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Acid Stained Concrete. Still Relevant in 2021?

Craftsman Concrete

Acid Stained Concrete

Acid-stained concrete is the most enduring and iconic decorative concrete installation. Truly, when most people think of concrete floors acid stain is what they envision. Why?

  • Acid-stained concrete is the oldest decorative concrete installation. It’s at least 100 years old.
  • Acid stain is easy to install and requires relatively little equipment, especially compared to more modern techniques like polished concrete.
  • Acid-stained concrete is inexpensive. In the right circumstances, prices as low as $3.00 a foot are not uncommon.

And yet… acid-stained concrete is one of the least common floors we install—leading us to ask ‘is acid-stained concrete relevant in home design for 2021 and beyond?’

Rock-Cut Concrete

Acid Stain Aesthetics

Clearly, there are things to love about acid-stained concrete. But there’s one big thing standing in its way… and unfortunately, that’s the way it looks. Acid stain only comes in warm earthy tones. There’s no way to install gray acid stain. 

Modern residential heavily favors cool color palettes for flooring, and nearly all modern homes are looking for gray concrete installs. 

Moving Beyond Acid Stain

Given these limitations, there has to be a better alternative, right?

Well, yes and no.

There are alternatives, but acid stain still offers some benefits that are hard to get from other types of installs, including:


Often referred to as dyes, this new category of concrete stain comes in a nearly endless amount of colors. Here’s a link to some color charts.

However, unlike acid stains, these pigments aren’t UV stable, so they cannot be used outside.


Polished concrete floors add up to over 90% of our residential installs. They’re all the rage in residential flooring right now. They’re simply more versatile and attractive than any type of stained concrete floor, including acid stain.

When to Install Acid Stain

Earlier we said there are some benefits to acid-stained concrete that are difficult to come by elsewhere, so here it goes:


Although acid stain can be a very specific aesthetic, they haven’t endured this long for no reason. This install works by a chemical reaction that physically and permanently alters the color of concrete. Meaning acid stain can be a great install in exterior living spaces that will be exposed to the elements. Also, most customers find the color palette to be less limiting for outdoor spaces as well.


While many designers may not be willing to admit it, acid stain does look good in black. In the right setting, it has a nice, modern aesthetic—especially in more industrial spaces. Further, it’s quite unpractical to achieve a black floor with other techniques. It simply takes too much concrete dye to color a floor black.

There’s so Much More To Learn About Stained Concrete Floors

If you’re unfamiliar with the types of stained concrete floors, check out our page styles of stained concrete. For project-specific advice or information, please schedule a free design consultation.