Stain or Paint Over Concrete Driveway – What Is Better?

Stain or Paint Concrete Driveway

Stain and paint can work very differently on your driveway and should be chosen with care.

Because both stain and paint have their advantages, choosing the right one for your concrete driveway can be challenging.

After all, the stain can certainly bring out the best in concrete while paint can provide the color and texture that you find most appealing.

Choosing between them requires that you understand the differences so you can make the best-informed decision.


Stain vs. Paint for Concrete Driveways


What follows are the most important differences between choosing the stain or paint for a concrete driveway.

Based on your requirements this will help you choose the right one for your needs.

1- Durability You Want

How long stain and paint will last will depend on other factors. For example, the stain will fade fairly quickly unless a sealer is applied.

Once the sealer has dried, it will protect the stain underneath. This means that every so often if you re-apply more sealer, it will still protect the stain.

This is especially true if the sealer offers ultraviolet or UV protection from sunlight.

The longevity of paint will depend in large part on how it is applied to the surface. If not done correctly, it will start to chip or peel fairly quickly.

However, if the surface has been properly prepared and the right type of paint selected, it will last for a considerable amount of time.

Another option to consider is the type of traffic that either the paint or stain will experience that may wear away at the surface.

In other words, foot traffic will probably not be as wearing compared to the tires of your vehicle.

2- Coverage on Concrete

Arguably the biggest difference between stain and paint is how they cover the concrete itself.

The stain will soak into the concrete, penetrating the porous surface that creates a unique appearance.

Paint, on the other hand, will stay on the surface of the concrete itself, providing a strong layer of protection to keep the elements from penetrating the surface.

3- Application on Driveways

While you have to clean the concrete regardless, you will need to apply the paint with a roller or brush.

Compare this to stain which can be applied with a sprayer.

For paint, a degreaser will have to be applied to the concrete first which is not needed for the stain.

However, while the acidic stain will bring out the depth of color, you will need to add a sealer to waterproof the concrete.

That step is not necessary when you are applying paint to the surface.

So, Which One is Best for Your Concrete Driveways?

Choosing between stain or paint for the concrete driveway will start with whether you want to bring out the best in the concrete or have the color and texture that you want for your concrete surfaces.

If you choose to stain, you will need to use a sealer to lock the stain in place.

If you choose to paint, you will need to choose the right paint and prepare the surface properly.

Because both can last a similar amount of time, the best choice is the one that is the most appealing.

Just be sure that you do the work in researching what you want, including the type of stain or colors of paint that you find most appealing for your property.

Is driveway stain permanent?

The concrete stain used on the driveways is meant to be permanent. Unlike paint, these do not flake off easily. However, as the stain penetrates only the top layer of the surface these may get worn away with time due to weather exposure and daily traffic.

Can you stain a paved driveway?

Yes, you can stain a paved driveway as you do with a concrete walkway or brick paver patio. Remember that you should only pick the right paving stains/paints or an acrylic concrete stain for coating if you desire to get long-lasting results.

Can you put epoxy over stained driveway?

Yes, you can apply a coat of epoxy garage paint over the stained driveway to get better finish and shine. Make sure that you prep the surface properly so that it receives the epoxy the way you want.

Does stained driveway increase the value of home?

Definitely it will! Staining the driveway is not a luxury. Rather it should be considered as an investment that will not only improve the driveway finish and lower the maintenance cost but also enhances the overall value of your property.


How to Clean and Stain Your Driveway?


If you are looking to change the color of your driveway, then going with an acid wash or water-based stain may be the best answer.

To clean and stain your driveway, you will need to follow the right instructions as given below.

Choose a Stain

As you have two choices, the acid-based stain arguably produces the best colors for your driveway but is more difficult to apply.

A water-based stain is easier to apply but it does not have the rich depth of colors compared to acid-based stains.

Measure the Driveway

You’ll want to get the total square footage of the driveway. You can do that by measuring the length and width. This will let you know how much stain to purchase.

Since you can return unopened cans of pre-mixed stain, you can purchase a little more than you need just in case.

This is important because pre-mixed stain is rather pricy. While a single gallon may cover up to 250 square feet, it also costs upwards of $100 on average.

Clean & Prep the Surface

You’ll need to brush away all the debris from the driveway. Once that is completed, use a concrete degreaser to get rid of the stains caused by the oil and dirt.

After that, use a pressure washer to clean the surface thoroughly. Let the driveway fully dry and then brush off any debris before you apply the stain.

Wear Protection & Apply the Stain

Before you apply the stain, you’ll need to wear the following.

  • Goggles, gloves, and hat
  • Long pants, long-sleeve shirt, and boots

Now you are ready to apply the stain. Use a pump sprayer to cover the driveway. Try to spread the stain as evenly as possible.

This means starting in one corner, applying enough to cover a two-foot section, and then moving to a new section.

Once the stain is fully applied, do not let anyone walk on it until it fully dries, or you will have footprints.

Read the instructions on how to apply the stain that you are using.

Remember that it may take up to eight hours before the stain changes the color of the driveway.

Afterward, you can use a sealer to give the concrete that polished appearance.

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