Patio Makeover

I’ve got this patio that I just feel is under-loved.  It just seems a bit ho-hum. For about a year I’ve been obsessing over this Gather sign from the Sundance Catalog.  I’ve steadfastly refused to buy it because it’s over-priced!  But it would look so nice on my patio…..So of course, I caved and got the sign.  Once I had the sign, it didn’t seem like it was enough for the patio.  I decided, in the middle of the hottest Summer on record in Austin, that I should take on an outdoor project and stain the patio.

I toyed with the idea of staining the sides and foundation as well, but everyone else thought that was a bad idea and for some reason I listened.  I later really appreciated this as that would have just been way too much work.  Not to mention a pain in the butt to mask off!

I was going for a rich chocolate color – kind of like the trim on the house.  I went to the Home Depot and picked up all the supplies: Two colors of stains, two sprayers, some plastic sheeting and etching solution.  Let me just say that the stain color option cards are just terrible.  You might as well just pick the stain color by the name on the can because those don’t even come close to representing the actual color that will come out of the can.  I went with a combination of Chicory and Loden.  I ended up liking the Loden more as the Chicory had a very red tone to it.

Enough talking!  Let’s get to the good stuff – the before and afters.  Here is my lovely patio before.  Note the ugly builder entry mat and mildew covered hose housing:Boring blah concrete.

After a taping extravaganza that took more time than it took to apply two coats of stain and one coat of sealer, I was ready to etch.  This is fun stuff and it bubbled like mad, but I had to use so much water to stop the reaction that it pretty much blew away all my nice taping.  The directions say to wait 24-48 hours before applying stain.  As it was 103 on Saturday, I decided that 24 hours was more a more than generous allotment.

On to the really fun part!  The staining.  I loaded up each sprayer with a color and started to lay it down in a circular motion.

This is a light application of the Loden color.

But I wanted a richer color so I added in more of the Chicory.  I had that moment of this looks really red.  But there’s no turning back now.

So I finished the first coat (which I had originally planned to be my ONLY coat) and I wasn’t too jazzed with the color.

It was too red and the stairs came out a bit uneven.  I discovered to even everything out better, I had to used a roller in addition to the two sprayers.  So in disgust, I just walked away from this hot mess for the day.

The next day I loaded up Loden only, grabbed a paint brush for evenness and set to work on another coat.  This time much better.  No, it’s not the color I was aiming for, but it still goes with the warm tones in the brick so I think it works.

In case you were wondering if you really needed to do all that masking off, the answer is yes.  This is a very messy process and to get into those corners and edges you really have to overspray.

Well now that I’ve finally gotten the color right, I don’t want it to fade….especially since the stairs get tons of sun.  So it’s back to the Home Depot for sealer.  As I’m reading the can it says something ridiculous like don’t apply in temperatures above 90 degrees….did I mention it was over 100 for the whole weekend?  Really there’s no end in sight to the heat so I just slapped it on anyway.

Sealing took just a few minutes, the hard part was waiting to put the furniture back on the patio – 48 hour wait!  But it was worth it, I really like my new patio.  I dressed it up with the gather sign and a new coordinating entry mat.

It’s quite the inviting space now

I’m pleased with the color, though the light dirt does show up really well against the dark background now.  If it would ever rain again in Texas then we might have some chance at keeping the dirt down.  Until then, I’ll just think of it as a patina.

So overall a really worthwhile project, I was able to cover my 12’x20′ patio for about $150 for all the supplies (which included that nice new hose hanger you see on the left.)  And I’ve still got plenty of etching solution and sealer left over in case anyone needs any.  I did use up almost the whole gallon of Loden stain and about half the gallon of the Chicory.  The hardest part of the job is the prep work!  Once you have that done, it’s all down hill.

–Martta

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