Marbled patio acid stain projects can be tricky and getting just the right look could be challenge particularly if your concrete finish isn’t fairly smooth. One of our local contractors has provided a step-by-step pictorial of how to apply marbled acid stain accents for a patio project.
How smooth is your concrete? Veining and marbling effects are more pronounced and easier to create on smoother concrete because stain can flow across the surface more readily but all is not lost if you have a more textured surface! Careful stain application and the pitch of your patio can help. Most patios are structured to prevent water from pooling so following the decline can allow for very creative marbling designs on the concrete.
Dampening the concrete prior to application can also boost the marbling effect. Spray the patio with water to dampen but not drowned the surface in preparation for spraying in your marbled acid stain accents.
Applying the Stain
Spraying isn’t the only option. Mixing an acid stain and water solution and pouring it from a bucket is also a popular option. This technique creates more of a “washed” look on the surface and provides pooling areas where less diluted or full strength stain can be applied.
Our contractor has wet the concrete surface and used the pitch of the concrete to create these beautiful veining areas on the patio. He has also used a spray bottle of water to spray the acid stain after applying to fan out stain and give it a more interesting shape on the concrete.
Any acid stain color can be used for a marbling accent. Keep in mind that lighter colors, such as Desert Amber or Azure Blue, cannot be seen on a darker base color so apply the stains in a manner that each can be seen and appreciated with the project is complete. Our contractor has chosen the Cola and Black Acid Stains for this patio. He’s diluted the Cola with water to emphasis the rusty, Terra Cotta elements of the stain. He’s also applied slightly diluted Black allowing the color to blend at the edges to create a very natural look. Remember to create contrast between the marbling effects and the base color by applying various diluted ratios of stain or selecting both light and dark colors.
Once the marbling and veining work is complete, carefully walk out on the patio wearing spiked shoes or cleats of some kind to spray the base color on the patio. Avoid standing on wet, active stain in street shoes. Spray a saturating coat around and in some areas over the veins to ensure that all concrete has been thoroughly coated. Allow 6-8 hours processing time depending on the desired color darkness, stain color and concrete quality. Older slabs should be given 8+ hours to maximize color development. After 12 hours, the chemical reaction will have ended and the concrete should be neutralized and cleaned according to the how to guide instructions.
Sealing the Surface
While there’s no question a high gloss solvent based sealer offers excellent color depth and luster, it’s not always the best option for outdoor use, especially on a smooth finished concrete. Our contractor has applied AC1315 High Gloss Sealer to this patio and there’s no question the outcome is stunning. However, the surface will undoubtedly present a slip hazard every time it rains and could be a real danger to the homeowners. DCI Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer is also a solvent based sealer and is a superior option for outdoor concrete because it is not slippery when wet on most surfaces and still gives outstanding acid stain color depth.
If only a high gloss sealer will do, we do sell an anti-slip grit additive for concrete sealers that can be added to the second coat for more traction on smoother surfaces.