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How to Transform an Old, Tired, Cracked Concrete Patio

Update your concrete patio with rust-oleum, and I will show you how!

How to transform old, tired, cracked concrete with rust-oleum stone effects poster.

If you’ve been following along for a while, then you might remember that we’ve been working on projects to fix up the exterior of our house since the spring.

I shared the whole “before” of our exterior as well as our plans to improve it early in the season. So far we have worked on the deck; the pea gravel fire pit, the siding (which our carpenter is working on in the front, now), the exterior trim, and the front yard lawn, river rock garden,  split rail fence, and side shade garden.

One of the last things we managed to squeeze in this year before “the weather” arrived was the makeover of our lower patio. The before of this patio area from when I shared all my plans for the exterior of our house and the yard shows how it looked mid-way into the deck reconstruction process…

A house under construction.

We started with a very tired, very damaged, very ugly, old patio area beneath our upper deck.

At some point it had been painted with concrete paint (long before we moved in), and it had NOT held up well. It actually made me cringe inside every time I looked at it.

A concrete patio area.

Up close picture of the worn out patio area.

We started out by giving it a serious {and I do mean SERIOUS} power washing. We got up as much of the old concrete paint as we possibly could in order to leave a clean, fresh surface for our new treatment. The prep steps may seem like the boring part but they are super important, so don’t skip them!

Power washing the concrete patio.

We bought this Subaru Power Washer in the spring and LOVE it…


After power washing and getting every last bit of the old paint off that we possibly could, we filled the cracks with a special RustOLeum epoxy filler…

Filling the cracks in the patio.

Next: The Primer!

I basically left this job up to my husband while the boys and I were out. It took a LOT longer then he (or I) originally thought it would. The priming step is very important and needs to be done correctly and thoroughly. It isn’t just like painting on a regular old paint primer (which is what we were thinking). It goes on more thickly and is stickier; almost like a watered down glue. Doing it properly will make a huge difference to your finished project so make sure you take your time with this step!

We cut in along the edges with a brush, and then rolled the primer onto the rest of the area with a paint roller on an extension handle.

Buckets of stone effects and a paint roller.

Brushing on the paint.

Rolling the stone effects onto the patio.

After allowing the primer to dry for at least 24 hours, we were ready for…

Next: The Stone Effects Stone Coating!

This is really the exciting part of the whole process. We used a metal grout/tile mixer bit on a drill in order to make sure it was all throughly mixed together. (We used Stone Effects in a colour called Silver Beech).

Mixing the stone effects paint.

We had our talented carpenter show us how to apply the Stone Effects Stone Coating and he ended up doing the whole job with us. We learned a lot from him about the best way to apply it, as he has done it before on large outdoor areas (and loves it; he says it has held up amazingly well as his own house!).

Applying The Stone Effects

We started by applying it a small area of the edges with a metal putty knife. You want to make sure that the material you are working with stays wet so don’t work your way too far along the wall/edges.

Applying the paint to the corners of the patio.

Applying more of the product to the concrete patio floor.

We scooped up the Stone Effects with a clean plastic container and dropped it along, then used a large trowel to smooth it out with. Our carpenter showed us how he works with smooth motions, back and forth, in order to get as level and smooth of a finished surface as possible. We used a smooth edge (or rounded edge) trowel to work with the Stone Effects material.

I would recommend practicing this part first, perhaps on a large piece of cardboard or plywood, just to get the feel for using the trowel unless you have done this kind of thing before.

Smoothing out the stone effects with a trowel.

After smoothing the Stone Effects one way, we worked back the other away, again and again until a smooth finish was created.

Making the product smooth onto the patio.

Up close picture of smoothing it all out.

We also used the putty knife to apply the Stone Effects to the lip of the concrete that abuts the lawn, so that the finish wraps down the side of the patio.

Using a putty knife on the stone effects.

We did TWO coats of the Stone Effects finish. The first coat took much longer, but a second coat is important in order to make sure that you have a solid surface and that you fill in any time gaps or missing areas.

Next: The Sealer/Top Coat!

The sealer went on much more easily then the primer did! We mixed it well, poured it into a rolling tray, used a brush to apply it along the edges, and then rolled the rest on using a long handled roller.

Pouring the sealer into a paint tray.

Brushing the sealer onto the patio.

Rolling the sealer onto the stone effects on the patio.


Such an awesome porch transformation!

Before I totally avoided this lower deck area, and now it feels so clean, fresh, and welcoming. We are going to finish off the top of the siding, widen the posts with some additional cladding, and then add a fence along the lower far end for additional privacy. I can’t wait to use this area next year as it’s the only outdoor patio with any shade in our south facing yard.

The patio all done with pots of flowers on it.


Up close picture of the stone effects.

Wicker furniture on the patio.

Honestly, I could not be MORE thrilled with the transformation of our patio.

It looks like a completely different patio space. It is so much cleaner and fresher and newer… and I know it’s going to be a beautiful finish for years to come because we did everything we could to follow the steps correctly. And isn’t it so pretty, too??

All the patio furniture on the deck.

Deck chairs on the patio in a dark brown colour.

I love the transformation!

Check out the difference…

How to transform your deck graphic.

You can find the Rust-Oleum Stone Effects system at your local hardware retailer. Check Rust-Oleum Canada or Rust-Oleum USA for the closest source nearest you!

signature and quote

Disclosure: I worked with Rust-Oleum Canada on this product review. All wording and opinions are 100% my own.


















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  1. Now that it’s been a while, can you tell me how your beautiful patio is holding up? Are there any… cracks? any chipping? Anxious to hear back! THANKS

  2. Hi there, thank you for sharing. Are you able to share a rough estimate on how much you spent on this project. Thanks!

    1. Hello Colleen,

      The primer is part of the StoneEffects system – it’s Step One in the process, and prepares the concrete for Step 2 (troweling on the stone). Hope that helps!


    1. Hi Sherri,
      It is meant to be weather resistant so I believe that it should hold up, but we live in a more mild climate (west coast of BC) and where we installed it was under cover so I can’t guarantee it from my own personal experience.

      1. I’m located in Boston, MA & cant locate the StoneEffects–Can you help? I would like the lightest granite like color–(which it appears yours might have been)for my pool deck. Did you do your pool decking in your new home? Thank You!

  3. After the time passed, has the Rustoleum Stone effects concrete transformation held up?
    Has it cracked, chipped or peeled anywhere?

    1. Hello Andrea!
      We ended up selling that house after having the stone effects done for about 1.5 years and it held up beautifully in that time. Ours was under cover, so it did not get much direct contact from rain and it is rarely below freezing where we live as well.

  4. My mother has lived in the same house since she got married in the 70s. It is still a very nice hose but you can tell that there are a few places that could use repairs. One of those places is the back patio; it is very cracked and falling into disrepair. I really appreciate your tip to clean, prime, and cover old cement to create a new look; however, I think my mother will be better off to just replace the cement so that she can redesign the layout and shape to create something great!

    1. Hi Gina,
      I honestly don’t see why it couldn’t be. It would have less exposure to the weather. The only question would be about how cold your basement gets in the winter and whether it would freeze and crack as it’s below grade? I would ask Rust-Oleum – either asking someone at the store where you purchase it or leave a message on one of their social media accounts or website with that question just to verify. It has a very nice finish to it!

  5. Love the look! Any feedback on this product holding up against colder weather? Durability with shoveling/snowblower?

    Also, do you think this product would stick, on an angle? Considering to cover our front (concrete) steps, with the product.

    Thank you for advice!

  6. Hi! I know I am late to this post but I think this would look great around our pool. The concrete has seen better days and is seriously in need of some love. Wondering about the texture of this? Is it slick / slippery?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jess,
      We just recently moved into a house with a pool and I think I want to do the same thing around it. It has a slightly rocky texture (not rough, but definitely enough so that it isn’t slick and slippery with water!). Hope that helps:)

    1. Hi Adris,
      I would say that it took part of one day to prep and prime it, and another part of a day to spread it. Then another part of a day to do a second coat after the dry time had been allowed for. And a couple more hours to seal it. So all in all, it’s spread over about 2-3 days but doesn’t take full days to complete it. It also depends on the size you are covering – our patio was about 500 square feet so it took a while to cover it all! Hope that helps:)

  7. Totally dig the grain patterned flooring that you have done on the patio. Love the idea and it might be hard to do it ourselves. Will try anyway 🙂 Thank you!!!

    1. Hello! I think that you can DIY it, but I would definitely recommend practicing first. Getting the rock surface smooth with the trowel is the trickiest part – it’s almost like icing a giant cake. It depends on your level of skill and comfort with DIY, as well. I wouldn’t say it’s for a beginning DIYer, but can definitely be accomplished if you’ve done similar types of projects in the past.

  8. looks beautiful ! LOTS of work but well worth the time, effort, and $$, it looks like. thanks for sharing your process. give an update after a year or so to see how well it’s holding up.

    1. Hi Dodie! Definitely; I’m very hopeful that it’s going to hold up really well – our carpenter said it has held up brilliantly around his pool area!

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