How to Stain a Concrete Countertop | How I Stained My Concrete Countertop
So you’re thinking about staining some concrete huh?
Did you land on this little blog because you typed into google “how to stain a concrete countertop?” Or maybe you came from Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram… OR! Maybe you hopped over from this post about how I poured my own concrete countertops (and the disaster that ensued!)
Well… you’re in luck, because I just so happen to have finished staining a concrete countertop a few weeks ago! (To preface this blog post I want you to know I am not a professional. I am simply a house flipper/landlord who has tried staining a concrete countertop and loved the results so much I’m sharing how you can do it too. )
What’d I wind up staining? I stained my DIY concrete vanity I made for the rental apartment above the garage! It was originally a white concrete and I used a grey (aka “Ebony”) stain in varying ratios mixed with water. You can definitely use more colors and I actually kind of wish I did!
So let’s fast forward through the whole making the forms thing and pouring the concrete thing and start with me staring at freshly cured concrete ready to stain it.
So we’re ready to stain the concrete.
And I’m standing in front of this freshly poured concrete countertop with a cup of what looks like black water.
And it occurs to me.
I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.
Never in my life have I ever stained concrete and here I am with four containers of ebony dye and water mixed in varying ratios (to get variations of the color) pretending like I’m about to create a masterpiece.
And the whole situation was my fault. The company that sponsored my first ever sponsored post about pouring concrete countertops encouraged me to do a test piece before I attempted the actual countertop.
I actually had all good intentions of making a 2×2 test countertop like they suggested but we wound up skipping it for two reasons.
First, upon delivery of the concrete, one of the bags was literally pouring out concrete and I was worried we wouldn’t enough.
Secondly, thanks to all the issues with the apartment remodel, the deadline to rent it out and start making money kept getting pushed back. But I wasn’t too concerned about not pouring a test piece because the boyfriend has “worked with concrete before” (famous last words, check out this post to read about the disastrous experience we had the second time around.) However, even though he had worked with concrete before he had never stained it. So it was totally up to me to figure out how to go about staining it.
My last thought before I put paint brush tip to concrete was “can’t I just keep it white?” While I love how the counter came out after I stained it, a small part of me wishes we had left it white. The counter by itself looks great, but unfortunately the grey stain they sent and the grey in the shower tiles don’t match. The shower tile is grey grey and the stain is more of a blue grey. We’ve gotten nothing but compliments on the concrete and it looks great so I’m not dwelling on this fact. We also rented out the apartment in 5 days to people who moved in just one week later so I’m incredibly happy.
How I Stained My Concrete Counter
First, I made 4 different variations of the dye (I only used one color) by adding water to dilute the stain. I had no clue how much water to add so I just did one with a ratio of 1:1 and one with a ratio of 1:2 and one with a ratio of 1:3… you get the idea. It’s really totally up to you how you want the color variations to look.
I wanted the counter to resemble the wall tile so I picked a tile in the shower that I felt like I could mimic. I started by drawing really thin light squiggly lines with a super thin paint brush the whole way through the counter in a couple different directions while making sure to bring it through the edges of the countertop too!
Then I sponged on the lightest grey over the entire top and edges. I allowed it to start drying for a few minutes before I started sponging on the darker of the dyes. I just kept playing around with it until I thought it looked good! Then I let it sit (the longer you let the dye sit before wiping the darker it gets) until it looked completely dry and wiped the top with a wet rag. The wiping fades the colors quite a bit but also blends them together for a more natural look.
I still didn’t like the look after this initial staining and wiping so I did it again. This time I also used a few bigger brushes and flicked the paint off the brushes onto the counter to make it look splotchy. (Watch out for walls! That stuff STAINS.)
After I did some splattering and added more veins I let the countertop dry and wiped it off again, hoping that it would look like the tile in the shower. Would you believe it, I still didn’t like the way it came out (and at this point is where I was wishing I had multiple colors to try!) so I did the whole process again for a third time.
I liked the outcome after my third attempt at staining the counter… but it goes to show you (and me!) that you can’t really mess up dying a concrete countertop – so go for it!
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