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Layering Concrete Acid Stain Colors - Header Image

Layering Concrete Acid Stain Colors

Numerous Acid Stain colors may be layered, blended or applied to the same concrete slab to produce an array of effects, ranging from a dreamy “washed” appearance to a mottled psychedelic finish.

The main consideration for how to blend acid stain colors is whether you apply the next color once the previous layer is dry, partially dry, or still wet—the wetter the previous layer of acid stain, the more “blended” the border between colors will look.

Wet on Wet Layering

Applying multiple coats of your chosen acid stain color(s) while wet is the most common way to achieve the unique, aqueous finish that acid stain is known for—the same is true when using one base color at multiple dilution ratios.

Crystal and Jonathan decided to beautify their home, opting for our EverStain acid stains. They told us, “We stained the concrete of our entire downstairs living areas. Initially, we used a generic water based stain and were not satisfied with the results.”

“We researched and found Direct Colors and ordered the EverStain Concrete Acid Stain in Malayan Buff, Cola, and Seagrass. The end result was absolutely beautiful and exactly what we wanted.”

“We were working with a +40 year old slab so we kept in mind that the acid would change the concrete in different and unexpected ways.”

“We also embraced the imperfections in the concrete and liked the character those imperfections added to our end product.”

One inherent factor of the wet on wet method is that there is no wait time between layers. Similar to the way watercolor paints bleed into each other, acid stains readily blend in the presence of water. A wet on wet technique produces a softer edge between contrasting colors.

Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain Cola

To best preserve the distinction between light and dark tones, the lighter stain should be applied first, followed by each darker color stain. Be careful not to let dark stains overpower lighter areas when blending!

Applying Seagrass, Malayan Buff and Cola EverStain Acid Stains
Malayan Buff, Cola, Seagrass acid Stain Living Room

“We were working with a +40 year old slab so we kept in mind that the acid would change the concrete in different and unexpected ways.”

Acid Stained Concrete Floor
Acid Stained Concrete Floor

“We also embraced the imperfections in the concrete and liked the character those imperfections added to our end product.”

Acid Stained Concrete Floor

Wet on Dry Layering

Depending on weather conditions, this approach generally requires a full drying period of at least 5 hours between applying each successive layer of acid stain.

If total project time is not an issue, the main advantage of applying a new layer of acid stain over a dry one is that it produces more well-defined borders between colors.

While some blending still takes place between light and dark hues, the wet-on-dry method is most often used to apply secondary layers of distinct color accents, where control of heavy dark hues is essential.

Since each successive layer provides a “new” dry canvas to work on, consider testing your next color in a discreet portion of the concrete to preview how the stain will react with the lighter layer beneath.

Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Coffee Brown EverStain Swatch
EverStain Coffee Brown
Acrylic Sealer Solvent Gloss
High Gloss Sealer
Acid Stained Concrete Floors
Azure Blue and Coffee Brown Acid Stains sealed with High Gloss Acrylic Sealer and Commercial Floor Wax

Bob Harris offers this tip for softening the transition between wet-on-dry colors:

Apply water to areas of the base coat that you want to retain, then spray the next layer into the dry spots, just overlapping the edges of the wet areas. “The water softens the hard edge, defusing the transition very softly and very nicely,” Harris says.

Acid Stained Art Studio - Azure Blue, English Red, Malayan Buff
Acid Stained Art Studio - Azure Blue, English Red, Malayan Buff
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
English Red EverStain Swatch
EverStain English Red
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Acrylic Sealer Solvent Gloss
High Gloss Sealer
Acid Stained Turquoise Floor
Wet on Dry Marbling Technique using Azure Blue 1:1 and Cola Full and Diluted 10:1. Polyurethane Matter Sealer
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain Cola
Poly Sealer Water-Based Matte
Matte, Water-Based Poly Concrete Sealer