Could I paint this slate patio?

by Lorelei
Hello, fellow DIYers...has anyone had any luck painting a slate patio? I really dislike the color palette of these old slate patios and would love to find an effective way to paint it.
could i paint this slate patio
could i paint this slate patio
could i paint this slate patio
  28 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 22, 2017

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 22, 2017

    Thank you so much for the url, Janet. I would very much like to hear from anyone who has had luck painting it. The site you sent mentions that slate is "porous." I would never have guessed that! I also would have to paint over the mortar in between. I also am concerned about how the paint wears, particularly pulling our outdoor chairs which are metal, over the surface.

    • See 2 previous
    • Bob Onitt Bob Onitt on Mar 21, 2017

      cement dye but get some slate to start a sample phase as mortor,will definitly be changed...i sense replacement though but cleaned up the rubble would be a great walkway

  • Jane Jane on Jan 24, 2017

    I love your slate patio. Nothing will look better than the natural stone. Imagine the peeling paint in a year or two! If it were mine, I'd embrace it and leave it alone.

    • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 25, 2017

      Thanks, Jane. I have been 'embracing' it but truth is, I really hate the colors. I have one blue one I actually painted about 2 summers ago just to see how it would hold up. It did wear, and now it kind of looks "weathered" and not bad and it was just house paint. It was a test, just to see how it would adhere.

  • Rose Broadway Rose Broadway on Jan 25, 2017

    You can't use paint without it peeling and blistering in the weather, but you can stain it. I did this with my front porch and with my patio. It has to be refreshed about every four years. It's been years since I've bought the stain, so I don't know if it still only comes in dark stain and light (can't remember the name or the color names. Bought it at Home Depot and it may come in more colors now.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 25, 2017

    Hi Rose and thank you for the reply, but I must ask - was your porch the same slate as this? I am having trouble imagining that the stain would adhere to such a slick surface as slate. If you have any photos, would you mind sharing with me? Thanks so very much.

  • Jacqueline Shelton Jacqueline Shelton on Jan 26, 2017

    Maybe using some kind of concrete stain product, but painting it will be a disaster in a year or two. The paint WILL chip and peel off leaving behind an uglier mess then the natural look of the stone you have now. Perhaps a nice outdoor rug to cover some of the area? They have beautiful outdoor rugs now-a-days in a variety of patterns and colors. When you don't like the rug anymore...change it.'re stuck with it until it completely chips off. Maybe power washing the patio will "liven" it up too...just some suggestions...but wishing you all the luck at whatever you decide.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 26, 2017

    Thank you, Jacqueline! I got very close to buying one over the summer. Because the patio is odd shaped I would have had to set it on an angle and I would have had to purchase something that wouldn't clash with the colors of the slate. Then I also got to thinking that the metal chairs would most likely rip the fabric of the particular rug I liked. I do wash and scrub it every year because the grout gets dirty. I think I probably will just leave it as is and live with it. Because some of this late is in aqua color the umbrella and chair pads I bought with my set is called Spa. That works the best with the slate so I probably I'm going to put this project on the back burner for now. Thanks so much again for your suggestions.

  • Jeannie.mcquaid Jeannie.mcquaid on Jan 26, 2017

    You might consider using a white-wash technique with a medium grey paint. Exterior latex & water 50/50. Wash it on. It won't entirely cover the natural color of the slate, but it will neutralize the tone. Because it's a wash, it may wear off but in a gradual way, rather than peeling.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 26, 2017

    Thank you, Jeannie. That is actually the look of the one piece I painted summer before last. It wore to a 'white wash' look. It's not bad on the one piece since I kind of like that look anyway, but not sure how I'd like it over the whole area. If weather permits, I'll take a photo of the "worn" piece. Thanks so much for your input, again.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 26, 2017

    Hi Jeannie and thank you for your suggestion. That is actually what I did to one of the slates as a test (as a matter of fact you can see it in the top photo in the upper right corner). It's actually more worn now and I kind of like the 'white wash' look, just not sure how I would like the entire patio looking like that. If I can snap another photo of how that one looks currently, I will, when the weather cooperates. Again, thanks so much for your idea!

  • Jeannie.mcquaid Jeannie.mcquaid on Jan 27, 2017

    Check out "Ugly Stone Fireplace Makeover" on Hometalk to see how that technique worked on colored stone.

  • Linda Linda on Jan 28, 2017

    Wish I had that slate. I know you hate the colors but think how boring one color would look. Keep it natural. Love the rest of the yard.

  • Laura Laura on Jan 29, 2017

    Hello! This is what I am going to do to my deck, under the furniture, it will be large. I will get painter's cloth, the one that is really thick, them I will put gesso all over it, let dry, then I will draw some design on it, probably just abstract forms with bright colors and a black and white checker board around the edges I think I have to put some protection on top. I am sure I can find a "how to" in Hometalk or some other site. Have fun! The stones are beautiful and I would not touch them. Pots of flowers, funky pillows on the chairs, color, color, color.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 29, 2017

    Hi Laura - be sure to send a photo of it when you are finished. It sounds very "Mary Engelbreit" with the checkerboard edge (I love her). Our patio is fully exposed to the elements which is somewhat limiting, but the more comments I see the more I think I will just keep it as clean as I can and hold off on any application. Can't wait to see your project!

  • Lee Lee on Jan 30, 2017

    maybe do a test with the product they sell for concrete drive ways. Check Home Depot OPPS paint for discounted gallon to save on test and if it works--buy your choice of color. The natural stone color is envyed by many (who like me have fake stone cement want-a-bes bricks). I would work around the color like grass etc

    • Bib8012398 Bib8012398 on Feb 04, 2017

      I like you have an envy for slate. I'd power wash the slate then if i wasn't happy with the result probably consider a concrete stain. You will still have a variance in colors but overall in the same color range. Then seal it with a good slate sealer depending if you want shine or muted finish. It should last for a long time.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Jan 30, 2017

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Feb 01, 2017

    First clean the slate..and rinse with a garden hose. Let dry. Prime it with a latex primer for out gives the paint even more to grip onto and provides an even surface for the paint and helps block efflorescence, which is a white, chalky mineral deposit seen on the face of some exterior stone, brick and concrete.

    Oil-based primers are tough, but they become brittle, which leads to chips. The water-resistant shell that forms after oil-based primer dries can trap water inside the slate, leading to lifted paint and primer. Water-based latex primer lets the slate breathe, and newer latex products are nearly as tough as their oil-based peers. Other benefits of latex are soap-and-water clean up, and markedly faster drying time than oil. When the stone is relatively flat and smooth, a paint roller with a thick-nap cover is a good applicator choice. If the surface is uneven, use a slightly stiff-bristle paintbrush. Fine-bristle paintbrushes are too soft to reach into crevices effectively.

    Exterior-grade, water-based latex paint that is made for masonry and stone materials is a durable choice for exterior slate. Make sure you use exterior paint.

    Paint with a high-gloss sheen makes routine maintenance a bit easier, as it often rinses clean with a garden hose and minimal effort. Surfaces painted with low- or no-sheen paint require more effort to clean, but many home owners prefer the look over a glossy shine. As with primer, use a thick-nap roller or moderately stiff-bristle paintbrush, depending on the texture of the slate.

    Painted slate patios, steps and sidewalks can become a slip hazard in wet weather, but there are ways to add some traction assistance. Some painters add approximately 1 pound of sand to a gallon of paint before rolling or brushing it on. As the paint dries, the grains protrude, leaving a rough or coarse surface. You can also sprinkle sand onto wet paint, but this method is more likely to wear off. Special texturizing paint additives are available at home-improvement centers and paint stores, and the manufacturer’s label gives the correct mixing and application methods.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Feb 01, 2017

    Thanks, Terra, for taking the time to give such a nice, thorough instruction. I will definitely consider this as time passes and springtime sets in! Thanks again!!

    • See 1 previous
    • 9 years working for Sherwin-Williams here. Slate is dense and not porous. If water puddles on it it cannot be painted. Sorry. Technically you COULD paint it but it probably would NOT last long... especially with foot traffic.

  • Claude Claude on Feb 03, 2017

    I would steam clean that beautiful patio and then seal it...period. It is beautiful in its natural pallet of color but you cannot see it because of wear.

  • Lorelei Lorelei on Feb 05, 2017

    Cristina, exactly how I felt about it, looking at the surface. Though it would like 'ok' for a while, as soon as I drag our chairs across it, I feel whatever we use on it, it is going to scratch off, as well as wear off by the weather. Then I'd be stuck with a worn looking patio and possibly wishing I'd never touched it! I'm thinking I'll just scrub it and live with it. Since one of the colors in the slate is a pale aqua/blue color, I just got our outdoor umbrella and chair cushions in the color "spa" which kind of makes this patio a bit more palatable. Had I been able to afford it, I would have ripped it out and replaced it with a nice EP Henry paver! Thanks so much for your advice, Cristina!

  • Deanna R Deanna R on Feb 06, 2017

    Many people would love to have a slate patio, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I agree with your decision to just live with it a while and focus on your decor, (pots, chair pads, umbrella, etc.), using colors that appeal to you. Natural rock will go with just about anything. BTW - If/when you do decide to rip out the slate and replace it, there are a lot of people that will come take it away for free to use in their own yards or projects...

    If you change your mind about trying to change the color, you might consider concrete stain rather than paint. I have honestly never used it on slate, but it might be worth checking in to.

    • Lorelei Lorelei on Feb 07, 2017

      Thank you Deanna. I so agree period after decades various painting and staining projects I have done, this surface instinctively tells me is not one of good adherence. Particularly exposed to the elements and having furniture moved across it, it probably would look terrible in a short period of time. It's too slick, and not like brick or concrete that would grab. Now if it were covered and a wall surface I'm sure that would work. Thanks again.

  • Buck Buck on Feb 11, 2017

    I would not paint them, I am retired mason. Slate is non porous and the paint will not stick very well, It will eventually will peel and be an eyesore. I have used sealers that made the slate shiny and clean looking. first step it to make sure they are clean and joints pointed up, then seal them, this also keeps them from getting weather damage. Real best way is to take them up and use bluestone.$$$$$

  • Don Don Don Don on Jul 03, 2018

    hi, what did you end up doing with your slate porch? i have a large slate porch and its peeling- chipping and many of the slate tiles need replacing. loved it when it was new with the sparkle seal on it. hate it now-lol. looks bad as i havent been able to find anyone to work on it. were in minnesota and its very cold in the winter. thanks don bischoff .

  • Janice Janice on Jul 03, 2018

    Nothing is going to wear as well as the actual slate. Either paint or stain is going to wear away eventually but you could probably make yourself happy by mixing the color you want (paint) with some water and applying with a sponge. It won't last forever, but then you'll have "done it". If you don't like it in a while, you can remove most of it by scrubbing sand onto the painted areas.

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Jul 03, 2018

    Hi, That is great classic slate . I would leave it alone. Just scrub it up .

  • Fredsmom Fredsmom on Jun 30, 2019

    Hi would love to know what you did, I have the exact same issue and am thinking of just white washing the red please reply thank you

  • Phyliss Phyliss on Jul 12, 2020

    I read up and saw it was probably a bad idea. But i did it anyway! My deck is covered so it is probably holding up better than it would if not covered? I used an exterior patio paint - Valspar porch floor and patio gloss interior exterior. I love the way it looks. but in places where water pools it is peeling. I intend to use concrete (leveler) on those spots this fall and go over the whole thing with another coat. Other than that it has held up pretty well. I power wash it 2x a year with low pressure nozzle