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How to Stain Concrete

Want to stain your unsightly concrete? Staining concrete is not as difficult as it may seem, unless you want to do any elaborate designs. Then it's best left to professionals who know what they're doing. But for putting a simple one color stain, here are some tips.

  • Use caution. Concrete stain is an acid stain. It's top ingredient is called "hydrochloric acid", which is better known as "pool acid". It can burn the skin.
  • String yellow caution tape to keep neighbors, children and pets away.
  • Make sure you have adequate ventilation.
  • When inside, wear a respirator that filters hydrogen chloride.
  • Wear splash-resistant goggles, acid-resistant gloves, a long sleeved shirt, long pants and rubber boots.
  • Use an all-plastic 1 or 2 gallon garden pump sprayer with no metal parts.
  • Wash the sprayer with soap and water between color changes.
  • Do not rinse acid stain residues into the soil or down the curb into the sewer system.
  • Clean up while rinsing with a wet-dry vacuum and take the residue to your local hazardous-waste facility.
  • Clean the surface with a power washer using soap and water only.
  • Allow the concrete to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Spray toward lawn, not directly toward the storm drain.
  • Apply the acid stain with a 2-gallon plastic garden sprayer.
  • Use and back and forth motion.
  • Distribute the stain with a wide-brush broom for even distribution of color.
  • If you want texture, use a rag.
  • Leave the stain on the concrete for desired color, up to 6 hours.
  • The darker the color you want, the longer you leave the stain on.
  • Rinse off the surface.
  • Clear away sludge with a wet-dry vacuum.

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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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