Concrete is a popular surface option for patios, decks, and even interior flooring. This is because the material is not just strong and durable, but it can also be very attractive when painted, stained, and stamped. If you're thinking of having decorative concrete poured for your indoor or outdoor space, note a few questions you might have about this material, and then discuss this with a concrete installer as needed.

Can you install decorative concrete yourself?

If you're paving a small area of your property or a small interior floor, then you may be able to pour concrete and add a paint colour over it by yourself. However, staining concrete can require some skill and experience, and stamping concrete so that it looks like brick or stone can also be more difficult than you realize. You also need to exercise caution about thinking you can paint or stain large areas of concrete, as the concrete can dry faster than you realize, and the finish then looks uneven. In many cases, it can be good to leave this work to a professional.

Does the paint or stain peel away?

The surface of concrete itself may eventually spall, meaning that it cracks and crumbles. This is because concrete will absorb moisture over the years, and this moisture allows the material to crack or suffer slight chips and other such damage.

When this happens, a crumbling concrete surface will take the paint or stain with it, so you may notice it peeling away. However, this is the concrete peeling and not the coating; that paint or stain itself should last for many years, if you seal it properly and as often as recommended by the installer. You also want to avoid allowing water to collect on the concrete, driving heavy vehicles over it, and letting oil and grease collect on the surface, as these can also damage that paint or stain colour.

Can concrete be painted or treated after it's been installed?

If you have a concrete patio or floor inside the home that's in relatively good condition but needs some smoothing out and a fresh colour, you might consider applying a textured coating. This is like a paint colour that has a rough aggregate to it; the texture of the aggregate can hide minor imperfections in old concrete, such as small chips and cracks. Textured coating won't fill in large gaps, but it can be the best choice for older concrete that isn't level and even, and which you don't want outright replaced.