For decorative concrete, acid staining is one of the most popular techniques. When applied by a trained professional, concrete stain is stunning. Stained decorative concrete can be achieved as a do-it-yourself project by using the right products and available instructional books and DVDs from The Stamp Store. In most cases, however, for a large of complicated project this type of installation should be left to a skilled professional.
Appropriate Application Steps
- Preparing the Surface – Before applying concrete stain, the surface must be properly prepared. Acid stains are translucent, which means even small imperfections will show through. Therefore, all residue has to be completely removed from the unstained surface.
- Application – After walls, doorframes, baseboards are masked off, the stain product is brushed or sprayed on. Once the first coat has thoroughly dried, additional coats can be added for more color or pattern variation.
- Cleanup – Just as residue needs to be removed prior to staining, it needs to be removed afterward. Clean water is used to rinse the concrete floor, a broom is used to remove more stubborn residue, and the floor is rinsed.
- Protective Coating – At least two coats of sealer should be applied, which seals in the stain and creates a strong and durable surface that can withstand wear and tear while still looking gorgeous.
Helpful Troubleshooting Steps
Even professionals run into problems occasionally when applying concrete stain. The following are some of the more common problems, along with helpful troubleshooting tips.
- Muriatic Acid – Muriatic acid should never be used prior to concrete staining, since it causes lime in the concrete to deplete. As a result, acid stains do not react properly with the concrete to produce the preferred color.
- On-Site Samples – You always want to conduct an on-site sample of concrete stain. For this, a small sample is created in an inconspicuous area so you and the customer can see the actual outcome.
- On-Floor Designs – Painters’ or masking tape should not be used to frame in designs. If tape is used on unstained concrete, it leaves residue behind that will stop the stain from reacting properly. If used on stained concrete, it could cause sealer and stained areas to pull up along with the adhesive.
- Neutralization – Unlike water-based concrete stain, acid stain needs to be neutralized to help form a bond with the sealer.
- Curing Time – The curing time for fresh concrete is at least 14 days, sometimes 21. After that time, concrete stain can be applied.