×

How to Make Concrete Look Old

Old-looking concrete is quickly becoming all the rage in the trendier landscaping circles. Landscape architects such as San Francisco-based Richard William Wogisch see old concrete as an environmental and esthetically-pleasing alternative to new construction.Whatever your uses for old concrete, the good news is that it is relatively easy to make brand new concrete look old--and it takes almost no artistic talent.

Old-looking concrete is quickly becoming all the rage in the trendier landscaping circles. Landscape architects such as San Francisco-based Richard William Wogisch see old concrete as an environmental and esthetically-pleasing alternative to new construction. Whatever your uses for old concrete, the good news is that it is relatively easy to make brand new concrete look old--and it takes almost no artistic talent.

  1. Put your concrete piece in a place with good drainage and where it can be reached by a garden hose.

  2. Put on protective clothing, heavy gloves, eye protection and a breathing mask.

  3. Pour a quantity of hydrochloric acid into a glass dish. Do not breathe the fumes even with a breathing mask in place. Use a paint brush to brush the acid onto the concrete.

  4. Allow the acid to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Hose it off thoroughly with garden hose. Do not get acid/water on your clothing if possible.

  5. Inspect your concrete. If the acid has not etched it sufficiently for your needs, apply a second coat of acid and wash it off thoroughly after 10 minutes.

  6. Thin the rust-colored cement stain (available at most hardware stores) with water. Use a clean paint brush to streak the stain onto your acid-etched concrete in patterns that are pleasing to you. Start with just a light coating and allow to dry before adding additional stain.

  7. Tip

    Hose the acid off of your concrete thoroughly. Try not to get any of the acid/water mixture on your shoes or clothing. The addition of "rust stains" is not mandatory. Other colored stains may be used, or simply rubbing the acid-etched concrete with a wet mud and then washing it off may be sufficient for that "aged" look. NOTE: If hydrochloric acid is not available in your area, sulfuric acid (swimming pool acid) may be substituted. Simply add 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of sulfuric acid and stir carefully with a wooden spoon.

    Warning

    Do NOT touch hydrochloric or sulfuric acid with any part of your body. No NOT allow acids to come in contact with clothing (they will eat holes in clothing rather quickly). Do NOT breath acid fumes even through a breathing mask. Always wear eye protection. If acid gets into eyes or mouth wash with plenty of water and call poison control immediately.