Acid stained concrete floors are a low-cost design option that yield stunning results for commercial and residential flooring needs. Along with customizable color, acid staining and sealing ensures durability and added life to any indoor or outdoor concrete floor. 

Coffee Brown Acid Stained Concrete Floors Bby Ken
Commercial floor refinished with concrete overlay and stained with diluted Coffee Brown acid stain

How Much Do Acid Stained Concrete Floors Cost?

The cost of acid-stained floors begins at $0.61 per square foot, which is far less than tile, carpet, marble or other common flooring options. Depending on design and surface conditions, costs can rise as high as $10.00 per square foot. Yet, unlike hardwood, tile and carpet, which require professional installation, homeowners can lower costs by acid-staining concrete flooring themselves!


Step 1:  Preparing The Surface

Before Floor and Wall Overlay by Ken
Commercial space before refinishing floors and walls with concrete overlay

Often, a concrete surfacing subfloor will have dry wall mud, paint, wood stains, tile adhesives, carpet adhesives, grease, pet stains, etc. either from construction or years of use.

Because acid stain is not an overcoat like paint, but a penetrating stain that permanently changes the appearance of concrete, it is important to begin with a blemish free surface.

This building was constructed in 1927 and was in a very poor condition. Ken decided to start with a fresh canvas and sprayed the floors with a thin coat of smooth concrete overlay.

Step 2: Clean Floors

Step 3: Apply Acid Stain (Read our detailed How-to)

Acid Stained Hair Salon Concrete Floor
Smooth gray concrete overlay stained with diluted Coffee Brown acid stain

The appearance of your completed acid color etched floor is highly influenced by the manner in which the acid stain is applied. For an even-toned application, we recommend spraying the acid stain in a circular motion using an inexpensive plastic pump sprayer

Ken wanted to create a rustic, leather-like appearance on the concrete floors so he diluted 10 parts water to 1 part of Direct Colors Coffee Brown Acid Stain before application.

Remember to wear acid resistant spiked shoes to avoid leaving foot impressions on the floor.

TIP: If a dark, even tone is desired, use a brush to work the acid stain into the surface using consistent circular strokes. Then spray on a second coat to eliminate any brush strokes on the surface, unless that is the desired finish. For a more diffuse look, spray the stain onto the surface without brushing.

Though new smooth, concrete does not always require a second coat of acid stain, older concrete will generally require two coats of stain for complete coverage.

Two coats of Coffee Brown acid stain color swatch
Coffee Brown Concrete Acid Stain
Marble Acid Stain Accents Using Black and Cola Acid Stains. Sealed with High Gloss Acrylic Sealer
Marble Acid Stain Accents Using Black and Cola Acid Stains Over an Azure Blue and Desert Amber Base

For multi-colored accents, apply one heavy coat of your base color and immediately apply scattered accent coats while the stain is still wet to encourage a more natural appearance on the slab. Continue to apply lighter, then darker colored accents until you are satisfied with the results.

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Step 5: Apply Sealer 

After stained floors were neutralized, cleaned and dried, Ken  applied a water-based acrylic sealer using a 3/8″ nap roller.

TIP: For best results soak the applicator in warm water and shake out excess before beginning the application.

Allow up to 24 hours drying time between each coat of sealer. No more than two thin coats of sealer will be necessary. Thick coats can result in an inconsistent finish with tacky areas that may leave undesirable results.

Before and After Concrete Floor and Wall Stenciling with Concrete Overlay, Pigments and Stain
Before and After Concrete Floor and Wall Stenciling with Concrete Overlay, Pigments and Stain

Step 7: Apply Floor Wax

Ken used Commercial Floor Wax and Polish to protect the colored floor coating from daily wear and tear. Regular waxing is important in high traffic spaces like hair salons where high traffic and repetitive motion around hair stations is likely.

Apply floor wax with a Trim Pad. Prior to use, soak the applicator in warm water and wring out excess before use. Pour wax into a paint or wallpaper tray and saturate the trim pad. Press out excess and then push a thin milky coat across the floor surface.. The product will appear milky in application but clear as it dries. Smooth out any foaming that may appear on the surface.

Acid Staining with Justin

Check out some of our customers best concrete acid stain designs and some fun accessories soften the concrete look