If you are someone who gardens frequently, you may have noticed rust-colored stains on your concrete surfaces. These stains are most likely caused by the fertilizer that you are using on your plants or grass. Most fertilizers and plant foods contain minerals such as iron, copper, zinc and magnesium. These minerals are used to help correct the deficiency of minerals which normally limits that plant’s growth.

Now that you know the root of the problem, what is the best way to solve it? Due to the porosity of concrete, these minerals can penetrate the surface and cause the concrete to change color. This means that scrubbing with soap and water will not do the job. In order to remove these stains, something acidic must be used. You may start by using a 50:50 solution of white vinegar and water to remove the stains. Test this solution on a small area by scrubbing lightly, rinsing and repeating 2-3 times. If this does not work, you may want to use a concrete rust remover like the one sold by Singerman. Keep in mind that most rust removers will be acidic and could etch the concrete if they are not diluted or rinsed properly.

A proper cleaning and sealing for your exterior concrete will help prolong its life and will help prevent against staining and etching. The two most common sealers for exterior concrete surfaces are an impregnating sealer (does not change the look of the concrete) or a topical acrylic coating (adds gloss and can be tinted to an opaque finish). Give us a call at (440) 937-4457 to set up a free estimate. For more information on all of our services, visit our website at