Concrete Pool Deck &  Swim Up Bar Design

Staining concrete pool decks is one of the most popular diy outdoor projects in preparation for summer fun. The low cost and creative freedom of concrete stains  to turn a plain concrete pool deck area into a showcase space make it a favorite for our customers to share.


Outdoor entertainment areas add usable living space to your home and hours of summer fun for your family. When Susan and her husband finished their stained concrete pool deck project they decided to venture into adding a complementary poolside countertop bar area and a swim up banana countertop.

Susan wrote to us to tell us how they did it. Here’s her story:

“When my husband and I had a pool installed. We knew we wanted a poolside bar top included in the design, so we had the pool company leave a portion of the pool coping off the pool. This area would later be where we would set our concrete swim-up bar top. We also planned to install a concrete countertop under a roof area for entertaining. For each countertop, my husband created the mold, we poured the concrete together, and I acid stained them”

“After researching acid stains on the web, I found Direct Colors. Being a novice at acid staining, Justin from Direct Colors, was very helpful and offered advice on how to get the mottled look I was trying to achieve for the swim-up pool bar.”

Poolside Bar Countertop and Swim Up Banana Bar Top Colored Concrete Stan Designs

“To complete the fish bar, I used 1311 Sunray Pigment for gray-based concrete. I found that I didn’t use enough of the concrete pigment to get the color I wanted, so I then followed up with Malayan Buff acid stain.

“Once I had achieved the concrete color I wanted, I then started to work on the fish with the Deco Gel Acid Stains. I used a small paintbrush, normally used for painting with acrylics.

First, I outlined the fish with Coffee Brown Deco Gel.  Then, I shaded the fish spikes and markings with Coffee Brown and Cola Deco Gel Stain. Finally, I completed the inside of the fish body with Cola.”

Concrete Stained Poolside Countertop

After completing the fish, I used English Red acid stain in a small spray bottle around the outside of the fish. To obtain a mottled look around the outside of the fish, I dropped clumps of sand on the countertop and sprayed the English Red acid stain directly onto the sand and the areas without the sand. I protected the fish with old towels from the spray as I did not want the English Red to touch the fish. I then neutralized the countertop and applied a several light coats of Solvent-Based High Gloss, Acrylic Sealer.

I mixed the Deco Gel Stains with a little water when needed to aid in shading process.”

TIP: When applying the Cola stain to the body of the fish, I used a swirling motion with the paint brush to produce a fish scale effect.

“When I poured the concrete for the bartop, I used enough of the Sunray colored concrete pigment to get the color I wanted. I then used a small spray bottle and applied an even coat of English Red Acid Stain over the entire countertop. I then used a foam brush to apply the Deco Gel Stains for the banana leaves. I used Cola and Coffee Brown and a bit of water to shade and fill in the banana leaves.

For the final step, I used the Black Deco Gel Stain mixed with a small amount of English Red acid stain to outline the banana leaves and to accentuate the stem. I then neutralized the countertop and applied several light coats of a water-based acrylic sealer.

acid stained poolside countertop

Having never worked with acid stains prior to these two poolside countertop projects, I was a bit unsure as to the outcome. Overall, the process was simple and the Deco Gel Stains were quite easy to work with. I am pleased with the final appearance of the projects and look forward to many years of enjoyment using the concrete bartops.”

-Susan T., Maryland

Susan’s Shopping List:

Fish Countertop:

  • 1 Quart English Red Acid Stain
  • 1 Quart High Gloss Acrylic Concrete Sealer
  • 5 Pound Sunray Concrete Pigment
  • 1  Quart Coffee Brown Deco Gel
  • 1 – 4 Ounce English Red Deco Gel
  • 2 – 4 Ounce Cola Deco Gel

Banana Countertop:

  • 1 Quart English Red Acid Stain
  • 1 Quart Water-Based, High Gloss Acrylic Concrete Sealer
  • 10 Pound Sunray Concrete Pigment
  • 1 – 4 Ounce Black Deco Gel