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Can I Apply Stain Myself or Should I Hire a Pro?

The answer to this question all depends on your skill level and the complexity of the project. If you want to stain a small area, such as a patio, you might be able to tackle the job yourself, particularly if you're working with an acrylic-based stain, which tends to be more user-friendly to apply.

Before you decide to do the work yourself, make sure you're well-prepared:

Keep in mind that once a concrete stain is down, the color is permanent—there's no going back. If you have any doubts, hire the services of an expert, especially if the slab is large or requires extensive surface preparation or you want to incorporate multiple colors and elaborate decorative effects. Use the Find-a-Contractor database to locate a staining professional in your area.

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Photo: L.M. Scofield

Good Resources for the Do-It-Yourselfer

Consult with the stain manufacturer. Many are willing to provide detailed application instructions and technical support. (See this DIY information from the website of Kemiko Concrete Stains.)

Attend a decorative concrete training session on applying stains. Many companies offer hands-on training. (See this list of concrete training resources from

Read a good book and watch a DVD on the topic, such as Bob Harris' Guide to Stained Concrete and companion DVD A Guide to Stained Concrete and More.

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