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Concrete Acid Stain Info Page Here

Concrete Acid Stain & Scoring on the Exterior Porches

Click here to also see the aqua blue  house interior slab concrete acid stain treatement

The lower porch and step down to it were ready to be acid stained to match the upper porch. Fist thing was to mask off all of our DAC-ART blocks. Since they are made of concrete, we have to protect them from the acid stain. Thin plastic painting drop cloths will do. I used a short bristle brush and was careful when applying the stain. This photo was actually taken after the stain had been applied. There is wide masking tape on the steps, but it is difficult to see in the photo.

masking porch for concrete acid stain

I used concrete acid stain on the upper porch and interior floors, and was very pleased.

Now over a year later, the color is still wonderful. People really marvel at the concrete acid stained interior floor and like the effect of the selective acrylic coated diagonal stripes on the porches. As light hits the cross-bands where the acrylic sealer was used it creates a beautiful effect. See the photos lower on this page. Every magazine or newspaper that has featured photos of our project has included photos of the porches.


On the step between the porches, I wanted to have a little detail and the look of individual tiles so before I did the green stain, I hand painted some decorative elements in a color of stain darker than the green I planned to do overall. The score lines were done ahead of time by our concrete subcontractor. Be sure to mark them yourself, or have a good look at them before any cutting is done. To speed up the process of handpainting, I used a rubber stamp to stamp the design on the concrete with plain water, which momentarily darkened the surface in the shape of the stamp. I used a damp sponge to moisten the stamp evenly. It was a warm day and the water evaporated quickly, but was there long enough for me to see the outline.

Applying concrete acid stain designs


Stamping concrete to hand paint stain I found that in some places, the concrete would not show the wet outline of my stamp. To solve this problem, I mixed a very small amount of blue ink jet printer ink into my water soaked sponge. I knew this would not interfere with my chemical reaction between the concrete and the acid stain (I tested it). The color of the sponge just happened to be the same color as the ink, there is not as much ink present as it looks! .
Close up of stamped design
concrete acid stain circle stamp My next step was to make a
small circle stamp from sheet
foam from a crafts dept. I cut
the circle with scissors and
glued it to the end of a marker,
to use as a handle. Placing
a tiny bit of dark brown stain
in a plastic dish, I dabbed the
circle stamp in the dish and
then onto the concrete as shown.
tile designs created handpainting superstone chlorstain concrete acid stain Next I added some squiggle lines freehand--it doesn't matter if there is not precision, see later photos! Just do not accidentally spill any stain, as the reaction is immediate.

To give me a stronger look of individual tiles on the steps, I brushed on the green stain taking care to keep it out of the score line, and because I did a light sprinkling of Stern's Miracle Grow to gain tourquoise speckles, on some 'tiles' I swirled the Miracle Grow particles around which disolved in the acid stain and the result was an overall more blue look than the 'tile' next to it.

tile effect on the step created with concrete acid stain

As you can see, once the green stain was used over the handpainted designs, their effect was softened considerably.

the look of green concrete acid stain on three pours
A really interesting thing, --take a look at the face of the step. The concrete on the face had a glossy look to it and did not take the stain well. I suppose the concrete delivered to us had an additive that migrated to the surface and formed a barrier so that once the forms were removed, etc the acid stain could not react with the concrete as well. But no big deal---the overall effect of the four surfaces is harmonious. (Older upper porch, 'tile' step tops, step face, and lower porch.)


scored and acid stained concrete porch

On the lower porch, I brushed, Light Palmetto Green acid stain all over. I also sprinkled  lightly Sterns Miracle Grow for turquoise speckles.

In the cross hatch areas of my score lines, I had previously hand painted small sea shells and similar designs with the same dark brown acid stain as I used on the step. Once the Palmetto Green concrete acid stain residue was hosed off, the previously painted designs and the hand painted step 'tile' designs showed through softly. This porch and the step will need a second coat to have the deep color that you see here. (The colors appear more deep when wet.)

Looking north across the concrete acid stained porch and step

colored concrete randon effects of concrete acid stain

It is the random effect that the concrete acid stain has on troweled concrete that is a big part of it's beauty.

See the interior floors with additional concrete acid stain photos and info here.

I used this same color concrete acid stain on my baseboards that I poured myself from a home-made mold. I think they look 'mah-vah-lus dah-ling'

I later used water base satin finish varnish to give the
diagonal lines a subtle, but stand-out look.

concrete acid stain porch acid stained cement porch in alabama

water base acrylic When the light hits the diagonal lines
they either look light or dark depending
on your angle.
It is a subtle effect that really 'dresses-up'
the concrete acid stained floor.



Click here to also see the aqua blue  house interior slab concrete acid stain treatement

Treating the Steps for Traction

Our steps had a beautiful but smooth finish, that when wet, resulted in unstable footing. My solution was to treat them with  full strength Muratic Acid. Before doing so, I did a test on a scrap piece of DAC-ART to see if it would work and to be sure that there was no color change, etc

tests on concrete steps of muratic acid
On my test piece, the lighter diagonal bands are the treated, and roughed -up areas. I did a couple test diagonal bands on the corner of one of the steps also, there the treated areas appear a bit darker.


muratic acid and tools for etching concrete stairs
After doing some internet reading, I decided that sprinkling a cheap breakfast cereal over the thickly applied muratic acid might result in deeper etching. With a brush, I applied the acid, full strength (31%), and shook rice cereal over them in a mottled distribution. I waited until the next morning to rinse the steps. It worked.

It is very important to wear googles & rubber gloves when working with this strong acid. When the full strength acid made contact with the concrete, the fizzing and bubbling was dramatic and the fumes were strong and toxic. The acid  even turned line-acid-green ,think "Roger Rabbit" & melting people. It was strong!


concrete steps covered in muratic acid and cereal
I was careful to not get the acid any place except the step treads. This shows the cereal sprinkled on the treads also.


The Results

The mottled effect gives good traction. Where the cereal was, it absorbed muratic acid and kept the acid in contact with the concrete for deeper etching. I have given the steps the 'wet flip-flop test' several times now, and no hydroplaneing as before.

etching on the concrete steps cement

concrete steps and tools used for etching

south steps of precast concrete cement

On the south end of the porch, I used a different cereal, only because I had run out of the rice crispies and had bought several kinds in case one of them released some nutrient in the acid that caused discoloration (they didn't). I also found that once I had applied a heavy coat of muratic acid and sprinkled the cereal, I could easily add additional acid with a small plastic squirt bottle. I used a funnel to fill it and always wore rubber gloves and goggles.

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