How to Stain Concrete Floors Indoors and Outdoors

Best Of Hometalk
by Best Of Hometalk

Do you have a plain looking concrete floor? Are you looking for information on how to stain concrete? This post will show you how to stain concrete floors with acid stain and water-based concrete stain. There are instructions for cleaning your floors before your DIY concrete stain, how to protect your walls, and the best products to use to apply your concrete stain.

Stained Concrete Floors (pixabay)

There are two main ways to stain concrete floors: with acid-based staining or water-based staining. Below, you can learn about the different methods of staining, how to apply them, and what products to use. 

First Step for Your DIY Concrete Stain

The first thing you should do in your DIY concrete stain process removes the old flooring. This Hometalker was replaced her carpet with stained concrete. She started the process by cutting the carpet and padding into smaller manageable pieces so that she could fit them into garbage bags. Then, she ripped and pulled up the carpet and padding. Next, she removed the wooden tack strips and patched the holes with Quickcrete patching compound. After that, she sanded them.  She thought she was done, but then saw builders’ paint stains and removed those by using hot water and scraping them off.

How to Stain Concrete Floors (Cecilia MyThiftStoreAddiction)

See post: Cecilia MyThiftStoreAddiction|DIY Stained Concrete Flooring

In order to remove tile, this Hometalker and her husband used a flathead screwdriver as a wedge and a hammer to remove the tiles. Then, they used a chisel scraper and a hammer to remove the mastic underneath. It was a very difficult, time-consuming project that also required the use of a sander in spots where they could no longer chisel, but still needed to be flattened.

If you have linoleum you need to remove before staining your concrete, then follow the steps from this Hometalker. In contrast to removing tile, removing linoleum was a breeze. First, she used nippers to remove staples holding the layers together. Then, she used floor scrapers to pull up the linoleum in big chunks. That was it!

Cleaning Your Floors Before Concrete Stain

After you have removed your old floors and before staining the concrete, you will need to clean the bare floors.

Here are some tips for cleaning the floor from this Hometalker. To remove glue residue, spray with water, let soak for 10 minutes, and then use a sanding block. In order to remove paint, you can scrape thick paint with a razor blade or use a belt sander with 80 grit sandpaper. For carpet glue, a belt sander also works well to remove carpet glue.

In order to remove any remaining residue, wipe down your floor with a degreaser and water solution.

How to Choose Acid Stain Concrete or Water-Based Concrete Stain

The next step in your DIY concrete staining is to choose acid stain concrete or water-based concrete stain. According to Concrete Network, If you want unique mottling effects that look like marble or granite, choose acid stains. Just know that with acid stains, the colors are usually limited to subtle earth tones. For a full spectrum of hues, choose water-based stains. You can mix colors with water-based stains to create more options.

Protect Your Walls Before Staining Concrete

After you have cleaned your floors, but before you apply your DIY concrete stain, make sure you protect your walls. This Hometalker protected the walls from acid stain by using contractor’s paper and painter’s tape. In addition to protecting her walls and baseboards with tape and paper, this Hometalker, added some plastic protection to cover more of the walls.

Before Staining Concrete (Holly Lefevre)

See post: Holly Lefevre|How to Dye or Stain Concrete Floors

How to Stain Concrete

After you have cleaned and prepped, you are now ready to learn how to acid stain concrete and how to use a water-based concrete stain.

This Hometalker got a kit that included one gallon of base, one gallon of accent, one gallon of sealer, and a pump sprayer. In addition, she made sure to protect her hands, face, and eyes before applying the stain. If you do not buy a kit, you can also a roller, or a roller attached to a broom handle to be easier on your back. 

Concrete Floor Stain Colors (Holly Lefevre)

See post: Holly Lefevre|How to Dye or Stain Concrete Floors

How to Acid Stain Concrete

First, you’ll want to test the roller or sprayer with water to fully understand all of the settings and how it works. When you are ready, add a base color to the sprayer and pump the cap to pressurize it. Or soak the roller in paint and roll off the excess.

Test a small section to make sure you like the color before you cover the whole floor.

Start in the farthest corner of the room and work your way to the door, applying in a random pattern. Then, let the base color dry for at least one hour.

After this time, you can decide if you want another coat. If you want another coat, repeat the process.

Before you use a different color or accent, be sure to clean your sprayer or roller. You can clean the sprayer by filling it with water and spraying the water until it is clear and free of color.

When you are ready for the accent, also apply in a random pattern, allowing the base color to still show through. Then, let the accent completely dry. Next, use the same process to apply your sealer, starting in the corner and working your way toward the door.

After the sealer is applied, wait at least 3 days before putting all of the furniture back in the room.

Acid Stained Concrete Floors (Ekhaya Designs)

See post: Ekhaya Designs|Stained Concrete Rocks!

How to Apply Water Based Concrete Stain

This Hometalker, used a water-based concrete stain with a mixture was a 50/50 mix of Water and Shimmer Paint in Smoked Pearl. Using a roller on a broom handle, she applied one coat of water-based concrete stain and let it dry for about 30 minutes.

Water Based Concrete Stain (Shabby Paints)

See post: Shabby Paints|DIY Stained Concrete Using Shabby Paints

How to Maintain Concrete Stained Floors

Once your concrete stained floors are completed, you can keep them clean by using a dry dust mop and wet mop with mild floor cleaner. For deep cleaning, you can use a harsher soap or ammonia to clean your floors.

Have you done a DIY concrete stain? Did you choose to acid stain concrete or use a water-based concrete stain? Please share your before and after pictures and any tips you might have on how to stain concrete floors.

Written for the Hometalk community by: Rachel Belkin | Cha Ching Queen

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • Cari Cari on May 19, 2020

    Water based stain sounds much easier. What is the level of difficulty?

  • Jody Price Jody Price on Jul 18, 2021

    I read on Hometalk that you can use vinegar and water instead of acid…true?

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