Saga of the Acid Stained Concrete Counters

The acid staining of our concrete countertops seems to be a never ending saga, and today I was looking back through the blog and realized I haven’t actually talked much about the whole process. Let me start at the beginning…

Way back when, probably about a year ago we had concrete countertops made by Double P Construction (hubby’s construction co). There’s one long run with a deep farmhouse type sink and freeform backsplash, a small 2’x2′ countertop and an island top with a bar sink. If you look closely at the picture below you’ll see that the base of the counters, which are the future cabinets, have also been made with concrete. No bug whether termite or palmetto bug will enter these cabinets!

Concrete Counter

Concrete Counter Overview

Can you believe the kitchen in the image above used to be a bedroom!

Island Concrete Countertop

All of the counters were formed and poured upside down using foam to form out the sinks and then moved into place once cured. Not an easy feat to move these countertops!

Forming the Concrete Counters

Forming the Concrete Counters

Moving the Concrete Countertop

Moving the Island Top

Little did we know that would be the easy part. After the counters set long enough and put in place they were prepped for acid stain. Varying grits of diamond resin pads were used to open the pores and finish the surface for acid staining. When grinding concrete with diamond resin pads, you start with a low grit first and then move up through the higher grits to achieve a finer finish, similar to sanding wood. Every project is different so the grits used will depend upon the concrete mix used and the desired finish.

Once the concrete is polished/finished it’s time for the acid stain. I talked a bit about the color selection here. We decided to use English Red Kemiko Acid Stain on all of the counters and do kind of an ombre effect on the backsplash using three different colors. I combined 1 part stain to 1 part water for the English Red and applied the stain with a ome Depot spray bottle. Most directions say to let the stain react for 24 hours. I don’t remember how long I let it react the first time, but I just re-stained the counters and let it react for almost 24 hours and it was fine.

Acid Stained Island Top

Island top right after staining

Acid Stained Counter Close-up

Counter just after being stained

Concrete Backsplash

Backsplash right after staining

After allowing the proper reaction time the concrete needs to be neutralized. The first time I stained the counters I used a solution of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid. However, we ended up having a problem with the sealer adhering to the counters and one of the possible culprits were remnants of baking soda lodged in pinholes in the countertop. This time around I used a solution of ammonia and water; 1 part ammonia, 5 parts water. The solution needs to be rubbed onto the counter with a rag as if you were cleaning it, until color no longer comes off onto the rag. This process took a while for me. I started to get impatient so I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to try and speed up the process. It did work but I think I took off more color than necessary. I would recommend just using a rag and being really patient. It took me about 45 minutes to neutralize the counters. Once there is no longer color coming off on the rag rinse the counters with fresh water a few times to remove any residue.

Stay tuned for adventures in sealing the countertop!

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About designnsuch

I am a just turned thirty, diy maven in the midst of a major home renovation.
This entry was posted in Decorative Concrete, Kitchen, The Great Renovate and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Saga of the Acid Stained Concrete Counters

  1. Suzy Frame says:

    This looks like a lot of work! I have been wanting to put in some acid stain on my counters but my husband has said no! I didn’t know there was so much information that needs to be known and taken care of. Can you tell me where I can find more information like this?

    • designnsuch says:

      There’s quite a bit of info on the blog about decorative concrete. Acid staining is messy and you do need to follow the steps that I talked about in this post. Otherwise, just googling you’ll find a lot of info. The most important thing is finding the right sealer. Epoxy 1040 from Contractor Source worked for us. Another option is Soycrete for coloring concrete. The application process is much easier but I’ve heard the colors aren’t as vibrant. I used gray in our shower. If you google Soycrete you’ll find info about it. I talk about applying it in the shower in this post https://designnsuch.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/alternative-to-stone-and-tile-in-the-shower/. Good luck!

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