I've seen recommendations to wait a full 28 days or so after the pour before acid staining. How critical is this? What are the downsides to staining earlier?

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The only thing would be is penetration + major color distortion,... Stains not reaching there capabilities of dark.
I've stained next day after baking in sun on wall panels with no real change. Early staining is ok with our high cement mixes. You try this on a floor or patio,... You'll get nearly zero color.

Yeah, that's what I was kind of thinking. Most of these stains have recommendations with flooring in mind which will have several inches of thickness and the inability to dry except mainly through the one exposed side.

I'm hesitant to dye or acid stain after being cast in fear of ruining the top, though. I may end up leaving it white.

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