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Acid staining patio floors are by far our most popular first-time DIY acid staining project. Our backyards are a place to gather with our friends and family. Learn how acid stained patios create unique, colorful and welcoming value for your home.
Acid staining a concrete patio adds striking color within the existing concrete by penetrating the surface and reacting chemically with the hydrated lime in the concrete, whereas paint stays right on top of the concrete providing a uniformly opaque layer of color.
Because acid staining creates permanent color that actually becomes part of the concrete floor itself, the color will not chip or peel off. However, with paint, weather conditions may cause it to chip or peel off easily if not properly applied.
Tinted Concrete Sealer is a one-step color and seal option for outdoor concrete, and at $0.26 per square foot, is the most cost effective concrete staining option available.
The cost of traditional acid stained concrete flooring begins at $0.49 per square foot. Typically, acid staining a concrete patio would require an acid stain, a solvent-based acrylic concrete sealer and non-slip additive for the sealer as well.
Specifically designed for stamped concrete surfaces, Direct Colors Antiquing Stain begins at $0.47 per square floor. This technique requires Antiquing Stain, a solvent-based acrylic concrete sealer and non-slip additive for the sealer.
Concrete surface conditions and age are very important factors for successful staining. Keep the following conditions 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.
• 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.
Concrete condition and age are very important for successful staining. Keep these questions in mind when determining whether or not your slab is a good candidate for acid staining:
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.
The Marbled Acid Stain Look is one of our most popular DIY patio finishes. A successful marble stain is the product of thoughtful color choice and effective pouring technique when applying the acid stain. Find out exactly how to achieve a custom natural stone look for your home with Direct Colors how to guides and tutorials.
Concrete must be cleaned thoroughly before acid staining can take place. In most cases, either using a power washer on a low setting, or scrubbing with a Concrete Cleaning solution, will do the trick. Rinse thoroughly to remove residue and allow to dry well. In the presence of Oil Stains, mastic, carpet glue, etc. concrete requires more intensive cleaning applications. Read more about Cleaning Concrete with Direct Colors now.
Depending on the look you are going for, we encourage you to spray the stain in whatever manner you see fit. There’s no hard and fast rule for application. Marbled and Mottled effects are very popular for patios. The key to creating striking color and design is controlling when and where the acid stain is allowed to concentrate. Remember that some areas might be more or less absorbent and require extra stain to saturate the concrete thoroughly.
Acrylic sealers on patios should be reapplied every 2-3 years if the patio is in direct sunlight. A covered patio need to be sealed less frequently. Clean the concrete thoroughly prior to application. Solvent Based Sealers that are flaking, peeling or damaged in a similar manner should be repaired with xylene vigorously rolled from a paint try before spraying or otherwise applying another coat. Keep in mind that not all sealers are compatible or will adhere properly without profiling. Know what sealer has been previously used on the concrete before attempting to apply more.
Outdoor Concrete Tip: Rougher, more porous outdoor concrete can require more acid stain and sealer to complete. Calculate for about 20% more stain and sealer to be certain you’ll have enough material for the project. Learn more on staining and sealing Rough Concrete, or visit our how to videos page for a step-by-step demonstrations with Direct Colors.