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How to Acid Stain Concrete Patio Floor - Header Image

How to Acid Stain Concrete Patio Floors

By Ted Ruler

October 2021 – $250 Cash Winner

If you want a concrete patio that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll give you all the materials, steps, and tips you need to create the concrete patio of your dreams. Let’s get started.

Concrete patio stained with Black, Malayan Buff and SeaGrass EverStain acid stains
Concrete patio stained with Black, Malayan Buff and SeaGrass EverStain acid stains
EverStain Trial Kit
EverStain Trial Kit
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Black EverStain Swatch
EverStain Black
Acrylic Sealer Solvent
Satin Sealer
EverStain Trial Kit
EverStain Trial Kit
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Black EverStain Swatch
EverStain Black
Acrylic Sealer Solvent
Satin Sealer
Acrylic Sealer Solvent
Satin Sealer

“I had several ideas in my head of how I wanted my patio to look when completed. I was going for light brown to brown gradients with flowing teal “streams” throughout. I ordered 3 sample kits (9 colors) to test to see how the colors would react with my concreted. I tested in a small area around the fire pit, that would later be covered with brick.”

Testing EverStain concrete acid stain colors
Testing EverStain & Antiquing concrete stain colors

“I was able to complete the staining and sealing process in 3 days. I spent the rest of the summer completing the brick work myself, and then completing the landscaping myself too. When I finally completed the whole patio project, I was quite pleased with the result! Many friends, family and neighbors have given me positive feedback on the appearance of my patio project! I definitely would, and have been recommending Direct Colors products to friends, family and neighbors!”

Step 1. Inspect Concrete Floor

Concrete acid stain does not stain rocks, sand or aggregate.

Excessively worn concrete depleted of portland cement not suitable for acid staining
  • Exposed aggregate or otherwise depleted concrete may cause the acid stain to take irregularly, react weakly, or produce an unexpected color
  • For excessively worn (exposed aggregate) or old concrete surfaces were the acid stains cannot  react, we recommend using Direct Colors’ Portico Stains
  • Cracks and other deformities may cause pooling or unwanted color variations. If the concrete surface is cracked, fixing the surface will avoid any issues
  • If the concrete surface is uneven, consider sanding or resurfacing to avoid pooling and dark spots.
Repairing Concrete Patio Floor with Overlay
Refinished Patio Floor with Concrete Overlay
  • New concrete must cure for at least 30 days before staining
Newly poured concrete slabs must cure for 30 days
Newly poured concrete slabs must cure for 30 days

Step 2. Clean & Prepare Surface

Clean your concrete patio floors with an organic concrete cleaner and degreaser. The concrete must be free of debris, dirt and oils. Generally, a generous sweeping, scrubbing, and rinsing should do the job.

Protect surrounding areas from acid stain overspray

Prepare the Concrete Surface
Clean the concrete surface and protect surrounding landscape

“I used caution tape from the trees to the house to try to keep the birds away during the project. This seemed to work pretty well, as the birds normally hang out on behind my house and make a mess”

Newly Poured Concrete
Concrete must be fully cured before acid staining

For excessively dirty concrete patios read Surface Preparation For Acid Staining.

Step 3. Apply Acid Stain Colors

Seagrass EverStain Applied with a Pump Up Sprayer
Seagrass EverStain Applied with a Pump Up Sprayer

Apply acid stain using a Pump-up Sprayer. Safety while applying colorant is important. Remember to use long sleeves, pants, goggles and gloves while working with the acid stain.

Wear Spiked Shoes
Wear Spiked Shoes

“I definitely recommend using the spiked shoes to prevent leaving foot prints or tracking the stain where it is not wanted.”

Spray Base Color

First Coat of EverStain SeaGrass Base Color
First Coat of EverStain SeaGrass Base Color
First Coat of EverStain SeaGrass Base Color
First Coat of EverStain SeaGrass Base Color

Apply Accent Colors

“I used Miracle Grow fertilizer to help create the teal/blue/green streams that I was trying to achieve.”

Miracle Grow on Seagrass EverStain Acid Stain
Use Miracle Grow to intensify teal blue hues on Seagrass EverStain acid stain
Use brush to spread acid and Miracle Grow mixture
Use brush to spread acid and Miracle Grow mixture
  • Spray Seagrass EverStain acid stain “streams” on concrete surface
  • Add the Miracle Grow over the wet stain
  • Spray more Seagrass EverStain acid stain to fully saturate the Miracle Grow granules
  • Use a brush to spread the EverStain acid stain and Miracle Grow mixture to make it look more like streams instead of just sprinkling the material and have a speckled look
Miracle Grow over Seagrass EverStain Streaks
Spraying Seagrass over Miracle Grow granules
Miracle Grow over Seagrass EverStain Streaks for Pop
Miracle Grow over Seagrass EverStain Streaks for Blue Color Pop
Allowing Seagrass, Malayan Buff and Black acid stain colors to react
Malayan Buff and Black EverStain color accents
Allowing Seagrass, Malayan Buff and Black acid stain colors to react

Neutralize & Clean Residue

Rinsing and Scrubbing Acid Stain Residue
Rinsing and scrubbing acid stain residue
  • Scrub with a soft nylon bristle scrub brush where needed to remove residue.
  • Wash the surface carefully using clean water until nothing but clear water is visible.
  • Remove all residue and excess color from concrete before leaving to dry.
  • For stubborn residue or porous surfaces, use an organic degreaser to aid in the removal. The clean, wet surface will be the approximate color of the final sealed surface.
  • Leave to dry.
  • After the surface has completely dried, the floor should be ready to seal.
Neutralizing Acid Stains
Neutralized and rinsed acid stained concrete floor
Neutralizing Acid Stains
Wet acid stained concrete floor

DCPro TIP:   Using a Shop-Vac to wash out and clean acid residue decreases the process time and effort dramatically

 Allow to Dry

Acid Stained Concrete Patio - Black, Malayan, Seagrass

Step 4. Apply Concrete Sealant

Select a Sealer Carefully. Patios can get wet and no one wants to slip and fall. For outdoor concrete patio floors,we recommend a Solvent-Based,  Satin Finish Acrylic Sealer. If you’re concerned about slip hazards, add an anti-slip concrete sealer additive to the second coat of sealer for maximum safety. This will create a textured, moisture-friendly surface for any outdoor concrete coloring project.

Apply First Coat of Sealer

Fist coat of solvent based satin sealer
Fist coat of solvent based satin sealer

Allow to Dry (2 – 6 Hours)

Second coat of solvent based satin sealer
Second coat of solvent based satin sealer

And you’re done! Now, you can enjoy your newly concrete acid stained patio for years to come. To make sure you get the most out of your coloring job, there’s some easy maintenance you can do.

Acid Stained Concrete Patio Floor
Acid Stained Concrete Patio Floor
Seagrass, Malayan Buff, Black EverStains and Miracle Grow
Acid Stained Concrete Patio Floor

Quick Maintenance Tips:

  • Concrete patios in direct sunlight that are sealed with Acrylic Concrete Sealers should be reapplied every 2-3 years. Covered patios would need to be sealed less frequently. 
  • Clean the concrete thoroughly prior to application. 
  • Solvent Based Sealers that are flaking, peeling or damaged in a similar manner should be repaired with xylene vigorously rolled from a paint try before spraying or otherwise applying another coat. 
  • Keep in mind that not all sealers are compatible or will adhere properly without profiling. Know what sealer has been previously used on the concrete before attempting to apply more. 
  • Solvent based sealer should be applied over solvent based sealer.
Acid Stained Concrete Floor

Did you skip surface preparation? You acid stain job did not turn out as expected? Here are some ways to fix it!

Here are more examples of what your concrete patio could look like by using the different types of outdoor stains:

EasyTintColored Sealer

Stained concrete driveway design

Antiquing Stamped Concrete Stain

Dog Chilling on Antiquing Stained on Stamped Concrete Patio

Portico™ Paver Stain

Portico Aztec Brown, Driftwood, Khaki, Terra, Yukon Gold stained pavers driveway