Podcast: Acid Stain or Antiquing for an Outdoor Concrete Project?

It’s that time of year when our customers what their outdoor concrete to look its best. The question for today’s podcast is which product, acid stain or liquid colored antique concrete stain, is better for what project. Here to help us make that determination is Shawna Turner, General Manager with Direct Colors.

Amie Nolen: Thanks for joining us, Shawna.

Shawna Turner:  Thank you.

Amie Nolen:  So what’s the main difference between the acid stain and antique concrete stain?

ST:  The main difference between the two products is that one is chemically reactive and the other is not. Acid Stain is a chemically reactive stain that relies on the quality of the concrete to create a reaction to permanently color the concrete. The antiquing stain does not. It’s sprayed on to the concrete and absorbs in but is still regarded as a topical stain. Both stain options must be sealed after application. The antiquing stain is a little easier to apply because it doesn’t have a cleaning step before sealing so that’s helpful if you’re in a hurry.

AN:  Do the stains look any different on the concrete?

ST:  Yes, they do. Acid stain has a special look that is unique to that staining process so if you’re looking for a marbled finish with a lot color tones and variation, I’d suggest sticking with the acid stain. Liquid Colored Antique provides more solid color though more than one color could be used to create accents on the concrete. The antique stain was originally created to renew color on previously stamped or textured concrete but can be successfully applied on any outdoor concrete slab.

AN:  When should a customer select the Antique Stain over the Acid Stain for a patio or other outdoor concrete?

ST:  Antiquing is definitely the right choice for any previously sealed concrete, especially if it has textured or stamped. Acid stain cannot react with previously sealed concrete so it’s not even an option in that scenario. The other main reason apart from personal choice would be when the concrete isn’t of sufficient quality to acid stain. For acid stain to succeed the concrete has to be very clean, have little or no aggregate showing and never have been cleaned with acid based cleaners. Sometimes it’s hard to know with older concrete whether it can be acid stained or not that’s why pre-application testing becomes so important. Antiquing can also be a fun option for concrete pavers or stepping stones if you’re wanting to create a multi-color look for a patio or backyard walkway. Most of our customers will apply an acid stain to outdoor concrete when they can because it produces a permanent alteration of the concrete color with minimum maintenance over time.

AN:  Is one easier to apply than the other?

ST:  While both products require good surface prep to apply, prepping for an acid staining project is definitely more rigorous before and after staining. The Liquid Colored Antique is applied to clean, dry surface with a fence and deck sprayer and eight hours after the final coat of stain, you’re ready to seal. No additional cleaning required so as I said before, if you need to get a project completed in a weekend, the Liquid Colored Antique should be your first choice. It’s fast, easy and looks great. I’ve used it outside on my concrete and have been very happy with the product.

AN:  What kind of sealer works best for outdoor concrete?

ST:  While many people love a high gloss finish, I always recommend the Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer to our customers because it is safe for outdoor concrete use and offers excellent color richness and depth. There is absolutely no reason to create a slip hazard on a patio or pool deck when you don’t have to. I also prefer to spray my sealers outdoors because it’s much faster and almost impossible to mess up!

AN: Thanks for great information on coloring outdoor concrete. Hopefully our customers will have an easier time deciding which products to use on their next project.  For more information on outdoor concrete projects, visit our blog at directcolors.com. If you’d like a free design consultation tailored to your project, send us pictures and a description by email or call us at 877-255-2656. We’re ready to help!