Have you ever looked at a concrete floor and done a double take? A quality acid-stain job can utterly transform a plain slab into a near-perfect replica of marble or granite. If you’re ever wondered how such a look is accomplished, you’ve come to the right spot. Today, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about acid stains on concrete.
First, it’s important to recognize that concrete can be colored in several different ways. You can apply a dye, you can add pigment, or you can stain it. All three methods have advantages and disadvantages. And beyond these three methods there are three different ways you can stain concrete. This allows you to color concrete in such a way that you can get the look you want no matter what.
However, there’s only one way to get a marble look on a piece of concrete, and that’s with the help of acid stains. So, what makes acid stains unique?
What is an Acid Stain?
Unlike film-forming and penetrating stains, when you put an acid stain on concrete, the solution reacts with the minerals in the surface. It creates small etches and digs down deep into the stone. It permanently altars the stone, in color and texture. And if you seal it with the right concrete sealer, you’ll end up with a shiny marble-like surface that’s unparalleled when it comes to other concrete stains or dyes.
How do you Apply an Acid Stain on Concrete?
Out of all the different kinds of stains, dyes, and pigments that you can use on concrete, acid stains are some of the most specialized. You’ll want to make sure that you’re wearing safety goggles, gloves, and a dusk mask while working with it. And if the room you’re in is poorly ventilated, you may want to consider using a respirator as well – just to be extra cautious.
First, you’ll want to clean the surface of the concrete that you’re coloring. If you leave any dirt or grime on the surface, the acid may react with that, leaving unwanted flaws or other issues in your newly stained concrete. A power washer can make short work of this part of the job. If it’s not possible to use a power washer because of where you’re staining (or because you don’t have access to one), then you can clean the flooring with water and a push broom.
Surface is completely clean, you’ll want to apply the acid stain to your concrete. Make sure to cover any areas in the room that you want to protect from the solution with masking paper. Then, put the acid in a pump sprayer and spray it on the surface of the concrete. Ideally, you’ll want someone else who can come behind you and scour the acid into the concrete using a broom.
After you’re finished, you’ll neutralize the newly acidic surface with an alkaline cleanser. Once you’ve completely covered the floor with the cleanser, and scrubbed it in with your broom, you should let it dry for 24 hours.
The last step is to add your sealer. This will protect it in the future and give it a shinier appearance. Once your sealer is applied, you will have a floor that appears more like marble than concrete. And at less than $15 per square foot, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.