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Acid stained concrete countertops offers a one-of-a-kind finish unique to this process. Because countertops are generally smaller projects, acid stain may represent one of several color techniques used to create beautiful kitchen, bathroom, table and outdoor countertops.
The concrete must be free of debris, dirt and oils, paint, dry wall mud, adhesive, sealers, stains of any kind or similar materials. Acid stain cannot react properly with the concrete if these conditions are present.
The slab should not have been treated with a waterproofing agent, cleaned with muriatic acid or a heavy trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution. The acid stain reaction cannot occur on surfaces treated with these products.
Newly poured concrete can be acid stained anytime from 20-28 days after the pour or once the concrete has achieved a uniform light gray color.
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.
Newly poured concrete countertops should include less than 10% fly ash to insure a good chemical reaction with the acid stain. Check with your ready mix company or read the countertop mix MSDS for concrete additive information.
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 concrete grinder or a high-speed buffer using a 60-80 grit sanding disc before staining.
Remember to use goggles, gloves and a dust mask while working with concrete acid stain. A respirator may be required for applications with poor ventilation.
The appearance of the finished product is very much influenced by the manner in which the acid stain is applied.
Once the residue has dried and the stain has been given at least the recommended minimum time to react, the surface should be neutralized and all debris or excess stain removed in the following manner:
1. Prepare a baking soda and water solution using 1-2 tablespoons of soda per gallon of water. Thoroughly spread the solution on the countertop, scrubbing with a soft nylon bristle scrub brush where needed to remove residue. For applications including the Penetrating Concrete Sealer, consider repeating this step to be absolutely certain all concrete acid stain has been neutralized before cleaning.
2. Wash the surface carefully using clean water until nothing but clear water is visible. All residue and excess color must be removed from countertop BEFORE leaving to dry. For stubborn residue or porous surfaces, use a floor soap or organic
degreaser to aid in the removal. The clean, wet surface will be the approximate color of the final sealed surface.
3. Leave to dry. After the surface has completely dried, the countertop should be ready to seal.
Finding the right mix can be more challenging than you might think. If you’re planning to acid stain a countertop, choose a countertop mix with less than 10% fly ash.
Fly ash affects reactivity and color development when acid staining and causes color variability in integrally colored countertops.
Direct Colors Concrete Countertop Mix contains no fly ash and producing optimal acid staining results.
Some release agents like oils or solvents will leave a film on the surface that makes acid staining impossible. Don’t use them.
Direct Colors Countertop Form Release is colorless and leaves no trace of residue on the countertop surface.
Pre-cast countertops are often poured on melamine and can be too smooth to successfully acid stain.
Sand the surface with a 200-grit sanding pad to open the pores prior to staining.
If you are polishing your countertop, apply the Penetrating Concrete Sealer and allow to dry for 24 hours. Continue polishing with a 400-grit pad and beyond until the desired finish is achieved. For maximum protection and durability, polish the concrete to at least the 1500-3000 grit level.
• Apply the Penetrating Concrete Sealer, with a pump up sprayer. Spray enough to create/maintain a uniformly damp surface for 20 minutes. Apply more sealer only to areas that appear more dry or absorptive than others. No membrane should be forming on the surface.
• Squeegee away any excess sealer remaining on surface. Do not allow sealer to pool anywhere on the concrete.
• Allow to dry for 24 hours and begin polishing from 400-grit up to 3000-grit. consider repeating this step to be absolutely certain all concrete acid stain has been neutralized before cleaning.