The easiest way to avoid mistakes when using an acid stain to change the appearance and integrity of a concrete surface is by learning the correct application methods. Although you might be slightly nervous about performing your own acid stain work, by using quality products from The Stamp Store and going through the “Ideas” and “How To” sections of our website, you can achieve incredible results.
The biggest mistake with acid stain projects is the lack of surface preparation. Before applying any product from The Stamp Store, you need a flawless concrete surface. Use a sander to eliminate rough spots, if necessary; sweep up dust and debris; and remove any nails, screws, or other leftover construction materials.
Make sure you never use muriatic acid to wash the surface, as this removes lime from the concrete, which, in turn, prevents the acid stain from reacting properly. For significant stains, use clean water to rinse the surface and then loosen the stains with a Stamp Store neutralizing product and a soft-bristle brush. From there, simply rinse with clear water and allow the surface to dry. Always neutralize the acid stain prior to applying a sealer. By doing so, the sealer will properly bond with the concrete surface.
The Application Process
Another mistake when using acid stain has to do with the application process. You obviously want a beautiful concrete surface, but to accomplish this, you have to apply the stain properly. The stain must be applied uniformly with a pump sprayer and lightly worked into the surface using a scouring pad, or hard bristle brush in circular motions. For an even better finish, you can lightly apply another coat with the sprayer to blend any broom marks. Don’t forget to tape off all non-working surface areas for protection, and then with the brush, you can get up close to the wall and deep into corners without bleeding issues.
Acid staining can create a beautiful design in the surface, but avoid using painter’s or masking tape for the design layout. If the concrete surface already has color, there is a risk of the tape pulling it off. Even for unstained surfaces, residue left behind from the tape prevents a proper reaction of the stain.
The curing of the concrete and the drying of the acid stain are critical. For newly installed concrete, a minimum of 14 days of cure time is required, preferably 21 before an acid stain is applied. Once cured, you can use an acid stain. After the stain is applied, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. If the color intensity is not what you wanted, simply repeat the application process after the first coat dries.