How to Score and Acid Stain a Concrete Slab Porch or Patio

Scoring lines and acid staining a concrete porch or patio can really serve to dress it up and give your outdoor space a more finished look. Here’s how to go about it.

Using circular saw to score grooves in concrete.

Score Lines in Concrete Slab

    1. Decide on a scoring pattern for the concrete slab.
    1. Layout the pattern on the concrete using a chalk line.
    1. Equip a circular saw with a diamond tipped masonry blade, and set the depth of cut on the saw to 1/4” deep.
    1. Score the lines in the concrete using a straight board or piece of plywood as a guide for the saw. Be sure to wear eye protection and a dust mask when scoring concrete.
  1. Rinse the concrete slab with a garden hose to remove the dust.

Staining concrete porch.

Acid Stain Concrete Slab

    1. Clean the concrete thoroughly with a scrub brush to remove any dirt or oil and rinse off any residue with a garden hose.
    1. Cover any surrounding surfaces to prevent damage to unstained areas.
    1. Spray the slab down lightly with water from a garden hose to dampen the concrete.
    1. Pour an acid stain, such as Quikrete Etching Stain, into a pump-up sprayer. Be sure to wear protective clothing and goggles, and follow all safety instructions on the container.
    1. Apply the acid stain evenly to the concrete slab, using a piece of plywood to keep the stain off unwanted areas.
    1. Allow the acid stain to remain on the concrete overnight.
    1. Once the stain has remained on the concrete for the recommended amount of time, apply a mixture of baking soda and water with a scrub brush to neutralize the acid in the stain.
    1. Use a wet-dry vacuum to remove any acid stain and baking soda residue.
  1. When the concrete has dried, apply a finish such as Quikrete Etching Stain High Gloss Sealer to protect the stained surface and give the concrete a finished look the job.

Watch this video to find out more.

Stained concrete porch.

Further Information


  1. Dear Sir,

    One question please. Instead of using a dry wet-vacum to remove the residue of acid stain and baking soda, can I use a hose to rinse it off?

    Percy Shroff

  2. Percy,
    The manufacturers directions say to vacuum or mop up the residue. I’m not sure of the specifics but I think the idea is not to contaminate the surrounding vegetation with the neutralized stain.

  3. Do you have to use the sealer on the acid stain? I have used an epoxy on a different project & it created a problem with condensation on the concrete.
    I don’t want to “block” the porosity of this concrete & cause this issue on the patio.

  4. Deborah,
    The manufacturer could answer that question probably better than me. We had an issue or two while shooting this piece and QUKRETE’s toll free helpline(found on the packaging) was staffed by incredibly knowledgeable folks who resolved our problems quickly. That said, I don’t think the sealer is a must but it does protect and enrich the color the stain creates. Because this sealer soaks into the concrete instead of coating over it, there seem to be fewer moisture issues but the folks at QUIKRETE could give you a better answer.

  5. I want to Score and Acid Stain my Concrete Slab Patio. But the patio has a crack in it. I saw your video on “How to Repair Cracks and Resurface a Concrete Driveway” would I be ale to score and acid stain the Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer after it is applied?

  6. Lori, I know you can score it after it’s been resurfaced because we’ve done it on the show in the past. The acid stain I’m not as sure about….it seems that it should work but I would certainly ask the folks at QUIKRETE…. The helpline we used while shooting the front porch project was 1-800-458-0047…Valspar actually manufactures the coatings for QUIKRETE so they manage this call center…but hopefully they can discuss how their products interact with the QUIKRETE re-surfacer. Good Luck!

  7. Dear Mr Scott

    Could you please help me to consult me about shooting discolor on epoxy floor by acid residue.
    with many thanks and regards!

  8. The acid stains will only work on concrete that has not be sealed already, so if it’s coated with an epoxy sealer the stain won’t work correctly.

  9. we bought a house that the basement floor had already been stained a solid color. we like the looks of the acid stains. how can we remove the stain in order to acid stain the floor a different color?

  10. Once the neutralizer has been put on, the slab has a faded look to it just like your video. My first question is…did you rinse off the front porch at anytime before adding the sealer or just put it on top of the porch after vaccuming off the excess…and secondly, how long should you wait before adding the sealer once the front porch is competely dry (like mine is at this exact point)

  11. Joan- In order to apply the acid stain you would have to strip all of the old solid stain off….not sure what product to use for that or how successful it would be?
    Scott- I did rinse it again with clean water….I think the vacuuming just keeps the neutralized acid run-off from damaging the surrounding vegetation. It seems like I waited a day or so to be absolutely sure the concrete was dry before adding the sealer.

  12. I need to fix cracks on a concrete deck around my pool then possibly stain it with this product. Will this work?

  13. Starting a small front entry concrete slab. There is a small hairline crack that will go through my cuts. I’m a painting contractor by trade and first thing that came to mind was clear caulking. Thought, being very careful and clean as I do on epoxy floors might be the ticket or should I mix a small batch of quickcrete patch. I’m afraid of turning the crack into a sore…. Thank You…


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