Acid Staining Concrete Floors
Hey y’all!!! This post has been a couple years in the making. I finally have enough before and after pictures of the process that I am able to share a tutorial on staining concrete floors. We have built 2 of our own homes and we are in the process of finishing the build of our middle childs home. We chose to stain the concrete in all 3 houses, first because they are SUPER easy to maintain and second to SAVE money. I also stained the concrete on our back porch in attempts to conceal me spilling a brand new can of wood stain on it. Oops!
Our middle child (Payton) just turned 24 years old and recently married his high school sweetheart (Whitley). Their flooring budget was $9000 and with the rising construction costs we needed to do anything we could to save money. Taking his flooring costs from $9000 to $1000 was an obvious choice for us.
The staining process by myself was a bit intimidating, but worst case scenario we would pick a cheap flooring and cover them. lol
The steps described in this post are on acid staining NEW CONCRETE. The acid staining concrete process will vary depending on your concretes finish, age of the concrete, and any reside on the concrete! Again this tutorial is on staining new concrete. The acid staining method may not work on concrete that has had paint, glue, or other debris on it. For that you may need a paint based stain. Acid stain soaks into the pores of the concrete and create a reaction. If you are planning on staining your concrete using this tutorial, I would recommend testing the stain on a small hidden area first, as color will vary. You will also get different variations depending on the brand of stain you use. Please take the time to research acid stain and watch other tutorials prior to performing the process.
A couple of important points:
- Ensure your product is an acid stain or etching stain. NOT A PAINT
- Ensure that your concrete is clean and dry
- Read your products label. Some stains require 24 hours between coats and others can be applied immediately.
- Keep your floor clean from the first step until sealed.
- Do not allow anyone to walk on the area until thoroughly dry!
- Floor cleaning machine (we rented ours)
- Painters paper / plastic and tape
- Acid stain or etching stain
- Pump Sprayer (all plastic)
- Floor sealer
- Bristle broom
- Paint Roller with extension and cover
- Mop, mop bucket
- Baking powder (unless your stain recommends against using it to neutralize the acid).
- Optional: floor polish and separate mop
- Protective gear: gloves, goggles, clothing to cover arms and legs
CLEAN & COVER
Cleaning your concrete is probably one of the most important steps. Even for brand new concrete it is essential to thoroughly clean it prior to applying the stain. You can rent floor cleaning equipment at your local hardware stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s or for outdoor projects a pressure washer with a surface cleaning attachment will work.
For this project I rented a hard surface cleaner from Home Depot. I used the machine on the floors twice and then allowed 24 hours for them to dry prior to staining.
Either before or after cleaning the floors you will need to cover the walls and baseboards atleast 12 inches. Use painters paper or plastic and painters tape to cover.
Mix the stain according to specifications in your pump sprayer. Several stains are a 1:1 mixture of stain and water. Read your products label carefully. Tip: if after your first coat you wet the floors and the concrete doesn’t seem to be accepting the stain try spraying the stain undiluted.
BE SURE YOUR SPRAYER IS NOT SET to STREAM and set to wide spray. If your nozzle is set to stream you will have lines of stain! Which you DO NOT WANT! Believe it or not I have seen someone do this and the end results were not good!
The two brands I am most familiar with are Valspar Etching Stain (color coffee for my home) & Perma-Cast Sierra Stain (color taupe for my sons home).
Evenly apply the stain using the wide spray setting of the sprayer. Completely cover the entire floor. Use the bristle brush to push the stain into the concrete. This goes by much faster if one person is spraying and a second person uses the broom.
I always apply two coats. You can get a general idea of how your floors will look by wetting a small area between each coat. The look of your floors when they are wet is similar to how your floors will look when finished.
Water will not hurt the stain. The acid is soaking into the concrete and chemically reacting with it. Do not use a cleaning agent, detergent, or soap of any kind. Again READ YOUR PRODUCTS LABEL.
After you have achieved the desired color then you will need to clean your floors. Some labels will recommend using a buffer such as baking powder to stop the chemical reaction.
I mopped once with the baking soda and water mixture and then twice with water. Empty your mop water frequently.
Be sure you are happy with the color before you seal it. If you missed an area you can use a sponge to apply more.
Remember when the floor is wet that is close to how it will look once sealed and polished.
Ensure that your floors are completely dry (atleast 24 hours) before applying the sealer.
Use a sprayer (or you can pour it directly onto the floor) to apply 1-2 coats and then roll the sealer on.
Allow 24 hours to dry.
Now for polish… the polish will give your floor the wet look if that’s what you are wanting. This is also the step that makes the floor a little slick! This step IS NOT REQUIRED, but it’s my fave! You can apply 2-3 coats until the desired look is achieved.
For my sons house we will be applying the polish in a few weeks so right now his finish is a little dull.
Read the manufacturers label on your product for full instructions. Mop the polish onto the floor using a clean lint free mop. Allow up to 4 hours to dry between coats.
Here are the floors at my sons house (again the polish hasn’t been applied)!
There are several steps to this process, but overall it’s easy. To keep the wet look, you will need to apply the polish around every 3-6 months depending on traffic.
There are so many options for staining concrete. At our house we scored the floors in the main area in 12×12 squares. We also added out initial to our entryway by having a vinyl made, taping it down, and spraying around it.
Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to read this post. Be sure to like and drop a comment so I know you stopped by. Please give me a follow here, on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Home Talk, and Tik Tok !
Xo on Nov 04, 2022
i did polished concrete with acid stain 20 years ago in our porch addition on our home. and i still love it!!!! we also put in heated floor! i would do it again!!! it was fairly new back then and a lot did not know what i was talking about. as the concrete cures, the cement guy came back several times and polished and polished. he did a great job. and i did the staining. i love how the stain reacts with whatever is in the concrete, and it looks different all over. it's like marble!