Concrete Countertop: staining and sealing

I’d lived with my concrete countertop unstained and unsealed for WAY too long. If I would have known how easy it was to stain and seal, I would have done it much sooner. I needed to do research, shop for the stain after I had done my research and verify that the sealer that I’d purchased back in December was the correct kind for the job that I was doing.

I watched a few YouTube videos and learned a few things:

  • I learned what the stain was going to look like going on and what it was going to look like when it dried
  • I learned that you can overlap and mix colors to add depth, similar to watercoloring
  • I learned that you apply it with a paint brush
  • I learned that you really can’t mess it up!

I’m calling this Concrete Day 3 because Concrete Day 1 and Concrete Day 2 were the skim coating and sanding days, which you can find in an earlier post.

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I had originally wanted to purchase a powder stain that is mixed with water. Home Depot didn’t carry concrete stain in powder form so I purchased it in liquid form. I’d also wanted to have a bit of green stain added to the terra cotta and brown, but Home Depot didn’t carry any green stain. You will see how I improvised on that below!

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I followed the instructions on the back of the bottles and added water. *Be careful when you’re shaking your bottles up, my bottle wasn’t completely sealed and I shook it a few times before I realized the seal wasn’t tight and it was leaking. If you get this stain on anything, it will not ever, ever, ever come out. I ruined my rug.

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This is what it looks like as you put it on. The concrete quickly soaks up the stain. There isn’t a magic amount that you should apply. Some areas of mine had puddled up. That’s okay! It doesn’t look particularly great when you’re applying it. After it dries you can assess whether you’d like to add more stain in certain areas. I finished the staining and waited a few hours to see what the results would be…

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I really did need green. I was sitting at my desk, brainstorming on how or where I could get green concrete stain without having to wait for an online delivery.

I came up with a brilliant idea. My boys play sports. They have white baseball pants. I am very familiar with “green stains!” I went to my yard, picked a few weeds and rubbed them on the concrete in the areas that I wanted green stain. Yep. I really used weeds to stain my countertop.

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All of the YouTube videos that I’d watched mentioned sanding after you’d stained. I didn’t want to sand my countertop and liked the stain and the imperfections just as they were. I thought that a buffing would be more appropriate, however I didn’t have anything to buff the countertop with. I stood there looking around my house for something to rub along the top of the countertop and found a paint can lid. I know this is going to sound strange, but I knew that the metal lid would add friction and a shine to the concrete. You could use a clean lid, I actually used a lid from a charcoal grey paint that I had been using in my sons room. You press down pretty hard with the lid and rub in all over the countertop. You will feel the heat coming through onto your hand. You can see that the lid creating shiny areas on the high spots of the concrete. I also like that it created another layer of color that I hadn’t intended on.

As much as I really liked the effects of this technique, the sealer actually covered up the shiny areas. So, the only benefit that I got from the paint can lid was the grey tone added to the countertop.

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I wanted to be sure that all of the moisture was dried up before applying the sealer. I let the stain dry for an entire day (24 hours) before I was confident that all of the moisture was out.

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Way back in December is when I’d decided to do concrete countertops. I purchased the concrete and the sealer and then flip-flopped with the idea a dozen times. While I was flip-flopping with the idea, I’d also done quite a few Google searches to see what other people had done. I know there are quite a few different kinds of concrete sealers out there. This is the one that I purchased.

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The instructions on the back of the bottle are really intimidating, or at least I thought so. I did wear gloves for part of the application, but I’d taken them off in between layers and during the second layer I forgot to put gloves back on. I got some on my hands and it was not a big deal, just wipe it off. It’s not like getting super glue on your hands, which is what I was most nervous about. *Do not let this drip onto your flooring. I have 2 dime-sized shiny spots on my flooring from drips of this sealer. If you do see a drip, wipe it up asap and everything will be fine. If you do not see the drip and it dries on the floor, you will have shiny spots that I’m not sure how to remove just yet.

Okay, here we go! Pour the mix into a disposable container. It looks like milk.

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The YouTube videos that I had watched showed the sealer being applied with a small roller. I used a paint brush. There are no paint brush strokes on my countertop. This goes on very similar to how milk would be painted on. After a few minutes, it turns white and becomes a little tacky. There are no air bubbles like with polyurethane. It literally is like milk.

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I let the first layer of sealer dry for about 1 hour. It was not fully dry prior to me putting on a second layer. The difference between the first application and the second time around was that during the second time around there were very few white marks. You can see that it only occurred on the corner during the second layer of sealant.

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I think I may have been okay to stop after the second layer of sealer, but it was addicting and I just kept applying more and more. I didn’t wait for the layers to dry prior to applying the next layers. This didn’t cause any issues with the look, however, similar to if you put 3-4 layers of nail polish on without letting each layer dry, it took a few days to fully cure / harden.

The finished product amazes me. (the glare is from the light fixture above)

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So…for $20 I purchased a laminate countertop. For $40 more dollars in product, I have a one-of-a-kind, weed stained, stone countertop!

Before / After

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