Outdoor Concrete Paint Versus Acid Stain

Painted Concrete Pool Deck

Concrete Paint on a Pool Deck

Outdoor concrete paint and acid stain are among the possibilities for enhancing the appearance of a patio, driveway, walkway, or pool deck. While some people think these two options are similar, in fact, they are quite different. To understand how outdoor concrete paint is unique from acid stain, consider the following comparisons.

Comparing Concrete Paint and Concrete Acid Stain

Although some people prefer outdoor concrete paint, the majority love the benefits associated with acid stain. Especially when using a quality product, like SunAcid, the outcome is incredible.

It is important to understand how outdoor concrete paint works versus acid stain. With paint, only the surface of the concrete is covered, which adds a layer of protection from damage. Once concrete is painted, it has an opaque appearance, meaning that none of the features of the concrete show through. With this option, you have a choice of beautiful colors. When properly applied, the paint will last a long time without chipping or peeling and can also help to hide imperfections in concrete and patch work.

In comparison, acid stain actually permeates the surface and interacts with different components of the concrete. This creates more of a translucent appearance. With outdoor concrete paint, you get the exact aesthetic every time, whereas with acid stain, every project has a unique outcome. In other words, if 10 patios had the same color of acid stain applied, they would share that color but feature different effects.

The Prep and Application Process

There is more prep work involved with outdoor concrete paint. Before applying paint, the concrete surface is cleaned using a special product that eliminates grease and oil. Next, roughing up of the surface is necessary to enhance bonding and adhesion.  Sometimes muriatic acid is applied to etch and remove any curing compounds left on the concrete surface. The concrete is then coated or painted which also helps prevent moisture penetration.

While a water-based stain is available, acid stain has long been the preferred choice for outdoor applications. As far as prep work, acid stain is very different. Prior to the application of acid stain, the surface should be cleaned and dry.  The acid will inherently etch the surface for a final clear coat if desired.