Some years back I saw my dad staining wood he was using to make a wishing well and wondered if I could stain the concrete statuary I make. So I did a bunch of research and testing to see what works and what didn’t. Here is what I came up with.
How To Stain Concrete Statues
The concrete statue must be cleaned well and depending upon the carrier used for the stain, either kept wet/damp or allowed to dry completely. Water-based stains will often perform best when the concrete is still somewhat wet, but be sure to follow the stain manufacturer’s directions. Stains in the solvent base will require the concrete to be fully dried which may take days or weeks according to its porosity and the ambient conditions.
If you’re going to use your own mixture of a natural waterborne stain, I’d suggest testing the stain before applying it to any visible surfaces to ensure it’s going to come out the way you want it to. Also, note that some stains are not UV or light stable so they will fade over time even if covered with a UV resistant sealer. Acid stains work well but come with the hazards of using acidic products and the necessity of neutralizing the acid prior to applying any type of sealer.
Applying the Stain
There are many different methods of applying stains such as ragging, blotting, brushing, spraying, rolling, etc. These methods apply to many different types of stains and can be used by themselves, or in combination to obtain the desired look.
Remember to use goggles, gloves and a dust mask while working with concrete acid stain. A respirator may be required for applications with poor ventilation. The appearance of the finished product is very much influenced by the manner in which the acid stain is applied. We recommend spraying the stain on the surface using an all-plastic pump sprayer. If a darker, more even tone is desired, brush the acid stain into the surface using consistent circular strokes.
If using a brush, spray on a second coat to eliminate any brush strokes on the surface unless that is the desired finish. Though new concrete may not always require a second coat of acid stain, older concrete does require two coats of stain for complete coverage. For a more diffuse look, spray the stain onto the surface without brushing.
That is pretty much it, after that its all on you to find the coloring you want. Amazon has some if you want to look around. I use this here, Unicorn Spit (link to Amazon) for some of my statues. Its all about personal preference.