I need to stain my concrete pool deck. Are there products and methods you can recommend, other than acid?

Asked by William J Moyer
Pensacola, FL

I have a concrete pool deck that has never been stained or sealed, and I am about to do that now. I am wondering if there are products and methods you can recommend. I would like to stay away from acid stains but I don't want something that will peel in a few months or a couple of years.


Cynthia Phakos

Answered by Cynthia Phakos

Los Angeles, CA

Koffka Phakos Design

October 14, 2011

With the shift in the construction industry to sustainable methods and materials, new products and methods are now available, which are safer to use. 

  • These products are mostly water-based penetrating stains or solvent-based concrete dyes.
  • They have an expanded palette of colors ranging from soft pastels to vivid reds, oranges, yellows, and purples.


EcoProcote, a company based in Phoenix, Arizona, manufactures a line of environmentally compliant finishes made from soy. 

  • Their base is Soy-Ester (soy oil), which is not only a natural material, but is taken out of the waste stream from the residue of soy used for making Vitamin E.
  • The Soy-Ester replaces the petroleum based solvents which were used for their greater penetration characteristics. Soy-Ester provides the same penetration properties while being 100% bio-degradable, non-hazardous and ultra-low VOC’s.
  • It is also UV resistant and won’t fade or chip. 

SoyCrete, their bio-based semi-transparent penetrating concrete stain, is acid-free and ultra-low VOC (<25g/l).

  • It comes in a variety of colors with the appearance of an acid stain, but with more consistency. It is also easier to control and faster to install. As the process itself is not chemical, there is no waiting for the results.
  • One can easily mix colors to achieve the desired coloration and variation, with colors ranging from natural in appearance (sandstone, beige, and leather brown) to more vibrant blues and reds.

Preparing the concrete for staining

The more porous your concrete is, the better stains and sealers will adhere to the concrete. 

  • To check the porosity, drop water on the concrete at several locations and see how long it takes for the concrete to absorb it. The faster the concrete absorbs the water, the more porous it is.
  • Should the water sit on the surface, you will need to prepare the concrete.  EcoProcote carries a product, Eco-Etch Pro, which is a water-based, noncorrosive, biodegradable concentrate concrete etching and cleaning solution.
  • Eco-Etch Pro is ideal for preparing interior or exterior concrete for optimum penetration and adhesion of stains and sealers. It also removes dirt, clay, rust, and efflorescence.

If there are no issues with your concrete’s porosity, you might then choose a surface cleaner, such as EcoProcote’s Soy-It All-Purpose Degreaser. Once the surface is dry, you can apply the concrete stain, SoyCrete.

Installing SoyCrete

This comes by the gallon but also is available in 2-oz. test cans. A colorant is added to the mix.  It can be applied manually with a cloth or a squeegee, but for larger areas you might find a floor buffer more convenient. 

  • As it is a penetrating stain, multiple colors can be worked achieving a layered appearance and with a variety of applicator tool choices and sprayers a variety of textures.
  • A video showing installation can be seen here.

When you are satisfied with the color and variation, you can seal it with EcoProcote’s Acri-Soy Sealer.

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