How to Acid Etch a Concrete Surface for Epoxy?

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This post was most recently updated on May 10th, 2024

I am Scott Paul, a leading exterior paver restoration contractor and business owner with over 30 years of experience in sealing and protecting. For info about who I am, please read my full bio here.

Acid Etch a Concrete Surface Update

How To Acid Etch Concrete Floor

How To Acid Etch Concrete Floor

Important Note: Always take precautions when planning acid etching on your concrete floor! Improper use could cause damage to both the surface and your body.

When etching a concrete garage or floor, it is best not to use aggressive acids like Hydrochloric or Muriatic acid, but a milder concentrated acid solution that produces a light etch. These concentrated solutions typically use a mild acid (phosphoric) to lightly etch the surface of your new epoxy coating. Using a milder acid instead of muriatic acid gently increases the porosity of the surface without damaging the substrate, thereby allowing better adhesion of the Epoxy Coating.

Using a Milder Acid For Etching Advantages:

  • Concentrated
  • There is less chance of damage to skin, body, and concrete surface
  • Easier to use
  • Better penetration/adhesion for your new coating

How I Acid Etch Garage Floors for Epoxy

Tools Needed

  • Acid Proof Pump Sprayer
  • Nylon Scrub Brush
  • Protective Gloves Rubber
  • Protective Eyewear
  • Protective Shoes, typically rubber
  • 5- Gallon Pail for Mixing
  • A Pressure Washer or High-Pressure Rinsing Tip

Prepping the Surface

Remove all items from the garage floor. Use a household broom to sweep the entire garage floor thoroughly. All dirt particles and debris should be swept off the floor.

Previously coated surfaces: Acid Etch Solutions will not work on previously sealed, painted, or coated surfaces. If your garage has been previously sealed, painted, or coated, a diamond grinder or shot blaster is recommended to remove those coatings and rough the surface.

Oil or Grease Stained Floors: If your concrete floor has oil or grease on it, use a cleaner or degreaser a few times and then follow the etching directions.

Mixing Acid Etch Instructions
The concentrated acid solution must be diluted with water before use. Mix 1 part cleaning solution with four parts water. Surfaces with very low porosity may require a more concentrated dilution (1 to 2 parts water).

Application of Acid Etch
Dampen the surface with clean water. Apply the material with an acid-proof pump sprayer and scrub with a nylon brush. Do not allow it to dry on the substrate. Once cleaning is complete, pressure wash or scrub the surface with a neutralizer such as cleaner/degreaser or baking soda (1 Cup to 1-gallon) and rinse with clean water, rinsing away all cleaning solution. Let the substrate dry completely before proceeding with the application of a coating or stain.

Take Precautions
Do not mix with other products. Use protective gloves and safety glasses when handling. Avoid contact with eyes and prolonged contact with skin. Do not take it internally.

Clean tools with water

Prepping your concrete floor with an Acid Etch Solution is easy and does not require a lot of skill or experience, but it’s very important to follow the proper steps so there is no damage to your concrete or your body. Take precautions, follow the appropriate steps, and your new Epoxy Coating will last many years!

Tips Acid Etch a Concrete Surface

Do you have any questions about using an Acid Etch to Prep your Epoxy? If so, please ask below.

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Scott Paul ~ Restoring Concrete Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993, he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash, specializing in exterior pressure washing and concrete/brick paver sealing. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter, concentrating more on exterior wood and concrete/paver restoration. Scott and his Pressure Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 projects in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the concrete and brick pavers restoration industry and has contributed to numerous forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold online and in retail stores, allowing consumers to choose their means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites sell many of the top brands he endorses, and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered, feel free to purchase from one of them.

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Jamie Long
Jamie Long
1 year ago

If etching a basement floor with no floor drain, what is the best way to rinse/ clean up the acid solution once etching is complete?

1 year ago

The acid etch has to be rinsed off over oxide coloured concrete. Might it damage the oxide coloured concrete?

2 years ago

Do I need to etch a new clean concrete garage floor

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