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Make An Exterior Concrete Surface Beautiful

Posted by Mark Gooch on

Make your exterior concrete surface beautiful with Smith's Paint's Color Floor Concentrate

Patio with overlay

Color: Base Color CF-120 Antique Gray: Highlight Colors CF-210 Sandstone and CF-230 Terra Cotta


Color: CF-140 Black and CF-290 Dark Chocolate mixture

There are three simple steps to achieve beautiful, long-lasting stained concrete surfaces:
1) Surface Preparation
2) Staining the New or Old Concrete Slab
3) Use Epoxy, Urethane, Water or Solvent-Based Sealer

1) Surface Preparation

Surface preparation is the most crucial step for staining concrete slabs. Plan to spend most of the time it takes to complete the project on the cleaning process.

Even with newly poured concrete, it will contain loose particles and powder that need to be removed prior to staining.

For cleaning exterior concrete slabs, R1 Supply recommends Smith's Cleaner & Toughener (CT-8).

Smith's Cleaner & Toughener (CT-8) toughens the concrete surface by reacting with weak spots created by unreacted Calcium Hydroxide. It's a non-hazardous detergent that is not harmful to the environment and can be washed down a drain after completing the cleaning process.

Prior to using CT-8, be sure to protect all Aluminum surfaces with Tape or Masking Tape, as this mixture will erode this type of metal.

Mix 1 cup of Smith's Cleaner & Toughener (CT-8) per gallon of water.  Warm water will help the powder dissolve quickly.

How to apply CT-8:

  • Flush the concrete slab with a water hose to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Liberally apply the pre-mixed CT-8.  During the cleaning process, the surface must remain damp for the CT-8 to keep active.
  • Use a Floor Buffer with a Nylon Grit Brush.  The abrasion produced from the floor buffer, coupled with the CT-8 removes foreign materials, as well as cleans the pores of the concrete.
  • Keep the surface damp with use of a water hose on a mist setting, and clean the surface for at least 10 minutes.
  • Be sure to rinse off thoroughly with a pressure washer with a zero degree rotating nozzle at force of 12,000 Work Units.  Work Units = Gallons per minute x PSI.  Try to keep the tip of the nozzle about 15 inches from the concrete surface to avoid scarring of the concrete.
  • Perform the Tape Test.  Allow the surface to dry, and then apply 12 inch strips of packing tape to different areas of the surface.  Rub the tape down tightly to the surface of the concrete, and then vigorously pull the tape off and review any particles that may have stuck to the tape.  If an abundant amount of particles is stuck to the tape, then the surface needs to be cleaned once again.  Repeat the tape test after each cleaning, and when the tape test passes, you are ready to begin Step 2 -  Staining the New or Old Concrete Slab (Exterior).
Surface Preparation Video using Smith's Cleaner & Toughener (CT-8)

Copyright © 2016 Smith Paint Products

2) Staining the New or Old Concrete Slab (Exterior)

  • Smith's Color Floor can be applied 6 to 8 days after a new concrete slab has been poured.  It can be applied as long as there is no standing water.  For optimal results, avoid applying the Smith's Color Floor mixture if the surface is too hot (too hot to place your hand on the concrete slab) or the air temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Mix the Smith's Color Floor concentrate with 4 parts Distilled Water (or Deionized / Reverse Osmosis Water) and 1 part Smith's Color Floor concentrate.  Do not use regular tap water, in order to obtain optimal adhesion and durability.
  • Use a high-volume or low-pressure sprayer, pump-up sprayer, airless sprayer, sea sponge or traditional bristle brush to apply the mixture to the concrete.  For best results, apply a fine mist of the mixture onto the intended area.
  • After applying the base color, approximately 15 minutes after it is dry to the touch, you can begin applying the highlight colors (if required).
Staining instructional video from Smith's Paints

Copyright © 2016 Smith Paint Products

3) Use Epoxy, Urethane, Water or Solvent-Based Sealer

Sealer can be applied after the concrete has cured.  This can take up to about 30 days, depending on surface thickness, air temperature, humidity and air flow.

Allow 24 hours for the stains to absorb and dry into the concrete surface before applying the sealer.

Smith's Color Floor Stains are compatible with single and two-component epoxy, urethane, water & solvent-based sealers.  Apply the sealer using an airless, high-volume / low-pressure pump up sprayer or a roller.  Use a bristle brush to cut in corners and seal joint lines.  Be sure to use a thin coat of sealer, as excess sealer will not add more protection, and can cause blister effects.


Color: Base Color CF-710 Nutmeg: Highlight Colors CF-120 Antique GrayCF-210 Sandstone and CF-630 Amber

Pool Deck

Color: Base Color CF-200 Yellow Ochre and CF-280 Bark Brown: Highlight Colors CF-630 Amber

Concrete Stains

Concrete Stains

Sprayers & Accessories

Sprayers & Accessories