Tips For Staining Concrete

Recently, we touched on the topic of decorative concrete floors ideas, one of which being stained concrete floors. Staining is such a broad topic we thought we’d touch on it again, as it is the most popular method for enhancing both residential and commercial concrete floors concrete floors due to its high versatility, the fact that it can be applied to new or old concrete as well as overlays, and the permanency of the decorative solution. Additionally, we’d like to offer some tips for ensuring you get the job done right.

First, let’s review what staining concrete entails before we get into the nitty-gritty. Concrete staining occurs when a solution of water (for water-based stains) and hydrochloric or phosphoric acid (for acid-based stains) is mixed with metallic salts. With water-based stains, the pigment is simply deposited into concrete’s natural pores, but with acid-based stains, the acid eats away at the concrete to make way for the metallic salts to come through and chemically react with the concrete.  

Now that we’ve briefly reviewed, as promised, we’d like to offer you some tips to ensure you achieve the best results when staining concrete.

1.  Ensure you properly clean the area of any unwanted residue or contaminants before you begin the process of actually applying stain to concrete. Stains aren’t as forgiving as other decorative concrete floors options. Meaning, anything left on the surface prior to the stain being applied will likely show up. To avoid this, take your time to make sure you’ve removed all imperfections.

2.  Carefully tape-off the area in which you are staining in order to make sure the stain doesn’t affect any area you don’t want it to. As mentioned above, concrete stains aren’t so forgiving. This is not to scare you out of using a stain rather to try and prepare you for what is ahead! Take your time to ensure you get the best results.

3.  Apply a test sample of the stain to a small, relatively unseen area of the concrete that is to be treated. This way you’ll get an accurate preview of what is to come. Because there are so many factors that affect concrete stains (such as how old the concrete is, the stain itself, etc.), this is the only way to properly ensure you’re getting the results you want.

4.  As mentioned above, there are many factors that influence the final look of stained concrete, so don’t expect color consistency. Part of the beauty of stained concrete is that it is so inherently unpredictable. To demand perfection of a product that naturally varies is not only realistic but also missing the point of stained concrete, as the natural variations are what makes it so beautiful and unique.

5.  If using an acid-based stain, it is critical that the surface is thoroughly cleaned after to remove any remaining residue to ensure a sealer can be properly applied. You can buy a neutralizing wash, or you can make one at home with a mixture of water and detergent, adding in a tablespoon of baking soda per gallon of water used. Make sure you scrub with a buffing machine and use a wet vacuum to pick up any remaining residue. Rinse the area until the water is clear.

Make sure to protect your newly stained concrete with a sealer after the fact. It’s important you do this in order to ensure long-lasting results.

For more tips on staining concrete floors, click here and here, and for some tool recommendations, click here.

Happy staining!

There are so many creative and custom options for finishing concrete, but first and foremost important is the concrete itself. At Custom Concrete Creations we have state of the art equipment and a properly trained team with years of experience. Custom Concrete Creations is a premier contractor serving the Omaha area as well at the Midwest. Give us a call or send us an email for your custom concrete finishing needs today!