Do It Yourself: Diy Concrete Staining

Do it yourself instructions to apply concrete stain to protect, beautify and enhance the look of this versatile and durable floor surface.

Concrete is considered one of the most versatile and durable floor surfaces available. Stained concrete surfaces allow a person to enjoy the look and luster of natural stones like marble or granite without the high cost and maintenance required. An etching can be carved into the surface of the concrete to create specific patterns of brick or flagstone. Simple sweeping and mopping are the only cleaning methods needed to keep the concrete maintained.

There are many different types of concrete stains available on the market today. Some are a mixture of muriatic acid and metallic salts. Another is a stain similar to wood stain. Some stains are promoted as environmentally friendly water based masonry stains which is primarily a water based modified acrylic product. One of the most popular is the acid stain which is made using a combination of hydrochloric acid, wetting agents and metallic ions. Acid stain colors concrete by chemically combining the particles in the concrete with the metallic ions in the stain to form oxides. This is a permanent finish that will not fade or chip but there are limitations to concrete stains. They will not hide surface imperfections or existing stains on the concrete. If an even colored finished product is your goal, you must have a uniform colored concrete surface to begin with. Minor color or shading variations may occur even with seemingly perfect colored concrete. A stained concrete floor will need to be periodically re-stained to retain its beauty.

Acid stains, while popular, are also the most difficult to work with. Before beginning any staining process the concrete must be as clean as possible. Any dirt, oil or grease must be cleaned thoroughly from the surface. Scrubbing with soap and water or damp mopping with clear water mixed with tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) followed by a pressure wash rinse will usually produce a clean surface.

A newer concrete floor must have cured for a minimum of 28-30 days and will generally need less stain than an older concrete floor. A concrete surface that has not been sealed with concrete sealer will accept the stain quicker than a floor that has already had sealer applied. You may need to use multiple coats to adequately color a previously sealed concrete floor. A mixture of one gallon of stain to one gallon of water will color about a 400 square foot room.

Apply the stain to a small test area using a non-metallic sprayer. Depending on the finished look you want, either leave the area to dry as is to create a mottled look, or brush the area with a small paint brush or mop to create a smoother finished look. Let the test area dry for a few hours, sweep off the stain residue and rinse with clean water. Use caution when disposing of the stain residue as it will stain any surface it comes in contact with. If the color isn't deep enough for your taste, reapply another coat of the stain and repeat the process. Once you have obtained the look you like, cover the entire area of the floor always working wet to wet.

Once the floor is covered with the stain and has been allowed to dry, sweep off the residue and rinse with clean water. Follow with a neutralizing rinse of 1 cup of ammonia to 5 gallons of water. Continuing rinsing the floor until the rinse water is clear.

After allowing the floor to completely dry, seal the floor with a concrete sealer to enhance the color and protect the concrete.

Safety Precautions: Remember when working with acid stain, that you are actually working with acid. Wear the appropriate clothing which should include long sleeves, long pants, gloves and protective eye wear. Make sure the area you are working in is properly ventilated to guard against fumes.

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