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Layering Concrete Acid Stain Colors - Header Image

Layering Concrete Acid Stain Colors

By Crystal & Jonathan

March 2021 – $150 Winner

Layer, blend, or apply acid stain colors 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

By applying multiple coats of your chosen acid stain color(s) while wet, you can achieve the unique finish that acid stain is known for. The same is true when using one base color at multiple dilution ratios.

Acid stained floor using Malayan Buff, Cola, & Seagrass colors

Crystal and Jonathan decided to beautify their home, opting for our EverStain acid stain.

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.”

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.

CitrusEtch™ concrete etcher
Floor Pre-Treatment
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain™ Malayan Buff
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain™ Cola
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Satin 1 gal
Satin Sealer
Concrete Floor Wax - Commercial 1 gal
Concrete Floor Wax - High Gloss
Acid stain on concrete floor while wet
Malayan Buff. Cola, Seagrass EverStain on Concrete Floor when dry

To best preserve the distinction between light and dark tones, apply the lighter stain first. Then, follow up with each darker color stain. Be careful not to let dark stains overpower lighter areas when blending!

Neutralizing and rinsing Seagrass, Malayan Buff and Cola EverStain Acid Stain
Malayan Buff, Cola, Seagrass acid Stained 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 in dining room
Acid Stained Concrete Floor in nook

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

Acid Stained Concrete Floor in living room

Pro Tip

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. This should just barely overlap the edges of the wet areas.

“The water softens the hard edge, defusing the transition very softly and very nicely,” Harris says.

Coffee Brown & Azure Blue acid stain sealed with Glossy Acrylic Sealer & Concrete Floor Wax
Coffee Brown & Azure Blue acid stain sealed with Glossy Acrylic Sealer & Concrete Floor Wax

Wet on Dry Layering

Depending on the weather, this approach requires a drying time of at least five hours between applying each successive layer of acid stain.

If time is not a factor, the advantage of applying a new layer of acid stain over a dry one is that it produces well-defined borders between colors.

While some blending still occurs 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 shades 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. This allows you to preview how the stain will react with the lighter layer beneath.

Azure Blue and Coffee Brown Acid Stains sealed with High Gloss Acrylic Sealer and Commercial Floor Wax
Azure Blue and Coffee Brown Acid Stains sealed with High Gloss Acrylic Sealer and Commercial Floor Wax
CitrusEtch™ concrete etcher
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 Art Studio - Azure Blue, English Red, Malayan Buff
Acid stained art studio with Azure Blue, English Red, Malayan Buff
After neutralizing, add Azure Blue veins for etch look
Added color with a pour bottle using drips of Malayan Buff & English Red
CitrusEtch™ concrete etcher
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
Concrete Floor Wax - Commercial 1 gal
Concrete Floor Wax - High Gloss
Acid Stained Turquoise Floor
Wet on dry technique using Azure Blue 1:1 & Cola Full & Diluted 10:1. Matte Polyurethane Sealer
CitrusEtch™ concrete etcher
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain™ Azure Blue
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain Cola
Acrylic Sealer Solvent Gloss
High Gloss Sealer
Sealed Coffee Brown & Desert Amber EverStain
Wet on Wet Basement Concrete Floor with Coffee Brown & Desert Amber EverStain
Acid Stained Concrete Floor
Acid Stained Concrete Floor
CitrusEtch™ concrete etcher
Floor Pre-Treatment
Desert Amber EverStain Acid Stain
EverStain™ Desert Amber
Coffee Brown EverStain Swatch
EverStain™ Coffee Brown
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Satin 1 gal
Satin Sealer
Concrete Floor Wax - Commercial 1 gal
Concrete Floor Wax - High Gloss
Wet on Dry Technique for acid staining
Wet on Dry Garage Floor with Desert Amber, Black & Azure Blue EverStain
Wet on Dry Acid Staining Technique on Garage Floor
CitrusEtch™ concrete etcher
Floor Pre-Treatment
Black Acid Stain Concrete Color
EverStain™ Black
English Red EverStain Swatch
EverStain™ English Red
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain™ Azure Blue
Acrylic Sealer Solvent Gloss
High Gloss Sealer

Learn How to Apply & Seal Acid Stain