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6 Reasons Why All Concrete Needs To Be Acid-Stained

August 29, 2018


Ready for a chemistry lesson in painting?

Acid staining is a finishing technique for concrete that mixes water, hydrochloric acid, and acid-soluble metallic salts. This mixture penetrates and chemically reacts with the hydrated lime in the concrete.

The stain lightly etches the concrete surface, which allows the metallic salts to penetrate easier. After the stain reacts, it becomes a permanent part of the concrete surface.

Why stain concrete with acid? Here are the benefits of acid staining concrete:

  • Durability. Acid-stained concrete doesn’t wear out. The surface is inflammable and ultraviolet (UV) light-resistant. Unlike wood staining, when done properly, acid-stained concrete floors don’t chip, peel, discolor, or fade.

    When accurately done, acid-stain concrete is also completely unaffected by water. While moisture is a common problem for most surfaces, it doesn’t leave a lingering effect on acid-stain concrete because the finish is water-based.
  • Maintenance. Acid-stained concrete is easy to maintain. If you fail to call in maintenance for waxing the concrete, the acid stain likely won’t fade away. You can also wipe off spills without trouble, which makes this finishing option great for restaurants and hospitals.
  • Appearance. According to Concrete Network, “Acid-based stains are translucent, and the color they produce will vary depending on the color and condition of the substrate they are applied to.” Each concrete surface accepts the acid stain in varying degrees of intensity. This creates “natural color variations that bring character and distinction to each project.”

    However, acid stains don’t offer a broad color selection. These stains are limited to subtle earthy tones like tan, brown, terracotta, and soft blue-green. Note that color effects are generally more intense on new concrete than on older or weathered concrete.

    While the color selection is limited, finishing options vary. Acid-stained concrete can be transformed to create a more refined or polished look, texture, or feel. For example, natural stone, marble, or weathered leather.
  • Health. Radiant heat is a big health risk when it comes to finishing projects. Acid staining is less likely to dry out breathing passages and skin during application and in the future.

    Also, because acid-stained concrete is sealed, it’s nearly impossible for allergens and pathogens, like dust mites and pollen, to penetrate it. This improves indoor air quality and the health of building occupants.

    Lastly, acid stain is primarily water. Unlike other finishing options with high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), acid stain is a health-conscious option.
  • Application. When thinking about concrete, most people picture sidewalks. Yet, concrete is a useful surface for a variety of applications.

    If you have an auto shop, the garage floor is likely concrete. Commercial buildings and offices typically have some visible concrete. Restaurant patios, retail establishments, hotels, and trade showrooms have concrete somewhere.

    All of these commercial applications of concrete can use acid staining to get a durable, beautiful finished surface.
  • Cost. Apart from the initial cost of installation, acid staining is a cost-effective option for finishing. No unnecessary expenses will pop up due to damage or repair. Maintenance is little to none, which means more savings.

Acid-stained concrete is durable and resistant to UV light, moisture, and damage. The environmentally friendly finish also creates a beautifully stained surface that costs next to nothing after initial installation. Because it’s so versatile in application, acid stain can be used for any commercial project with concrete.

Before you call a commercial painter for this finish, it’s important to prep your concrete surface. Download Cochran & Mann’s Surface Preparation Checklist. Click on the button below:

Download The Surface Preparation Checklist

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