quick to apply. It is also touch dry in less than an hour. It will fill cracks and bring the concrete back to life, while also cooling it.
It comes in a bundle with a cleaner to use beforehand and then a protective clear coating to apply after the paint has dried so you get protection from the elements too.
If you want to do something bold with your patio and give it some color, the Rust Bullet DuraGrade Concrete Coating is a good choice. It is available in 19 colors including vibrant oranges, reds, and blues. But you can also go for a simple black and white if you want something more classic. There is also a clear version if you want to stick with the natural concrete color.
It’s a polyurethane coating that goes on fairly thick, so you don’t need too many coats and you get a great chip and scratch-resistant layer. It also gives you excellent protection against UV damage and moisture, so the color will last a long time without fading.
It doesn’t need any kind of preparation before application and you don’t need a primer. You simply need to clean the patio area and then apply the coating. Just make sure that the concrete is fully dried before you apply the coating because the polyurethane does not do well with moisture until it has properly cured.
This KILZ Over Armor Wood and Concrete Resurfacer is a great acrylic coating designed to overhaul old weathered concrete and wood. If your patio and decking area has seen better days but you don’t want to replace it, this is a great alternative. It will fill gaps and cover imperfections, giving it a uniform look again. It will fill deeper cracks than most other concrete paints and sealers.
It is available in a wide range of colors, making it perfect for a redesign of your old yard. You will get great moisture and UV protection too, so you can transform an old patio and deck area and keep it looking good for years to come. So, before you start pulling up patio slabs, give this a try instead.
If you have a patio area around a pool or you are just worried about safety, you need a coating that prioritizes grip, like the FIXALL SKid Grip Acrylic Paint. It is a thick paint with a very gritty texture that is ideal for pool decks, and can even be used on sports courts too. If you have young kids running around the yard and you want to keep them safe, this is a great concrete coating.
It comes in 7 different colors ranging from black to crimson, so you’ll find one to match your home easily. It goes on well with a roller too, so it is a simple DIY job to protect your patio and give it more grip.
This RTG Anti-Slip Paint solves one of the problems that people often have with slip-resistant patio coatings. They tend to have a very abrasive feel to them because they use a large grit to create grip. But the RTG Anti-Slip Paint uses a different additive that still provides grip without that rough texture. This is a big bonus if you have pets because the gritty textures of other paints can be a bit rough for them to walk on.
It gives you the same moisture and sun protection as other paints, and it’s available in 4 different colors. You will find that this is a bit more expensive than other concrete paints, but this is because it uses an innovative non-slip additive that doesn’t give you the gritty texture, so it’s worth paying the extra for it.
How to Apply a Concrete Coating?
Proper application of concrete coatings is crucial if you want to get the full benefit. When improperly applied, they do not last as long and you may not get full coverage, so you are not protected against the elements. Follow these steps to apply a concrete coating:
1. Clear and Clean the Patio
Remove all furniture from the patio area and use a brush to sweep up any loose leaves and dirt. You then need to clean the patio to make sure that it is completely free of dirt and grime. Any leftover dirt will prevent the coating from sealing properly, so be thorough.
You can use warm soapy water and a scrubbing brush to clean the concrete but if you want to make life easier for yourself, a pressure washer is the way to go. If you have painted the patio in the past, you may need to use a solvent to remove old paint if the pressure washer isn’t powerful enough to take it off.
2. Repair the Patio
Many of the coatings listed above will fill small cracks in your patio, but larger cracks and chips should be repaired before you start painting. You can use a ready mix concrete patch to make up a quick filler. Always ensure that cracks are completely free of dust before you apply the filler. When it is dry, sand it down until smooth and then clean the patio again quickly to remove any residual dust.
3. Acid Etching the Surface
In some cases, acid etching the surface of the concrete is necessary. This is a process that uses a mixture of muriatic acid mixed with water to dissolve some of the concrete on the surface. This does two things; firstly, it removes any stubborn dirt and grime and secondly, it creates a more permeable surface for paints and concrete sealers to bond to.
If your concrete patio is new, you shouldn’t need to do this step. You may also be able to skip it depending on the type of coating you use. They should say in the application directions whether you need to acid etch the surface or not. However, if your patio is old and particularly dirty, acid etching is always a good idea because you’ll get a better finish.
You can pick up an acid solution from a hardware store and they are relatively inexpensive, so it’s worth doing this step.
Read our related concrete etching posts:
- What Is Etching Concrete? (The Ultimate Guide)
- How Long to Wait After Etching Concrete Before Painting?
- Can I Sand or Grind Concrete Instead of Etching?
4. Apply Your Coating
Now that the surface is prepared, you can apply your coating. Always read the directions on the tin because every coating is different. When using sealers or clear coats like polyurethane, using a sprayer, if possible, is always a good idea. It speeds the job up and gives you an even coating without brush strokes. Visible brush strokes are a particular problem when using glossy clear coats.
Concrete paints tend to be quite thick and you may not be able to use a sprayer. Rollers are a good choice or some products, like the RUST-OLEUM discussed earlier, have their own specific applicator available. The directions should give some indication of what the best application method is.
Check to see whether you require a primer or not too. Many products these days are all-in-one options that don’t need a primer, but some still do. Apply 2 to 3 coats of paint or sealer, giving it enough time to dry in between. It’s best to leave the coating for a few days to fully cure before using the patio. Again, refer to the directions for more accurate drying and curing times for your specific product.
5. Recoat When Necessary
Once your patio is painted or sealed, you are ready to go. But the protection won’t last forever, so you need to recoat semi-regularly. On average, most paints and sealers will last 3-5 years before the level of protection starts to diminish. If your patio gets a lot of foot traffic or you live in an area with a harsh climate, it’s best to be cautious and recoat more often.
Concrete Patio Coating FAQs
What’s the Difference Between a Concrete Sealer and Concrete Paint?
The major difference between concrete sealer and concrete paint is that paint gives a stronger color. Just like any other paint, it sits on the surface of the concrete and creates a protective barrier, as well as changing the color. A sealer, on the other hand, soaks into the concrete itself and usually doesn’t add color to the concrete. However, some sealers can be tinted.
Both sealers and paint will protect your concrete patio from the elements, so it’s up to you whether you want to change the color or stick with the natural concrete and simply protect it.
Can You Use Epoxy on Your Outdoor Patio?
Epoxy is a popular choice for protecting concrete patios. It’s incredibly durable and has excellent waterproof qualities, so it’s ideal for outdoor spaces. It’s also very long lasting, so you don’t need to recoat that often, as long as you do a good job with the initial application. However, it is not UV resistant and will turn yellow in the sun over time.
It is possible to slow this by using specialist epoxy products and putting on a clear coat, but it’s still a significant issue that you should be aware of. You can learn more about the pros and cons of using epoxy coatings on your patio here. (link to epoxy article here)
Coating your concrete patio is necessary if you want to prevent fading caused by UV rays and prevent excess moisture soaking into the concrete. Painting your patio is also an excellent way to breathe new life into it.
All of the products discussed in this article are perfect for your concrete patio. Just make sure that you prepare the concrete properly first, so you get a strong bond. Failing to clean the concrete thoroughly will result in a poor finish that doesn’t stick for long.
Read our related concrete patio post “How Thick Should a Concrete Patio Be?“.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.