How To Stain Concrete Floors – The Easy Way

Feb 10th, 2010

concretestain8Imagine if I shared with you that you could take that unappealing, cold, gray concrete floor and transform it into a thing of beauty which receives praise from friends, family, or customers, would this interest you? Epoxy flooring is an alternative, but staining is usually a practical solution. Imagine if I told you that you are able to do the staining yourself for under $.50 per sq/ft? By simply showing you how to stain concrete floors I am going to provide you with an easy and low-cost solution to turn your eyesore concrete into a wonderful masterpiece. With stained concrete floors you can have the durability and ease of cleaning concrete is famous for, with the design of stone or marble.

The name “stained concrete” may give off the drastically wrong impression on how the entire process works. You are not in fact staining your concrete, but utilizing a combination of acid, metallic salts, along with other materials to result in a chemical reaction which changes the composition (and color) of the concrete. Be warned of imitators which tell you they are stains but they are really just film. These films are in many ways like paint for the concrete, but will not necessarily last as long or look as well as a genuine concrete stain.

Part one of this particular concrete staining guide will cover everything required to do to get your concrete ready to accept the stains. This consists of getting your supplies and equipment, trying out the stain, repairing imperfections on the floor, as well as cleaning the area.

Prior to starting your project you’ll want to have all of the required materials for the job. Just about all of these items can be bought or rented at reasonable costs.

Concrete Staining Equipment Check List

    1. Protection for eyes, mouth, feet, arms, and legs. We will be using a mild acid here, so it’s important to have the appropriate protection. Goggles along with a face mask are a must. Additionally it is recommended that you should wear gloves, long pants, along with a long shirt. The stain is not going to do any major damage if you get it on your arms or legs, however you will know it right away if it comes in contact with your skin.

    2. Scraper, quick dry concrete, wire brush or some other method to remove stains. All of your imperfections are likely to show through even after the stain is applied. These items are to help you get your floor ready to receive the acid stain. In the event that your concrete is brand new you can most likely skip these items.

    3. Painters tape and paper or plastic covering. You will need to protect your baseboard, and lower portion of the wall with these items.

    4. Broom. This can be used for cleaning the floor and evening out the solution on the floor.

    5. Wet vac. This will be used for cleaning the floor and getting rid of excess liquid from the concrete.

    6. Sprayer. This is the recommend approach to apply the acid stain.

    7. Paint tray and roller. This will be used to apply the sealer.

    8. Acid concrete stain. Enough to cover desired area.

    9. Sealer. This will protect your concrete stain and can enhance the best colors.

    10. Acrylic floor wax. This is going to make your floor look wonderful as well as help it become incredibly easy to maintain.

It is very important to be aware that any concrete which already has a sealer or curing agents on it will not be stain-able. While cleaning the floor DO NOT use an acid wash, due to the fact that this will result in a reaction with the top layer of your floor, and eliminates the ability to stain the concrete.

The first thing you should do is test the colors that you’re considering using. Since stained concrete is the effect of a chemical reaction, the outcome will be different for every unique concrete floor. The color charts supplied by the manufacturers are only guides, so you should see for yourself the way it will appear on your floor. You will typically be capable of getting samples from the manufactures prior to make a purchase. Find an area which is out of view (a closet is perfect), and thoroughly clean the area. Once the concrete is completely dry box off the area you are going to be testing with tape. Using a sponge, apply a 1:1 diluted solution of the acid concrete stain and water. Ensure that you label each and every sample so you don’t get them mixed up.

Allow the test areas to dry for at least three hours before you come back to check on them. Clean off any kind of remaining residue using a wet sponge. Once the areas are clean and wet you will be able to get a good idea of what they will truly resemble once the procedure is finished. If you like what you see it’s high time to move forward with the project.

The initial step of preparing your concrete for staining should be to vacuum around the edges of your walls. After that tape and plastic off your walls as well as door frames.

The next step is repairing the concrete floor. For those who have new concrete this part is going to be a breeze. For those who have old concrete with plenty of cracks and stains, this will most likely be one of the most difficult tasks. After applying the acid concrete stain on the concrete you are going to still be able to see any cracks, stains, or other flaws which were already on the floor. Consider how the grain and knots of wood look after it is stained. This really is very similar with concrete staining. In the event that your concrete is new, or in excellent shape, you can skip to the cleaning stage.

Hairline cracks can add character for the final product, however anything more substantial needs to be filled. To get this done, start by vacuuming the crack to remove all debris. After that fill the crack with concrete glue, and allow it to set. After the glue has set fill the crack with anchoring cement and allow it to dry. Scrape off any high spots and sand down the new concrete until it’s even. Continue doing this process until all undesirable cracks are fixed.

Scrape off any kind of imperfections and remove any unwanted stains. CLR works well to get rid of rust stains, and Glue-B-Gone could be used to remove any carpet glue that may be still around. If a stain is being problematic you might have to utilize a wire brush to get rid of it.

Now you will need to give the area a complete washing. Scrub the floor using a TSP and water blend (1 cup TSP to 4 gallons of water). With your wet vac suck up all of the water and rinse your floor with water that is clean. Once your floor is completely dry you will need to go over it using a vacuum once more to make sure all debris is removed. Prior to applying the stain you will need to make certain the concrete is completely dry, so it is best to leave it overnight.

Now, once you have picked the right stain for your project, we finally arrive at the fun part; the right way to apply acid stain to concrete floors.

A very important factor you should keep in mind before you decide to get started is that you will be working with a low strength acid. It’s not very hazardous, but you should protect your arms, legs, and especially your eyes. It’s also wise to wear a face mask so you don’t breathe in the fumes. When picking out clothing to use for the job don’t opt for anything you have become fond of, because there will likely be some damage done to these items.

concretestain1Applying the stain to your concrete floor is in fact the simplest aspect of this sort of project. You need to dilute your acid concrete stain with water, using a 1:1 ratio. I prefer to use a bucket for any mixing after which I fill the sprayer from the bucket. In a perfect world, the application process should be a two person job. One person will spray on the concrete stain, while another follows behind using a broom to scrub in the solution.

While applying the concrete acidconcretestain2 stain it’s going to make life much simpler (and get much better results) if you put it on using a systematic approach. Begin at the back of your area. The individual controlling the sprayer will spray on the solution while the individual controlling the broom follows behind scrubbing it into the concrete. The broom will leave brush strokes, so as soon as you get midway finished with your current length the sprayer needs to go back over that area and apply another coat. Doing this will eliminate any kind of trail or brush strokes, and provide you a natural and consistent look.

Since you don’t want the edges to dry you need to proceed end to end in a “typewriter” fashion. This simply means that you simply start at the left side of the room, work your way towards the right side of the room, and start the next “level” working from the right side towards the left. Make sure to always go over each area with a second coat to get rid of the marks the broom leaves behind. Continue doing this process until you stain all of the concrete.

When you are finished you should let the area dry. The amount of time will fluctuate subject to which brand of concrete stain you use.

After the appropriate reaction time you will need to clean the floor using a combination of baking soda and water. This will neutralize the acid (this just means it’s going to stop the reaction), and will remove any residue which may still be on your freshly stained concrete floor. One person needs to go over the floor entirely with a mop and bucket (filled with the baking soda and water solution), while another follows behind using a wet vac to suck up all of the dirty water. It is crucial that neither people step on the un-neutralized area, as this will likely leave foot prints on the floor. Let this dry for a bit and clean the floor 1-2 more times for the best results. You will observe that when the floor dries it’ll look a little chalky. Don’t be worried about this as the floor will only reach its full potential after the sealer is put on.

After this step is completed, your work for the day is complete. You’ll want to let the stained concrete floor dry completely overnight. It is advisable to use fans to make certain the floor is dry ahead of coming back tomorrow to apply the sealer.

concretestain3The sealer should be quite simple to put on. The most crucial part is that you utilize a sealer that’s meant to work hand in hand together with your brand of concrete stain. Put the sealer in a paint pan and roll it onto your floor. Let it completely dry (read the manufacturer’s label regarding drying time) and apply another coat. After the initial coat is on you will observe how the colors of the floor have become much richer and fuller, this is the stained concrete result which you have been working so hard to obtain. When the final coat of the sealer is completely dry it’s now safe to walk on and return furniture to the room.

If you’d like an addition amount of protection for the stained concrete, and also make it easier to clean, it’s suggest that you add 3-4 coats of a floor finish. Floor finish is a wax that adds an additional layer of protection for your stained concrete floor, while making it look great and allowing for easy clean ups. The floor finish applies very easily, just spill it over the floor and spread it about with an applicator. Let each coat dry for approximately an hour or so prior to applying the next one.

Now that you know how to stain concrete floors… what are you waiting around for!? This really is an easy, inexpensive, as well as effective way to turn those unsightly, dull, and boring concrete floors into something you will be happy to show other people.

Here are a few samples:
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