Blending Acid Stain Colors
What is the best way to apply two colors of acid stain? Does it matter whether the light or dark color is applied first?
The two most common methods for applying multiple colors of acid stains are "wet on wet" and "wet on dry." Both methods produce dramatic color effects that can take a basic stain job to the next level. With the wet-on-wet method, one color is applied on top of the other while both colors are still wet. This method results in a softer edge where the two (or more) stain colors meet. Usually the lighter color is applied first, than the darker color is sprayed or brushed in and around the first color. Be aware that the darker acid stain will overpower the lighter counterpart, so less is more when blending dark into light.
With the wet-on-dry method, the applicator allows the first stain to cure completely (typically a minimum of 5 hours) before applying the second color. This process produces more distinct, hard edges where the two colors meet. The lighter stain colors are typically applied first, and care is taken not to stain the entire floor, but just random sections. The second color fills in the empty areas while overlapping the lighter base color.
As with the wet-on-wet staining method, darker stain colors will overpower the lighter colors. A little goes a long way. As with any acid stain project, apply a sample on the actual floor before starting the job to ensure proper color and aesthetics. Bob Harris' Guide to Interior Stained Concrete Floors has more detailed information on working with multiple colors of acid stain.
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Author Chris Sullivan, ConcreteNetwork.com technical expert and vice president of sales and marketing for ChemSystems Inc.