Acid staining is a beautiful way to update old concrete or enhance a new surface. However, acid staining is far from an exact science and the results are often difficult to predict. The good news is that few acid staining projects have any problems, and the ones that do can usually be prevented or fixed. There has been a wealth of information on the subject of acid staining in recent years and most contractors have been able to educate themselves on the finer points of this technique. This article will delve into five common acid stain problems and how to ensure they don’t happen to you.
Acid staining concrete is very similar to staining wood. The stain penetrates the surface but it doesn’t hide blemishes, also known as surface effects, in the material. In fact, stain may bring those small flaws into the spotlight. To prevent surface effects from clouding your acid stain finish, identify them and fix them before the process begins. This might be accomplished through repairs, a thin overlay or sanding prior to staining.
Too Much Stain
Stain should be applied somewhat sparingly to ensure a smooth, subtle coat on the surface of your concrete. When too much stain is applied, the result can be an uneven color because the stain cannot penetrate and color as effectively. To avoid this problem, make sure you are applying the stain according to the manufacturer’s directions and using the proper tools. Work sparingly because it is always easier to add more stain than it is to remove what is already there.
Staining Improperly Cured Concrete
The best concrete for acid staining is concrete that has been wet cured. However, most contractors do not choose the wet curing method because it is costly and time consuming. Instead, they will use curing compounds to speed the process along. Curing compounds can affect the staining process in negative ways. The best solution is to sand the surface of the concrete to remove any curing compound that might still be lingering on the surface.
Using the Wrong Tools
If you do not use the right tools to apply stain, you will not get the desired effect. It is best to use a brush specifically designed for acid staining to make sure you get the job done right. Rollers, mops and squeegees will not provide the desired result and many give you unattractive marks in the surface of your stain. If this occurs, your only option is to sand down the surface of the stain and try again.
Sealing the Concrete
Applying a good sealant is the final step in ensuring your concrete staining job is a success. Before adding a sealant, apply a neutralizer to the stained surface. Once the sealant is applied, proper maintenance like regular cleaning will be essential to make sure the sealant continues to do its job.
Acid staining is a lovely technique for dressing up concrete surfaces today. By following these tips you can avoid the most common problems associated with acid staining to ensure your staining job is a success.