Faux Rock Stains
Adding charm and flair to a home or garden using faux rocks is a very common practice among homeowners. Many people even use faux rock structures to hide things in their yard, like garden hoses or tools. We all know that rocks in nature are not all an unsightly, boring gray, so how do we make the faux rocks in our yards look more natural and aesthetically pleasing?
Many people have tried to paint their faux rocks to more closely resemble the look of real rocks, but that is not really the best way to do it. Paint flakes, chips, and peels and you are ultimately looking at having to repaint them repeatedly to keep them looking good. This is costly and time consuming, and since the paint does not last, it is also a waste of money.
As many of the faux rocks are made using concrete, a better option is using concrete or faux rock stains. Concrete is porous in texture, and as such a stain for concrete, much like a wood stain on wood, will soak in and give your faux rocks a very natural look. The pigments are transported by water or by solvents into the top layer of the concrete where they attach to the particles, thus adding color to the dull gray. You can find concrete stain in a variety of earth tones, as well as reds, greens and blacks to name a few.
Naturally, these colors can eventually fade, but you can always restain them. You could even change the original color and instead of using the red you used the first time you could use a rich dark brown and change the whole look or your yard or garden. In about a day, once the pigments have seeped in, your faux rocks will look as good as new.
Faux rocks are not the only things you can use concrete or faux rock stain on. Your concrete driveway, garage floor, even your retaining wall can be stained to give a fresh look to your house and drive as well. Bear in mind that, while the color will last awhile, it will fade over time, and perhaps not even start out the color that you thought it would be. You should always test your chosen faux rock stain on a small patch to see if it will come out looking the way you want it to.
Many of your name brand paint manufacturers have developed various kinds of concrete or faux rock stains. Some of these are actually made by mixing muriatic acid and certain metallic salts. Some other solvent based concrete and faux rock stains are similar to wood stains. You can even find environmentally friendly stains that are mostly water based and modified acrylic. The higher quality concrete and faux rock stains will be more resistant to automotive damage, as well as Mother Nature's fury.
When choosing to stain your faux rocks, or your concrete, you should keep in mind that the surface needs to be as clean as possible. Scrubbing your surfaces with soap and water, then rinsing thoroughly or even using a high pressure hose will generally make even the bird droppings go away. The surface temperature of the object to be stained should be between 45 and 95 degrees, so you might possibly have to move your rocks into a shaded area or even inside before you begin. For your driveway or retaining wall you should stain either in the spring or the fall when outdoor temperatures are more moderate.
Of all the available concrete and faux rock stains, the acid based ones will be the most difficult to use. You need to follow the manufacturers instructions very carefully to avoid serious injury. You should also keep in mind that you will be using stain, so wear appropriate clothing.