If you're a serious do-it-yourselfer, consider engraving/scoring techniques to create concrete stain patterns. This is an excellent project for turning dull concrete into your own decorative masterpiece, especially exterior surfaces such as patios and porches. In addition to colorful designs, it can add a 3 dimensional effect to the surface.
Scoring patterns also makes it much easier to keep separation between the different colors in your patterns. Acid stains and many acrylic stains are as thin as water so you can imagine how difficult it would be to "stay between the lines" without some sort of barriers.
The kinds of concrete stain patterns you can create is only limited to your imagination. You can simply put a border around the outer egde or score a detailed design to show off your artistic abilities. The key is preparation and drawing the patterns in pencil exactly the way you want them before you begin scoring. Here are some examples of how scoring is used to complement staining:
This porch was scored in a running bond brick pattern. I used a small angle grinder with a 4" x 1/4" x 5/8" masonry grinding wheel. The 1/4" cut makes the lines visible enough to resemble mortar joints or grout lines. The porch was then acid stained, first with a coat of light brown, then with a coat of black. After the sealer was applied, the lines were scored one more time to make them white again. This may sound like alot of work but rescoring the lines goes rather quickly.
Here is a patio with a fairly simple design. The pattern was scored using the same angle grinder but with a 4" diamond blade. A diamond blade makes a good barrier for keeping the colors separated but the lines are much less visible when finished.
Using these techiniques, you can create just about any concrete stain pattern that you want. Just use some common sense and don't try any patterns that may seem too difficult. Scoring and staining cannot be reversed.
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