Staining Concrete Floors – A Step-by-Step Guide
Staining your first concrete floor
Compared to other flooring materials and methods, concrete hardscapes and floors offer significant advantages. Other materials can’t match up to the quality, sheen, and beauty of a finely stained floor. In addition, concrete floors are easily customized and thus more preferred than other materials. Concrete stains create a professional and aesthetically pleasing ambiance to otherwise boring, old concrete. It offers a myriad of unique choices for finishing. It is also a durable and effective solution with which you can achieve different results. Read along to understand how to stain concrete.
Staining old concrete
Be careful – many hobby stores recommend using acrylics as a stain. Acrylics are, quite frankly, just paint in disguise. Over time, acrylics peel off and look increasingly awful. They will end up costing you a lot more effort and money down the road.
A true concrete stain is a more permanent solution. It results in a truly beautiful floor, and it last you a long time. Choosing a true concrete stain over acrylic is simply a no-brainer.
A pure concrete stain can be compared to being as “real” as a wood stain is to wood.
The application of an acid stain is very vital in concrete staining because its chemical reactions cause a permanent change in the surface of the concrete.
Step 1: Check your existing concrete stain
As far as the concrete stain is not contaminated by grease, oil, or sealers, then it is time to stain! Before staining, check for anything that would prevent the staining agent from soaking into the concrete pores. To determine whether the concrete is suitable for staining, prep by pouring some water on the floor. Should the water soak in, you are good to go and should start prepping for staining. However, if you observe the water sitting on top of concrete, you’ll need to strip the sealer.
Step 2: Strip the concrete before it’s sealed
Before staining, you will need to remove the concrete seal. Xylol or Topline are widely considered to the best chemicals to use when dissolving the sealer before staining.
Place the Xylol or Touline (also known as Xylene) on the concrete and let it stay for at least 30 seconds. Scrub the surface with the sealer for with a stiff brush. To scrape off the sealer, use the painter’s shield to scrape it into a file and remove it later using a shovel.
When your concrete is sealed:
Pour more Xylene and repeat the procedure. It will remove all the remnants of the previous seal. When staining old concrete outside – for instance, staining an old concrete patio – wash the sealer off the edge of the pavement.
When your concrete floor has wax:
You will need a wax remover if the concrete floor has wax. Apply the floor wax remover on the floor and leave it for a minute to allow it time to react. Afterward, scrub it with a soft bristle brush and repeatedly mop your surface until you cannot locate any wax on the floor. It’s important to note that if you are removing both the sealer and the wax, you don’t have to remove each at a time: use Xylene, which will kill two birds with the same stone!
When you have grease, paints and other sticky stuff on the floor:
Sticky substances on the floor will require heavy-duty glue remover, a mastic remover, or a paint remover. Paint and glues can damage concrete floor staining. A renter floor sander will be required to sand the concrete slightly. A buffing machine with sand pads can also be used.
When you have grease and oil on the floor:
A degreaser and a stain prep for concrete floors are critical in this scenario. It will be difficult to identify grease or thin petroleum products on an old concrete surface. The best option, therefore, could be degreasing the surface. Concrete stain prep is a degreaser and a natural solvent. It helps in deep cleaning and lifting oily petroleum.
After applying and prepping the stain, leave it for at least 5 minutes. When heavy grease and oils on the surface are involved, leave the stain for 30 minutes, and then scrub the floor with a stiff straw brush. When dealing with a large compound, it recommended you rent a floor buffing machine fit with aggressive stripping pads.
You are ready to move to the next stage once the floor is rinsed and dry.
Step 3: Test the old concrete
Before applying the concrete stain in the entire room, test in a small part. Do an acid staining on a few square inches to get an idea of the final look. If the stain does not work, it might not be up to the task and will, therefore, not work well.
Step 4: Stain the concrete
In this process, you clean and prep your concrete as previously outlined, then apply the stain and let it sit for an appropriate amount of time and neutralize. The process will be the same, even if you are staining a stamped concrete.
Since some old concrete is weathered, the process might take more time. Outdoor staining is more engaging and will take more time than indoor staining. The stain coverage can be reduced up to 20% (even up to 50%), depending on how rough, old, and porous the receiving material is.
Step 5: Seal the concrete
After staining your concrete, it is not mandatory to seal, but it is essential and highly recommended. Applying the sealer helps maintain the appearance of the concrete floor. Water-based sealers are much better compared to a solvent-based sealer.
The water-based sealer is based on a skinny coat. Apply a coat from north to south, then from east to west, and look for patchy spots. Smooth the coat by applying additional coats. Floor wax application is recommended after the sealer has cured for a day, at least.
Sum it all up
Acid staining offers a luxurious richness which no other coloring resource can offer. The stain will not simply lay on the surface, giving an beautiful opaque effect on your floor, but also penetrates the pores of your concrete offering a clear tone. It provides a different dimension to the final product.
Staining acid can provide a long term, low maintenance solution which makes your surfaces look amazing. To get the right quality, however, learn on the proper mixing of the chemicals. An poor mix will offer unpredictable results. Carefully consider between hiring a contractor and doing the work by yourself to get the best result that suits your needs. (If you’re in the Oklahoma area, we recommend OKC Concrete Masters for all things Concrete Staining OKC!)
If you have an old concrete floor, don’t be afraid to stain it!