You can give your concrete floors that fantastic look by staining them. Stains are an effective way of bringing ambiance and pleasing your visitors’ eyes. Acid stains are the stains that seep through the pores on the concrete surface and react with the minerals in the concrete to produce different shades. After staining your concrete, you need to seal it to give it a gloss and make it durable.
The best part is that you can apply these stains yourself. But be cautious because things are not as simple as they might seem. Beware that you are using an acid that might cause bodily harm and even affect the plants and environment if dumped carelessly. Then the results of staining can be anything depending on your processes and the concrete surface. Yet they are permanent. If you can’t handle everything with care, you are better off hiring a professional staining contractor.
Table of contents
Readying the surface
A rule of the thumb is never to apply acid stains or any other stains, for that matter, on a dirty surface. Start by cleaning the surface. Get rid of anything stuck on, such as paint, residual adhesive, or other debris. Pour a mixture of TSP and water on the surface and scrub thoroughly. Use a stripper or a degreaser for removing stubborn stains. Grease prevents the stains from coming into contact with the floor, leaving unstained patches.
Avoid cleaning with muriatic acid as it reacts with the minerals in concrete, resulting in darker colors or irregularly shaped patches.
Sand down jutting areas with a concrete sander to get a smooth, even surface for uniform color.
A pressure washer is very effective in rinsing and will help you force out dirt and debris stuck in cracks.
Don’t bother filling cracks less than 1/8 inch deep. They add to the overall aesthetics.
Pour water in a set area to test the polarity of the floor.
Tape off the work surface
Protect all the areas you don’t want stained. Use masking tape and plastic sheets to protect the walls and any other object you couldn’t clear from the staining area. Some items are either too heavy to move or have been built into the concrete floor. For more clean and sharper edges, apply duct tape over masking tape to prevent stain bleeding. Pre-test stains ahead of application
Staining is irreversible, and you don’t want to get disappointed with the results after staining. Apply little amounts of the stains on a set test area. This way you’ll be able to fine-tune the outcome by making the shades darker or diluting them.
Apply the concrete stain
Pour the stains into a plastic sprayer. A plastic sprayer does not react with acid stains. Hold the handle 2 inches over the floor and spray the stains with smooth, even strokes from left to right. Aim to make even coverage. Use an overlapping sequence to maintain a wet edge. Remember to stop the container whenever moving to the next operation to avoid dripping. Experts suggest to use concrete polish in order to make it look more attractive.
Use a paintbrush for smaller areas or corners.
Suck up stains puddle with a wet vac. If you think the coat is not even enough, pass a shop broom over the darker areas. Spray again lightly to disguise the shop broom marks.
You can also use a wide roller for larger surfaces if you can’t access a sprayer.
Leave the acid to set
Leave the stained surface to dry. Various products have different drying times. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. The reaction will go on for as long as the stain is set. It will only stop when you neutralize with baking soda or water detergent mixture.
Seal the stained floor
The final step is applying a sealer over the stained surface. A sealer will maintain the stained surface. Use wax to seal indoor stained concrete surfaces. An epoxy-based sealant is practical for high-traffic areas as it supports more weight and doesn’t scratch easily. Epoxy beneath urethane is much more effective for outdoor space. Whatever you do, consult the manufacturer’s labels or handbook. Some manufacturers usually recommend specific sealers to go with their products.
Note that you can buff indoor stained surfaces to get a glossy and shiny finish.
Staining concrete will give your floors a new fresh look, whether indoors or outdoors. You do not have to break the bank to pay professionals to do it. Just follow the steps outlined in this article to bring color and ambiance to your concrete surfaces.
Concrete all around the world has long dominated industries, particularly flooring, because of its exceptional durability, zero-maintenance and simply pleasant appearance that concrete delivers.
National Concrete Polishing is fully committed to implementing the newest innovations in flooring solutions for residential, commercial and industrial applications who are seeking to renovate, repair or decorate their concrete surfaces.