How-To: Acid Staining Concrete Countertops
Acid staining 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.
If planning to acid stain an unpolished countertop, remove from forms and clean the surface thoroughly. 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 sanding. Once clean and dry, apply either Acid Stain or Deco Gel Acid Stain to the surface and allow for the appropriate activation time. Apply acid stain using a pump-up sprayer or foam brush and the deco gel with a foam brush, artist brush or plastic trowel. If a darker color is desired, leave the stain on longer than the minimum recommended processing time. When the color has been achieved, neutralize with a baking soda and water solution, clean well and leave to dry. Seal the surface with 500 Solvent-based Polyurethane or 550 Water-based Polyurethane Sealers. We offer 10 acid stain and deco gel colors though not all should be applied outdoors. Acid stain and deco gel can both be used for countertop project. Susan’s fish and banana poolside countertops have been stained with English Red Acid Stain and stenciled with an image using the Coffee Brown Deco Gel.
For polished countertops, polish the surface to a 200-grit level before applying the acid stain. Apply, neutralize and clean as directed. Once completely clean and dry, apply the Penetrating Lithium Hardener/Sealer and allow to dry for 24 hours. Continue polishing with a 400-grit pad and beyond until the desired finish is received. For maximum protection and durability, polish the concrete to at least the 1500-3000 grit level. Complete application instructions are provided in Direct Colors How-to guides for acid stain and deco gel.
If you’re pouring a countertop, frame one or two 1 ft. x 1ft. pieces for color and to practice your technique. Sample sizes are available for acid stain, deco gel and penetrating lithium hardener sealer for smaller projects and testing purposes. Visit our concrete countertop supplies page for our entire product line.
If you’re pouring multiple countertop pieces for installation in the same room, use a timer so the acid stain or deco gel processes on each piece for the same length of time. Extra time on the concrete generally results in a darker color.