Many comments, instructions, warnings, and confused looks surround the numerous ways acid stain colors can fluctuate from one concrete slab to another. Even under the tightest quality controls, concrete reacts with chemical stains differently every time. However, the sometimes-unpredictable reactions are exactly what produce the interesting and beautiful results one can achieve from acid stains.
On this particular project, Marvin Dodson used his Rare Earth Labs concentrated concrete stains to color the two concrete foundation slabs placed side by side at a hotel complex. These slabs support two two-story complexes, and even though they may have been placed within a weeks time of each other, by the same contractor, with concrete from the same ready-mix plant, the pictures illustrate how stain colors can and will change from slab to slab as easily as a sunset’s color each evening. Because these floors do not intersect with each other nor are they visible by the same person at any given place, they were gladly preapproved by the customer and designer, having been pre-warned about the sometime erratic nature of acid stain. They were even flexible enough to change the wall color to complement the stained floors.
The key to achieving the look you want and eliminate surprises is to test, test, test. Rare Earth has developed a test kit that includes a generous supply of each color for just that purpose. Marvin highly recommends this to each of his customers and also emphasizes the importance of educating the customer about the nature of acid stains before they are used on a job. Remember, much of the beauty and appreciation in stained concrete is the so-called unknown, natural variegated look that the stains produce in contrast to other floor coverings. This can be easily achieved with a little testing, practice, imagination and the willingness to be a little flexible regarding the outcome.