When compared to painting and coatings, concrete stains create more bold, beautiful, and long-lasting results. Even better, concrete staining is an easy project that any DIYer can take on—all you need is the right stain and tools.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about staining your concrete, including when to use a water or acid stain, how to prepare your surface, and best tips for applying your stain.
Our Recommended Acid Stain
At Stamped Concrete, we recommend BRICKFORM’s Blush Acid Stain for outdoor concrete staining projects. This concrete stain adds depth, dimension, and excitement to dull concrete surfaces. It works by reacting with minerals in newly poured or existing concrete pads to produce a palette of unique and captivating color combinations. Please note that this stain is not a suitable option for heavily weathered or sandblasted concrete. This is because the stain is designed to react with and penetrate the top layer of the concrete’s surface. In the case of sandblasted or very old concrete, the top layer is often missing.
At the other end of the spectrum, it’s also important to ensure that the surface is porous enough to accept the stain. If there is a sealant on your concrete surface, you’ll need to remove it.
Each gallon of BRICKFORM Blush Tone Acid Stain weighs 10 pounds and covers between 200 to 300 square feet of surface, depending on application style and surface porousness. This stain is also available in 10 standard colors: amber, caramel, coffee, ebony, jade, mahogany, mission brown, olive, turquoise, and walnut.
Once you’ve selected the right concrete stain, it’s time to prepare your surface. If using an acid stain like BRICKFORM Blush Tone Acid Stain, you’ll want to prepare the surface with E-Etch or a concrete grinder. When using a chemical to prepare the surface, the chemical solution should be neutralized with Nutra Clean or Balance.
Additionally, new concrete surfaces should be cured for at least 28 days before staining. The surface must be free of paint, debris, alkali, stains, oil, sealer, wax, or any other foreign material.
Meticulous surface preparation is the key factor for ensuring optimal quality on a concrete staining project. Acid stain is translucent and will not cover existing stains or debris on the surface. Rather, it will accentuate them! So, be sure to give maximum effort to surface preparation.
Determining Burn/Reaction Time
Next, you’ll need to determine the burn time of your stain, if using an acid-based stain. Burn time is the time it takes the chemical reaction to change the color of the concrete. Typical reaction times range between two and four hours, depending on the condition of the surface.
The burn time for your particular concrete surface can be established by testing the stain on a sample. Your sample should be made of the same surface material as your concrete slab, and have the same coloring. This will ensure more accurate results, so there are no surprises once you stain your concrete surface.
It’s also important to remember that acid stain is a corrosive chemical. Make sure you have a certified respirator, some plastic boots or shoe covers, plastic gloves, and protective eye gear. Also, be sure to mask off door frames, walls, and any other surfaces that you do not want to be affected by the stain.
Applying BRICKFORM Blush Acid Stain on Concrete
- Apply BRICKFORM Blush Tone Acid Stain as follows:
- Pre-wet surface with clear water.
- Apply a generous coat of acid stain with a low-pressure sprayer.
- Apply the stain evenly and continuously over the entire surface.
- Have a second person follow you with a stiff-bristled brush to distribute the stain.
- Allow the stain to react with the concrete until the desired coloration is achieved.
After application and drying, the acid stain must be neutralized with either sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or trisodium phosphate (TSP) dissolved in water. Pour the solution on the treated pad, distribute it with a pole brush, and then use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the excess water.
Now, wait 24 to 48 hours for the surface to thoroughly dry. Then, spray on a coat of concrete sealer. Although concrete sealer isn’t necessary, we recommend it, as it will ensure better protection of both your concrete and its new coloring.
Stamped Concrete is a leading supplier of concrete stains and related products, including BRICKFORM’s Blush Tone Acid Stain. We value our customers and are always happy to offer professional advice and friendly service. If you have questions about concrete staining, or need help selecting the right type of stain for your project, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts.