How to: Acid Staining a Patio
Patios are by far our most popular first-time DIY acid staining project. Our backyards are a place to gather with our friends and family. Acid stained patios are unique, colorful, welcoming and add value to your home.
Let’s Get Started Acid Staining A Patio! You Can Do It Yourself!
Step 1: Know your Patio. Concrete condition and age are very important for successful acid staining. Keep these questions in mind when determining whether or not your slab is a good candidate for acid staining:
• The concrete must be free of debris, dirt and oils, paint, dry wall mud, adhesive, or sealers. Acid stain cannot react properly with the concrete if these conditions are present.
• The slab should not have been poured with a waterproofing agent, cleaned with muriatic acid or a heavy tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) solution. The acid stain reaction cannot occur on surfaces treated with these products.
• For older, excessively power-washed or mechanically-profiled concrete, the surface must be completely intact with no exposed aggregate or sand particles. Concrete acid stain does not stain rocks, sand or aggregate. Exposed aggregate or otherwise depleted concrete may cause the acid stain to take irregularly, react weakly or produce a color inconsistent with the acid stain color chart.
• For slick machine-troweled surfaces, apply DCI Hard-Troweled Floor Prep to insure a consistent acid stain reaction. Test by pouring water on the surface. If the water beads up on the surface for more than a few seconds, the concrete is too smooth to acid stain successfully.
• Newly poured concrete should include less than 10% fly ash to insure a good chemical reaction with the acid stain.
• Concrete poured with excessive water in the mix can create a thin, unstable layer of concrete on the slab surface. To test for instability, press the tip of nail into the concrete. If breaking or damage of any kind occurs, the slab must be profiled with a sander or buffer using a 60-80 grit sanding disc before staining.
Step 2: Choosing Acid Stain Colors. If your patio gets direct sunlight for much of the day, avoid selecting black as a main acid stain color. Use the darker colors as an accent or the concrete will become too hot to walk on in the heat of the day. Choose a stain(s) complementary to your brick or siding color. Exact color matches are difficult to achieve with acid stain. Most customers select at least two acid stain colors for patio applications.
Step 3: Clean Before Starting. Power washing on a low setting or scrubbing with a DCI Concrete Cleaner and water solution is a must before acid staining. Rinse thoroughly to remove residue and allow to dry.
Step 5: Select a Sealer Carefully. Patios can get wet and no one wants to slip and fall. Satin gloss sealers are preferred for outdoor concrete. If you are concerned about slip hazards, add an anti-slip concrete sealer additive to the second coat of sealer for maximum safety.
Maintenance: Acrylic sealers on patios in direct sunlight should be reapplied every 2-3 years. Covered patios would need to be sealed less frequently. For a longer lasting finish, consider applying our 777 Modified Acrylic Urethane Sealer.