Concrete staining process is something that we need to do to achieve specific decorative purposes. However, we need to get fully prepared before doing this step. The surface needs to be prepared and cleaned. We shouldn’t skip this step, because the overall results can be affected. It is important to gather all the necessary tools and supplies before we do this. We need to have the proper protective clothing and equipment, especially because we will need to handle reactive chemicals and acid. Gloves, protective glasses, long sleeves clothing, socks and thick pants are needed during this task. Plastic will be needed to protect other areas, to prevent unintended staining. Lawns and nearby vegetation should also be protected from acid staining.
If we want to use tape, it is important to make sure that the adhesive side doesn’t leave behind any kind of sticky residue. The residue will trap dust and dirt, affecting the look of our handiwork. Flaws and cracks in our existing concrete structure must be repaired first. We can fill in cracks with cementitious material. When we do this, we should make sure that there are no visible differences in color and texture. Also, concrete can have different characteristics, including the porosity factor. This will determine how well the dyes and stain penetrate the surface. When preparing the concrete, we should remove efflorescence, debris, coating, old sealers, residue, discolorations and others. If there’s water repellent layer, we should also remove it, because it will prevent coatings from bonding and absorbing to the concrete.
When cleaning the surface of the concrete, the type of contaminant and coating determines that type of appropriate stripping agent. Before the actual staining process, we should wash off any cleaning and stripping residue. Be sure to make sure that the concrete surface is completely dry. If we plan to use acid stain, we shouldn’t use acid-based etching agents and cleaners when preparing concrete, because the stain penetration will be affected. Pressure washing can be needed to remove obstructing particles and make sure concrete pores are open. If pressure washer isn’t available, we could still utilize etching, stripping, grinding and light acid washing methods. If the concrete surface is poured just recently, we should make sure that it has appropriately cured, before decorative treatments are performed.
Before staining the concrete, we should text it. Choose a small area and use our staining product. Experiment with specific color, consistency, adhesion and other factors. Manufacturer’s color chart can be used as guide. We should know that concrete surface may produce different results, depending on the consistency of staining product, rate of penetration, surrounding temperature, age, porosity and texture. Depending on the type of stain, the application process can be different. There are different types of stain, such as dyes, water-based stains and acid stains.
When using acid stain, we should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. We should start from a corner to the other side. We should be careful not to wet the unintended area. We need to let the first coat dry completely and this could take up to an entire day.