"With a few simple instructions, you'll know how to stain concrete floors. But that certainly doesn't mean you'll like the end result".
Stained concrete was once found primarily on commercial floors but has recently become popular in residential applications as well. It has turned into today's alternative to conventional flooring, being used on both interior and exterior surfaces. In the past it was only available to contractors, but a rise in demand for concrete stains by the do-it-yourselfers has significantly increased availability.
Seemingly simple to do, staining concrete promises to yield beautiful results. When you factor in the cost savings and low maintenance required, most who have it, love it. It marbleizes the concrete when applied to a smooth surface and gives a rough surface more of a stone appearance. It can also be used on garden statues, concrete walls, and landcaping blocks.
Application of concrete stain can be done by spraying, brushing, and sometimes rolling. It's usually recommended that the concrete be sealed, but it can be left in the natural flat state. It can be sealed and/or waxed, or just left in a natural flat state.
Most blemishes and hairline cracks are better left alone and usually add character to a stained surface. However, there are many blemishes that go unseen before the stain is applied that can ruin a project. So if staining concrete is so simple, then how does a bad job come about? The answer is insufficient prep work. Prep work is the key to a successful staining job.
When learning how to stain concrete floors, always remember that preparing the concrete is crucial. If this step in the project is not done adequately, then chances are you'll be unhappy with the final result. Concrete is similar to a large sponge. The surface may appear to be smooth, but it is in fact very porous. The pores can get loaded with dirt and debri, prohibiting penetration of the stain.
Even with new concrete, dirt, oil, glue, and other materials can be present. You may not even realize they are there until the concrete is stained and then it's too late. But, once the stain is applied, it becomes very obvious where more cleaning needed to be done. Acid stains will not penetrate as well, if at all. A water based stain (acrylic stain) will not bond as well resulting in failure in those areas or spots.
Some will say that you should acid wash (acid etch) the concrete first. However, this will significantly diminish the effects of acid stain. Also, acid washing will not work on many substances including sealers, glues, and paints.
Acid washing is recommended before applying acrylic stains because it further opens the pores, allowing for better adhesion. Yet it shouldn't be done until the concrete is completely clean first.
One of the best products to use for preparing floors for stain is Concrete Stain Prep TM. This is a biodegradable concentrate formula that gets mixed with water and deep cleans, getting into the pores to lift oil, dirt, grime, and most other contaminants. It replaces the need for multiple cleaners and strippers and will remove whatever may stand in the way of successfully stained concrete. The product is made by Concrete Camouflage, who also makes concrete stains and sealers.
So if you want to know how to stain concrete floors, knowing how to get them clean and prepared will determine your success. As a contractor whose stained many floors, I know the heartache of having to fix a poor job. Most of those problems could have been prevented with a better cleaner.
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