Can Pavers Be Painted? (Tip: Don’t Paint, Stain!)

Have your worn, faded pavers become an eyesore? Perhaps you’re tempted to give them a facelift by throwing some paint over them? A paint job is, after all, much easier to do and much less expensive than installing new pavers.

Here’s the thing: paint is not what you want for your pavers! Do you remember the last time you painted an outdoor piece – maybe a deck or chair? Do you remember how much work was involved and how it looked after a couple of winters? You don’t want the same outcome for your pavers.

But we have good news. There’s a way to give your pavers a facelift without having to use paint.

Why Paver Paints Do Not Last

The reason you don’t want to paint your pavers is because it will crack, bubble, chip off, and look hideous. Give it a winter, OK maybe two, and you’ll see what we mean. Your paint will have no chance against the snow, rain, wind, sun, heat, cold – it’s a tough world out there!

Being the good parent that you are, you’re probably thinking: I will do anything to protect my baby. I will clean them, I will apply a primer, and I will seal them after applying the paint. Sure, if you do these things, you’ll get the paint to last longer. But there will come a day when you simply have to let go. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to change their fate.

Why Staining Is Better

Painting is like putting a carpet on top of your pavers. But staining is like tattooing your pavers. The stain penetrates into the pavers, which allows a more permanent result.

To ensure good results with a paint job, you usually have to apply a primer and a sealer in addition to the paint. And then you’d have to redo the work every few years to get it looking like new. That’s a lot of work!

Thanks to some brilliant people make staining products today, staining is much less labor intensive. You get great results that last longer than paints, while doing less work!

The Problem with Acid Stain

But we’re not talking about acid staining, which is the traditional way of staining concrete patios, walkways, and garages.

Acid staining is harsh. It partially “eats” a thin layer of your surface. This makes your surface fragile, which means you’d have to protect the surface with a sealer. And before sealing, you’d have to neutralize the acid stain. Then if the color ever fades, you can’t re-stain it. You’d have to grind off the colored surface layer before doing anything to it again. Basically, like painting, it’s a lot of work!

The other problem with acid staining is you only have a limited choice of colors. Acid staining produces only a few shades of brown, black, blue, and green. So if you want another color like red or white or yellow, you can’t get those with acid stain.

A Better Stain

The best solution is to use a stain and sealer in one.

You can find this type of product at your local home improvement store. It changes the color of your pavers while sealing them at the same time. That means less work! These stain and sealers come in a wide range of colors. They’re easy to apply, easy to clean up, and virtually odor-free.

One of the products you can get is the LastiSeal Concrete Stain & Sealer. This product will penetrate deep down into the pores of your pavers and change their color. Once it cures, it will protect your pavers from spills and stains like any other sealer.

LastiSeal Concrete Stain & Sealer (Rustic Brown)
This stain and sealer product will change the color of your pavers and seal them at the same time. By penetrating deep into the pavers, it lasts longer than paint.

Another product you can consider is a colored sealer (people usually buy clear sealers, but they come in a variety of colors too). While these sealers do not penetrate into your pavers like stains, they’re much simpler to work with than paint, and you can re-seal them with relative ease.

How to Stain Pavers

The number one mistake people make when staining and sealing their pavers is not removing the old sealer. If this is the first time you put anything on your pavers, you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, you have to make sure you have a blank canvas before starting, especially if you’re about to lay down a different product.

The problem with putting a new product over an old product is that they can react badly, and you end up with a blotchy, nasty mess. Never mix water-based products with solvent-based products. And unless you’re using the exact same product, the best thing to do is to strip away any old product and start with a blank state. Remember, you’re here because your pavers look hideous, and you’re not trying to make them look even more hideous – don’t risk it!

So first, get yourself a handy pump sprayer. You can use nap rollers too, but a pump sprayer is much easier to use and allows you to lay down thin coats. Then get some paint stripper to remove any old product.

Chapin 3.5 Gal. Industrial Viton Concrete Open Head Sprayer
This sprayer will make your life a lot easier compared to nap rollers.

Before staining, spot test the product in a discreet location to make sure the color is OK and the product absorbs well. If all is good, load the sprayer and spray! If the product you’re using recommends two coats, wait 24 hours before applying the second coat.

From Hideous to Gorgeous

Giving your pavers a fresh look has never been easier. Nowadays, you can find all-in-one products that will change their color and seal them at the same time, without having to prime, paint, and seal – only to have to redo everything in a couple of years when the paint chips off.

So don’t use paint. If anything, use stain. And if your budget permits, consider installing new pavers instead. Sure it’s more money upfront, but sometimes it makes more sense to do a fresh install than to bother with a facelift, especially if your pavers are in poor condition.

Have Fun Out There!