Acid Staining New Concrete: DIY Tips and Tricks

By Kyle Wilkins

May 2021 – $250 Cash Winner

As the Operations Manager and Project Estimator at Valtex, LLC, I was thrilled to work on our new headquarters office. When considering flooring options, I realized that acid staining the concrete slab would be a cost-effective and stunning choice. In this blog, I will share my experience and tips for acid staining new concrete. And for those of you wondering, “Can you acid stain new concrete?” the answer is a resounding yes!

Before and after comparison of a concrete floor, showcasing the transformation from plain gray to a vibrant acid-stained surface.
Witness the remarkable transformation of a concrete floor from plain gray to a stunning acid-stained masterpiece.

It’s important to note that concrete slabs should include less than 10% fly ash to ensure a good chemical reaction with the acid stain. If the concrete contains too much fly ash, it may be necessary to consider using a water-based stain such as ColorWave to achieve the desired marbled effect.

1. Preparation is key

Before starting the acid staining process, it is crucial to ensure that the concrete surface is clean and free of debris or contaminants.

For new concrete surfaces, it is necessary to allow at least 30 days of curing time to ensure that the surface is fully dry and hardened, allowing for optimal stain absorption and adhesion of the sealant. Also, remember that adequate surface preparation is crucial for a successful outcome.

Photo of a clean and prepared concrete floor, ready for the application of acid stain to achieve a stunning transformation.
Cleaning concrete surface

Kyle’s Tips:

  • Allocate sufficient time for your project
  • Patience is essential; don’t rush the process
  • Surface prep cannot be overemphasized
  • Wear spiked shoes or cleats to avoid footprints

2. Choose and apply acid stain colors

When selecting colors, apply the lighter shade first, as it’s easier to layer darker colors on top. Use a pump-up sprayer to apply the base and accent colors. For a more in-depth explanation of the staining technique used in this project, check out our blog on the Concrete Veining Technique: How To Create A Vein Effect On Concrete With Acid Stain Colors.

Photo of a concrete floor displaying the subtle Azure Blue base color after applying and allowing the lighter acid stain to activate.
The concrete floor begins its transformation with the application of the lighter Azure Blue acid stain base color, setting the stage for a stunning finish.

Kyle’s Tips:

  • Test a small area to check the progress of color activation by applying water to the acid stain, which mimics the final sealed color
  • Neutralize the acid stain with a suitable product like ProClean Neutralizer™ Concentrate
  • Wear appropriate safety gear while working with acid stain
Photo of a concrete floor showcasing the striking effect of the Black acid stain veining technique applied as an accent color over the Azure Blue base.
The concrete floor comes to life as the Black acid stain veining technique adds depth and contrast to the Azure Blue base color, creating a unique and eye-catching design.

3. Neutralize and clean residue

After the staining process, neutralize the acid stain and clean the residue thoroughly. This step is essential to achieve a consistent and professional finish.

Photo of a concrete floor displaying the combined effect of Azure Blue base and Black acid stain veining technique accent color after neutralizing and cleaning the residue, ready for sealer application.
The concrete floor reveals the initial outcome of the Azure Blue base and Black veining accent colors, appearing chalky and light, eagerly awaiting the sealer application to bring its vibrant colors to life.

Kyle’s Tips:

  • Use a soft nylon bristle brush for scrubbing
  • Rinse with clean water until only clear water is visible
  • Allow the surface to dry completely

4. Seal and polish the surface

Once the surface is dry, apply a sealant to protect and enhance the stained concrete. Apply two thin coats of the sealant, allowing each coat to dry for at least 8 hours before applying the next.

Photo of a concrete floor showcasing 3/4 of its surface, with the first coat of sealer applied, revealing vibrant, popping colors compared to the unsealed chalky light area.
The application of the first coat of sealer brings the acid-stained concrete floor to life, showcasing vibrant colors and a stunning finish, contrasting with the chalky, unsealed area.

Kyle’s Tips:

  • Apply thin, even coats of sealant, allowing ample drying time between coats
  • Avoid walking over or touching tacky areas to prevent imperfections in the final result
  • Apply two thin coats of ProWax Polish™ for a smooth finish

By following these tips and tricks, you too can transform a plain concrete slab into a beautiful, acid-stained masterpiece. Acid staining new concrete is not only possible but also a rewarding and cost-effective flooring option.

Photo of a finished concrete floor, with a glossy and polished surface, showcasing the final outcome of the acid staining process.
The final result of the acid staining process is a stunning, glossy, and polished concrete floor, transformed from a basic gray slab into a work of art, adding beauty and value to any space.
ProClean Degreaser
ProClean Degreaser™
Spiked Shoes for Staining Concrete Floors
Spiked Shoes
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain™ Azure Blue
Black Acid Stain Concrete Color
EverStain™ Black
ProClean Neutralizer™
ProClean Neutralizer™
AcquaSeal Satin
AcquaSeal™ Satin
ProWax Polish™ Satin
ProWax Polish™ Satin

Looking to learn more about acid stained concrete floors? Check out our comprehensive guide on how to create stunning acid-stained concrete floors, from surface preparation to final sealant application. Read our blog on “Acid Stained Concrete Floors: How-To Guide” to take your DIY skills to the next level.

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