If you're a fan of concrete (and who isn't?), then you've probably seen the latest trend in outdoor decor: etching concrete. This increasingly popular process allows homeowners to customize their patios, sidewalks, and other concrete features by adding stylish designs or even words.
After reading this post, you'll know all about the best ways to use concrete stain and acid-etching techniques on your own home projects.
Use a soft broom to clean the surface of the concrete thoroughly
- Use a soft broom to clean the surface of the concrete thoroughly before you start etching concrete.
- Use a soft brush to remove dirt and grime on all parts of your concrete art, including recesses in raised patterns and textures.
- Use a stiff brush to remove hardened cement from some parts of your artwork, such as edges or corners where it has not been sealed properly or has become hardened over time.
- If you have access to one, use a power washer to remove dirt and grime from all areas of your piece as well as any hardened cement that needs removing before beginning work on it (if needed).
Apply a primer coat
The primer coat is a thin layer of concrete sealer that helps the stain stick to the concrete. It creates a smooth surface for staining, so there are no brush strokes or other imperfections in your art.
To apply this first coat, it's best to use a soft-bristled brush and be very careful not to over-brush it onto the surface—you want just enough primer on there so that when you go back with your chosen stain color(s), they'll adhere well. You'll also want to make sure you let this coat dry overnight before applying any subsequent coats!
Smooth out the primer coat
The primer coat should be smooth and even, without any pools or drips.
There are several ways you can make this a reality:
- Use a paint roller to apply the primer. If you're using a brush, microfiber cloths are ideal for smoothing out the finish afterward.
Apply an acrylic water-based concrete stain
Apply an acrylic water-based concrete stain. Using a paintbrush, apply thin layers of stain to the surface of the concrete, allowing each layer to dry before applying another. This will help prevent bleeding between layers of stain and ensure that your final design has an even coat. If you're using a sprayer, be aware that it will make it more difficult to achieve an even coat.
Allow the stain to dry completely
Allow the stain to dry completely. This is a crucial step in the etching process because it allows the concrete to absorb the pigment and create an even tone. If your piece has multiple coats, allow each application of stain to dry before applying another coat. The rule of thumb is 24 hours for one coat, 48 hours for two coats, and 72 hours for three or more coats.
Cover the concrete with a clear coat sealer
The application of a clear coat sealer is the last step but an important one. Once your concrete has been etched and stained, wait at least 24 hours for it to dry completely before applying a clear coat sealer. This will ensure that all surfaces are completely sealed and any excess moisture will be absorbed by the sealer rather than causing the stain to bleed into other areas of your concrete slab.
Once it has dried, use a brush or roller on any large areas of your concrete slab while using a paintbrush on the edges around light fixtures or furniture legs. Use rags to wipe off any excess sealer after applying it with either type of tool that you choose.
Allow the sealer time to dry and harden
After you've applied the sealer, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. This will harden your concrete and make it more durable. Your piece will also look shiny and smooth once the sealer has dried.
Apply muriatic acid when etching concrete
Muriatic acid is a strong acid etching concrete to make it look like stone. It can be dangerous if not used correctly, so follow the instructions carefully and always wear protective gear. Do not pour muriatic acid down the drain, as it could cause serious damage to your pipes or septic system. Instead, pour muriatic acid into a sealable container and dispose of it properly when you're done using it.
Toss away any remaining muriatic acid
Muriatic acid is not something to be trifled with. It's a dangerous chemical, so don't pour it down the drain or onto your lawn or garden area. If you are unsure about what to do with the muriatic acid, contact a professional for advice.
Use a plastic trowel to apply a cement-based overlay mix to the surface when you do etching concrete
Apply a cement-based overlay mix to the surface when you do etching concrete. The overlay mix should be applied with a plastic trowel and will look like tan paint when applied properly. This is a very important step in the process because it allows you to create a smooth, even surface on which to apply additional concrete art.
Spread a thin layer of polymer sand
It is best to apply polymer sand after the concrete has cured and the overlay has been applied. You can use a trowel or a notched trowel to spread thin layers of polymer sand over a wet overlay. This will help protect your concrete from UV damage and ensure that it stays looking great for years to come. The polymer sand will harden in 24 hours, so be sure to spread a thin layer of polymer sand over any joints between pavers as well.
Using a sponge, add water to one of three different colors of powdered dye, then brush it on in random patterns.
You might use red, blue, and yellow, for instance. When you're done, wipe away all excess dye with a damp cloth.
This can be done with any combination of colors or patterns you'd like!
You can create unique designs on your patio floor or in decorative pots or planters
Once you have finished painting, it is time to apply a layer of sealer. This will protect the concrete from stains, fading, and other weather elements. You can buy sealers in stores or online. Follow the instructions on the container and make sure you get your measurements right for best results.
Etching concrete is a lot of fun and can make your patio look amazing. The main thing to keep in mind is that it's not hard to do, but there are several steps involved. That's why we've outlined them here for you so that you can get started today!
Learn more at The Paver Sealer Store!