This concrete floor features a faux finish that looks like oversized tiles. Tailored Living of Madison in Madison, WI.

Faux finishing is simply the art of simulation — where you make one surface look like something else. The technique has been used for centuries to dress up plaster walls. But it’s also possible to faux finish nearly any concrete surface, including floors, exterior pavements, countertops, walls and fireplaces.

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The moldability and workability of concrete make it a highly versatile medium for faux finishes. Techniques such as covering walls with vertical concrete overlays, applying decorative stencils and stains, and using cement-based floor toppings can transform a blank concrete canvas into faux stone, wood, tile, carpet and nearly anything else you can imagine.

Applications and design options:

  • Make walls and fireplace surrounds that look like natural stone or brick by applying a vertical concrete overlay mix that you then hand carve, stamp and stain.
  • Create unique rockscapes for outdoor pools and patios by molding, texturing and coloring concrete to replicate real rock formations.
  • Apply faux rug or tile patterns to concrete floors using adhesive-backed stencils or tape.
  • Create multicolored faux finishes by applying concrete stains and dyes with rags, sponges, small brushes, feathers and other unconventional tools. This is a popular technique for replicating variegated stone-like colors and textures.
  • Use a technique called board forming to give walls, countertops and other cast concrete surfaces realistic wood-grained finishes.
  • Apply a base layer of a light paint color and then use a sponge or rag to randomly add contrasting colors of concrete paint.

Faux finishing projects and design ideas:

Concrete Creations in Plymouth, IN.

How to Replicate Wood with Concrete

See examples of concrete driveways, patios, countertops and floors that have been stamped, board formed or stained to look like identical to wood.

Faux Rock Water Features

Faux rock made of concrete can create stunning backyard waterscapes. Learn the texturing and coloring techniques used to achieve natural-looking results.

Salzano Custom Concrete in Centreville, Va.

Design Ideas for Faux Stone Concrete Patios

Using techniques such as hand carving, stamps and texturing skins, contractors can transform ordinary concrete patios into natural stone of all types.

Faux Designs of Albany, OR

Faux Finished Walls and Floors

See a faux finisher’s color and application techniques to make concrete walls and floors look like fake stone, marble, wood and more.

Faux Villa Decorative Finishes Studio

Stenciling Concrete to Look Like an Outdoor Rug

Using adhesive stencils and a colored microtopping, faux finisher Kim Longoa transforms a plain concrete patio into a cozy, carpeted outdoor floor.

Barth's Faux Finishing of Las Vegas, NV

Taking Faux Finishing to a New Level

With over 15 years of experience in decorative painting, master craftsman Barth White began dabbling in faux finishing long before the technique became all the rage. See some of his exquisite workmanship.

Custom Faux & Decorative Concrete of Springfield, Mo.

Faux Finish Transforms a Concrete Driveway

Few projects better demonstrate what an artist can accomplish when using concrete as a blank canvas. For this job, concrete engraving and hand-applied stains were used to give an existing concrete driveway and sidewalk the look of faux slate and brick.

Fake-It of Vancouver, BC

Outdoor Landscape Inspires Concrete Floor's Faux Streams

Artist Kathy van Gogh makes the concrete floors of a beach-side home look like a stream pouring into the ocean.