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red acid stain concrete floor

What To Expect From Your Acid Stain Project

Acid stains consist of color pigments that are suspended in a “mild” acid. The acid “opens up” the surface of the concrete and allows for deeper, permanent penetration of the colorant. Unlike paint and polymer based stains, acid stains react with the minerals already present in the concrete, giving it the look and feel of natural stone.

Each concrete installation is as individual and unique as a fingerprint and accepts stain treatments in varying degrees of intensity, creating multi-hued color variations and an uneven surface that appears aged and mottled. Because no two acid stain treatments are alike, you can rest assured that, no matter which color you choose, there will be no other exactly like it. In addition, acid stains continue to have a chemical reaction with the concrete slab for upwards of 30 days after the project is complete.

For this reason it is important that other decorative decisions regarding paint colors, accessories and furnishings, should be made after the true colors of your individual project are revealed. There is no such thing as a color “match” where acid stains are involved. The chemical reaction is largely out of the control of the artist who applies it, and for this reason, acid stains are not for those looking for a guaranteed or specific color.

It is also very important to note that any cracks or areas that have been patched or repaired, or previously covered by tile or other floor coverings, adhesives and cure agents, will accept the stain to a different degree than the rest of the concrete.

This will result in the more prominent appearance of patches and chemical haloes, regardless of the most aggressive stripping methods. In addition, aggregate within the slab does not accept stain. This will result in an even more dramatic effect on surfaces where larger aggregate and more extensive aggregate are exposed.

On the other hand, because of the wide and varying degrees of colors, hues and intensities that result from this type of project, decorative possibilities abound! One of the greatest things about an acid stained floor is that you can change decorative style as often as you like.

Acid stained floors complement any design treatment. With a simple change of paint color, or addition of a throw rug, or other accessory, it is possible to change the entire “look” of a room or setting, interior or exterior. Again, this is due to the variety of colors and characteristics enhanced by the acid stain.

We use Kemiko brand acid stains because they are permanent and extremely durable. Kemiko colors will not fade with time and are most effective at withstanding weathering and extreme ultraviolet exposure. In addition, acid-based stains tend to keep small nicks and minimal dings from showing through as gray, raw concrete. While the palette of available acid stain colors is rather limited, the actual results are infinite. Most acid stains result in a wide variety of color, tone and hue ranges within each project.

The commercial locations listed below are open to the public and available for you to look at various stain and resurfacing projects, which we have worked on over the years. It is important to note that these projects have been done at various times over several years, and that, in many commercial settings, traffic and wear levels are much higher than in the residential setting, and floors are not necessarily maintained according to ideal standards.

When viewing these settings, please take note of the depth and various hues accomplished, as well as the mottled, aged, almost leather-like appearance and visibility and appearance of trowel marks, which are inherent to all concrete slabs in varying degrees. The latest in sealing technology and products also allow for wide variation as far as shine level and color enhancement of the finished concrete floor.

Due to extremes in the exterior setting, certain options may be more appropriate than others. Introduction of decorative scoring and bordering also add to the beauty and versatility of the acid staining effect. Our acid stain guide provides more details regarding these effects, and both guides should give you a good idea of what to expect as far as staining results and care and maintenance thereafter.

Southern Arizona Concrete Acid Stain Examples

Please feel free to visit the following locations for further staining ideas and color representations, keeping in mind, however, that all concrete stain projects are as unique as the chemical fingerprints of the slabs themselves.

  • Mendoza-Cipollo Family Chiropractic office, 3925 N First Ave, (Black • very old slab, formerly covered by carpet and tile. It is very hard to believe that this is black stain, and it is a good representation of the extremes that are possible with acid stain)
  • Vero Amore Restaurant, 3305 N Swan # 105 at Swan and Camp Lowell in the Basha’s shopping center (Cola and Black checker board, This is a good place to compare the Black effects with those achieved at the Mendoza-Chipollo Chiropractic office. The bathroom floors will also give you a good idea of how the “halo effect” appears on floors that have been previously tiled or otherwise covered. Adhesives and other chemicals used to adhere floor coverings to the concrete will have a marked effect on the appearance.
  • Backfire Chiropractic office, 330 E Prince Rd, (Overlay, saw-cut pattern, stained Black and Cola. It was resurfaced due to condition of slab beneath which was originally covered by carpet and vinyl, Very good example of texture levels which are expected with overlay)
  • The Nature Conservancy of Arizona, 1510 East Fort Lowell Road (Aqua Blue and Green Lawn, stained existing slab)
  • Dorado Designs Showroom, 12490 North Rancho Vistoso Blvd. (new slab, ground to expose aggregate, stained Black, the other areas stained Golden Wheat)
  • California Design Center, 3700 East Fort Lowell Road (exterior, Cola)
  • Beth Friedman Collection, 1865 East River Road, Suite 121 (stained existing slab, Malay Tan)
  • Ra Sushi, La Encantada Mall, 2905 East Skyline Drive (overlay with integral color)
    (Please note that most of the existing exterior concrete has also been stained in various colors.
    This work was done by our very good friends at Casa Custom Floor Care)
  • Studio C 11085 North Oracle, Oro Valley. (polished concrete, satin, with Malay Tan stain) This concrete was mechanically polished, as is, to a satin finish. A much higher level of shine is attainable. Note how the stain “highlights” trowel patterns and natural blemishes in the concrete.
  • Residential driveway, 8502 E Colette Street

It is also important to remember that, while we are unable to provide a listing of residential projects for obvious reasons, the majority of our staining and resurfacing projects are residential. We complete a minimum average of 18-36 stain and resurfacing projects per year.

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 272-0815 with any further questions or concerns you may have regarding your upcoming project. We look forward to hearing from you!