Replacing Water-based Concrete Stain With Acid? - Concrete, Stone & Masonry - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 05-22-2013, 10:59 PM   #1
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Replacing water-based concrete stain with acid?

We have 500sf back patio with full sun southern exposure. It was covered in pebble tech which we had demolished & removed, then smoothed over with a grinding machine & cleaned. I was trying to be eco-friendly and stupidly chose a water-based stain instead of acid. I wanted a speckled/mottled/distressed look and the light blue color came on solid, it looked like a swimming pool!!! To add insult to injury, we had a 1970s decorative dolphin which the grinding machine & chemicals couldn't remove. My handyman thought it was ceramic & he didn't know how to remove it (all the other pebble-tech came up easily), so it's still there too .

Within 24 hours we etched it and applied acetone which thinned it out unevenly, and then applied a layer of grey water-based concrete stain on top of that. It looks acceptable but not great, and we haven't sealed it yet. I'm thinking it'll fade, chip over time anyway to get a 'distressed' look??

My question is how hard would it be to do the acid based stain. Any thoughts on putting the acid right on top of the stain to see what happens maybe in a small corner? I do NOT want to have to float a new layer of concrete, nor do I want to grind down again since I'm afraid we've already messed with old concrete a lot and not sure how much more pounding it can handle. The etching & acetone didn't remove it, they only thinned it even with hard scrubbing with tools & steel wool.

What options do we have to 1) leave the water-based stain but give it a 'cool' acid-stain like effect or 2) put an acid on top of a water-based stain or is that nuts??



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Old 08-21-2013, 05:51 PM   #2
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The water-based stain has sealed the concrete to the point that he acid won't do what it is suppose to. I'd almost suggest a faux application of a near slurry mix of the water-based stain using a cushion sponge and a pizza box to get the effect your looking for. Then topcoat it with clear sealer for durability and traffic wear.


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Old 08-22-2013, 05:15 AM   #3
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learn to love the dolphin the issue is depth of penetration,,, wtr-bas'd stains aren't worth a **** im-n-s-h-fo,,, ' pebble-tech ' as a walking surface ? its usually reserved for pool floors/walls,,, i am surprised acetone did anything to a wtr stain as they don't mix/react

best guess is try some acid stain using dan's sponge in the corner as you post'd,,, we used solo sprayers unless it was a big job requiring elec machines,,, dec conc/acid-staining is highly specialized work & i'd guess its required skill/temperment/knowledge is well outside even the best handyman's expertise - just a guess

since wtr-bas'd stains don't change the color of the cement's avail ' free lime ', they aren't real stains as defined by pro's,,, we successfully bail'd out some h/o jobs since wtr-bas'd stains do not, in my experiences, seal conc,,, like using a wtr-bas'd sealer, they're largely useless - again, only my opinion,,, others can/may disagree but i am the world's leading expert on my opinion

good luck !

ps - forgot this part,,, we always used eliteCrete products 'cause if we f'd up, there was a distributor on the other end of the phone who could bail us out,,, most of the trade suppliers just read the directions back to you,,, again, only my opinion based on experiences,,, 1 more point - don't expect great results from sher-wms or the apron/vest stores' products !

Last edited by stadry; 08-22-2013 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:26 PM   #4
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You're at the point of jackhammering it and starting over if you want something substantially different. Water based "stain" is more like paint than stain. It's carp. As you've discovered. Or, depending on how much was removed when you ground it the first time, you might try that route again. But, there should be some wire and rebar in there for reinforcement, and you might not have enough room to do the sanding again without getting into some of that.
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:59 PM   #5
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I hate water-born stains as well, all too common for them to give a monolithic paint look. Acid is far better at mottling/antiquing/variation, BUT you're not going to find a blue tone in acid that will be suitable outside in UV rays (which you already know because this OP is 3 months old.....).

I'm with the old man (itsreallyconcrete) and suggest trying acid in the least conspicuous corner, if you haven't already thrown the towel in. Regardless of the 2 posts saying it wont react, I've had differing actual experiences in the past.........
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concrete patio stain , concrete stain , remove water based stain

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