Acid Stained Concrete Patio Expansion

By Brain Koons

Summer 2020 – $500 Cash Winner

How to Acid Stain a Concrete Patio
concrete patio expansion

I decided to begin this project because our backyard was boring, and the former patio was too small. We previously had a 17 x 17 patio, but no room for entertainment. We wanted something that would coordinate with all the fire features we have. This new patio is L-shaped and is approximately 34’ wide and 28’ long. The 28’ length will eventually have a spa at the end of the wood-stamped walkway (which you can observe in the photos)and a few more fire features on the patio and around the yard. The concrete was stamped with a Roman Slate stamp and a walkway was created using a wood-grain stamp. The overall backyard is still a work in progress, but this area is the flagship entertainment space


Concrete Driveway Before Staining
Concrete patio before acid staining

I am very pleased with the final results and amazed at how easy it was to do. The best advice I can give is not rushing the job. In addition, start with a higher ratio of water-to-stain as it is easier to stain darker with a 2nd coat than it is to scrub off if it becomes too dark. And finally, order the sample kit, & test the colors first in an inconspicuous area.


acid stained concrete patio and fire features
Desert Amber, Malayan Buff, Coffee Brown, Cola, English Red Acid Stained Concrete Patio 2

Because my project was new cement over 30 days old, I only needed to clean off some tannin stains before beginning. I used a 50/50 solution of chlorine bleach & water. I pre-wet the area with my garden hose and then sprayed on the solution with a garden sprayer. Then I lightly pressure washed the patio and allowed to dry overnight. The next morning,I started my project by testing inconspicuous areas with each of the stains relative to where they would be used. I began with a 3:1 solution of water-to-stain in my tests and then adjusted up or down where I felt it needed to be lighter or darker.

I started the project by masking off the areas I did not want any overspray or splashes on with plastic sheeting and/or paper.  I masked the side of the house 1st and then everything inside the border, except the stamped walkway.  I figured if I was going to accidentally get stain where I didn’t want it, it would be better to have the lighter color accidently splash onto the darker where it would not be as noticeable. Therefore, I started with the border first.

Preparing for Staining
Protecting Concrete with Masking Tape

I knew I wanted the border and the walkway a dark color, but wasn’t sure what the end effect was going to be. I started by staining the border using Coffee Brown.  I stained the vertical sides of the border first and then the top so the sides would not streak from doing the top 1st.  After the 2nd coat I felt it was too consistent, so I immediately scrubbed off some of the stain in various and intermittent areas and then sprayed English Red & Cola onto those variegated areas.

Staining Concrete Patio Border
staining the border using Coffee Brown 3

When I finished the border, I started staining the wood-stamped concrete walkway that runs down the center of the patio, also with Coffee Brown.

I stained this area by spraying on the stain, then brushing, to get the stain into the deepest recesses, then I sprayed the Coffee Brown over that just to eliminate any possible brush strokes.

Acid Staining Faux Wood Stamped Concrete
how to acid stain a concrete patio

Once again, as with the border, I scrubbed off the stain in various places after the 2nd coat and applied the English Red & Cola to create a sort of reddish hue to the wood grain stamp.

Aplying English Red and Cola accents to Coffee Brown base color
applied the English Red & Cola to create a sort of reddish hue to the wood grain stamp

My favorite part of the project was layering the colors inside the border. I had no idea how they would turn out, but I had hoped for a parchment or leather look when I was finished. I was overjoyed at the outcome.

desert amber, cola and malayan buff
desert amber, cola and malayan buff

TIP: After each session of layering (and after drying completely) flush a small area with water to get a preview of what it will look like after the sealer is applied.

Acid Stained Concrete Patio

After allowing to dry according to Direct Colors online advice & instructions I neutralized the acid stain on the border and the walkway with baking soda and water, using a soft-bristled push broom and rinsing well several times with water.

After I finished the border and wood grain stamped walkway, I pulled off the masked areas of the patio and began layering those colors.

I started with Desert Amber and sprayed an approximate 3:1 water/acid solution with a garden sprayer over the entire patio being careful to not spray onto the existing finished areas (border & walkway).

I decided it needed a darker finish and beefed up the solution to 50/50.

I allowed the 1st coat to dry before applying the 2nd coat, but before the 2nd coat dried, I decided, on the fly, to swirl in the Malayan Buff to many of the depression areas created by the stamped concrete.

I held the spray nozzle close to the concrete and allowed the two separate wet colors to sort of muddle together and in other areas I just sprayed over the top of the Desert Amber.

I also applied the Malayan Buff over the border for additional effect.

After those areas dried according to Direct Colors online chart, I neutralized the acid stain again and then let dry overnight.

NOTE: On the top of the step I mimicked the patio colors while doing the patio, but the vertical sides match the border.

Faux Wood Stamped Concrete

I then sprayed a light coat of the Malayan Buff over the entire patio which created a very leathery and/or parchment effect, as I had hoped for, and even darkened the color a bit.

Then after that layer dried, I spritzed the English Red and the Cola in various spots and wherever the color looked like it might be a bit weak, or lacking that WOW factor.

Lastly, I sprayed over the entire patio (including the border and the walkway) a final coat of Desert Amber.

I let the patio dry according to the online instructions and then neutralized.

I let the patio get bone dry for a couple days and then applied 2 coats of Direct Colors Acrylic Sealer using a garden sprayer and a roller.

TIP:  Do not over apply the sealer (apply thin coats) and allow each coat to dry completely according to the online instructions.

For more on using two or more acid stain colors read Layering Concrete Acid Stain Colors 

Project Time: Approx. 3 partial days (About 17-18 hours)
Project Cost: $521.65
Project Size: 585 sq. ft : 265 sq. ft. (border & walkway) + 320 sq. ft. (main patio)

Direct Colors Products Used:

  • 3 gal. Desert Amber Concrete Acid Stain
  • 2 gal. Coffee Brown Concrete Acid Stain
  • 1 gal. Malayan Buff Concrete Acid Stain
  • 1 qt. English Red Concrete Acid Stain
  • 1 qt. Cola Concrete Acid Stain
  • 4 gal. Acrylic Sealer, Solvent-Based, Satin

Project Materials & Tools Used:

  • Chlorine Bleach
  • Pump up garden sprayers
  • Baking Soda
  • Push Broom
  • Xylene for clean-up
  • 5 gal. bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Masking tape
  • Masking paper
  • Plastic

TO Justin, Samantha, Jay & all the staff at Direct Colors.

TO Justin, Samantha, Jay & all the staff at Direct Colors.

Good morning!…. and,


I was SURPRISED, SHOCKED, BEWILDERED and SPEECHLESS when Justin called me this morning (Saturday) to tell me I was one of the winners of the Photo Contest. I wondered why is Justin calling me on a Saturday for? Was he going to tell me they needed to send back my samples, or what? And I had looked on the website earlier this week to see if you posted any winners yet & who won and I  saw one of the other winners and so I just assumed I didn’t win anything. LOL – you guys got me good.

Anyway,  I just want to thank all the staff for all your help and my bajillion questions – and we still aren’t  done yet – right, Jay?

I was so excited after I hung up with Justin I was texting all my friends with the website links, and they were all amazed as well, because only a few even knew what I was doing. All most knew was, that I was working in my back yard taking advantage of this stay-at-home virus thing.
Once this Covid-19 is over we will be partying hard.

I’m still in SHOCK that I won anything, but I’ll be back next year with another project. I have 2, maybe 3 more to do so now that I know a little bit more about what I’m doing, LOL, I will keep entering contests, I guess. It’s not really about the monetary reward as much as the pride of craftsmanship for me. Next project, though, I will do videos.

Thank you again for all you guys do and for all your assistance.  And JAY, you owe me a phone call. 🤪🤪🤪

Brian Koons

Sent from my iPhone