Transform Outdoor Surfaces with Decorative Concrete Coatings

Transform Outdoor Surfaces with Decorative Concrete Coatings

Patios, driveways, walkways and more can become a source of drama and elegance with decorative concrete coatings.

By Diane Franklin

In 2020, homeowners have a heightened interest in expanding their outdoor living spaces. With decorative concrete coatings, they can achieve this aesthetically pleasing goal. Using these specialty coatings can add color and pizzazz to otherwise drab outdoor surfaces, such as patios, driveways, walkways and pool decks.

Patios, in particular, are appropriate outdoor settings to target for a decorative update. Using decorating concrete coatings can give the horizontal concrete surface of a patio the faux appearance of a multicolored tile floor or area rug. Among the looks you can achieve—dependent upon the product you use—are mottled stone, marble, Venetian plaster, brick, metal, wood and faux textures. You can even use self-adhesive masking stencils to create a unique design such as a medallion or intricate marquetry pattern.

After finishing your floor, you can complete the patio with upscale outdoor furniture—i.e., sectional sofas, loveseats, cushioned chairs, coffee tables, dining sets—to provide an excellent setting for intimate al fresco gatherings without ever leaving the comfort and safety of your own home.

Decorative Concrete Options

There are a variety of decorative concrete coatings on the market that work well on outdoor surfaces. Major brands offer ready-to-use decorative concrete coatings for a variety of concrete and masonry surfaces, including patios, driveways and walkways. Several products, including Rust-Oleum® Decorative Concrete Coating and Seal-Krete Floor-Tex® Textured Concrete Coating, offer a durable, nonslip decorative finish that makes them ideal for use on pool decks and walkways.

Rust-Oleum’s product is a multi-color finish available in four colors: Sahara, Sunset, Brick and Slate. Seal-Krete Floor-Tex is available in two premixed colors and tintable to 36 colors—and for even greater color variety, it is also paintable.

A popular and versatile choice for creating decorative effects on concrete is SkimStone, a hybridized Portland cement product manufactured by Rudd Co. SkimStone is a unique decorative finishing system that can be used to create an unlimited number of distinctive looks by mixing and combining colors and application techniques.

There’s a full range of colors available in the SkimStone ColorPak inventory—with hues ranging from earthy shades like Florentine Clay and Morocco Sand to jewel tones like Sapphire Blue and Peacock Green. With the use of self-adhesive masking stencils, SkimStone allows for infinite color and pattern variety. The product is easy to mix and to apply, with no acid-etching requirement.

Undertaking Your Project

As with any coatings project, preparing your surface is the vital first step. The surface of the concrete should be clean, cracks filled and, in many instances, previous coatings removed. In the case of SkimStone, for instance, you cannot apply the product over previously sealed or painted concrete. The surface will need to be taken down to bare concrete by grinding or shot-blasting.

In the case of Seal-Krete Floor-Tex, the premium acrylic formula hides surface imperfections and resists damage from moisture, salt, oil, gas and chlorine. Rust-Oleum’s Decorative Concrete Coating, meanwhile, is easy to apply but for best results must be applied using the brand’s Decorative Concrete Coating applicator.

Applying SkimStone requires more expertise than ready-to-use decorative coatings. This is a multi-part product that must be mixed. In addition, knowing how to use a trowel is a major consideration in achieving the textured appearance that is unique to SkimStone. The trowel also is important in ensuring that the product is applied in very thin coats.

Some SkimStone projects can get quite intricate, with the use of multiple colors to achieve the final pattern. The more complicated the product, the more vital it is to seek out proper training. Fortunately, SkimStone offers the necessary instruction via videos at its website ( and also through in-person events.

Your neighborhood paint store is the best resource for the products and information you need to proceed with a decorative concrete coatings project. Speak to the qualified staff at the store for help in selecting products and for application advice.

If the project is too complicated for you to accomplish on your own, the paint store staff can recommend an experienced painting professional who can do the job for you. If that is your preference, then all you will have to do is pick out your desired colors and pattern. When the job is complete, you’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the perfect decorative look for your outdoor space.

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