Acid Stain Concrete Floors Indoors and Outdoors
Acid stained concrete floors are a low-cost flooring option. Along with customizable color, acid staining and sealing ensures durability and added life to any indoor or outdoor concrete floor.
How Much Do Acid Stained Concrete Floors Cost?
The cost of acid-stained floors begins at $0.47 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!
When deciding on a look for your new flooring project, it is important to understand that acid stain is not an overcoat like paint. Acid stains are translucent, penetrating stains that slightly etch and permanently change the color of the concrete by reacting chemically with the hydrated lime in the concrete.
If concrete your floor has drywall, mud, paint, wood stains, tile adhesives, carpet adhesives, grease, pet stains, etc. either from construction or years of use; preparing the concrete surface is crucial to achieving the ideal finished product.
Acid Stained Concrete Floors: How to Guide
Surface preparation is the most important step of the acid staining process. The concrete must be free of adhesives, dirt, paint, oils, drywall, mud, sealer, and stain. Acid stain cannot react with the concrete if any of these contaminants are present.
Concrete Floors NOT Ready For Staining
Clean the floor with a light Concrete Cleaner & Degreaser solution. Thoroughly scrub and rinse all residues from the surface. Using a shop vac to vacuum up the rinse water will speed up the drying time.
Concrete Floors READY For Staining
Apply acid stain using a pump-up sprayer. Safety while applying colorant is important. Remember to use long sleeves, pants, goggles, and gloves while working with the acid stain.
The stain color finish is highly influenced on how you apply the acid stain. Here are a few tips on how to achieve the ideal finished product:
- For an even-toned color, spray the acid stain in a circular motion.
- For a dark toned color, 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.
- For a diffused look, spray the stain onto the surface without brushing.
- For marbling effect, apply one heavy coat of your base color and immediately apply scattered accent coats while the acid stain base is still wet. Continue to apply lighter, then darker colored accents until you are satisfied with the results.
Remember to wear acid resistant spiked shoes to avoid leaving foot impressions on the floor.
As the acid stain dries and processes, a residue of alkali and minerals forms on the surface of the concrete. This is completely normal and is part of the reaction process. Each stain has different activation times to fully color the concrete, generally from 4 to 8 hours. Acid stain can be left on the surface longer if desired.
- Prepare baking soda and water solution using 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda per gallon of water.
- Spray or pour the soda and water solution on every inch of the floor.
- Move the solution around the floor using a squeegee.
- Scrub with a soft nylon bristle scrub brush where needed to remove residue.
- Wash the surface carefully using clean water until nothing but clear water is visible.
- Remove all residue and excess color from concrete before leaving to dry.
- For Stubborn residue or porous surfaces, use an organic degreaser to aid in the removal. The clean, wet surface will be the approximate color of the final sealed surface.
- Leave to dry.
- After the surface has completely dried, the floor should be ready to seal.
Neutralizing your acid stain is an absolutely essential step in a successful concrete acid stain application. Read more about the importance of this step.
- For sealing outdoor concrete floors, Direct Colors recommends our solvent-based acrylic sealer with a satin finish. This particular sealer is super easy to apply, dries fast, and makes the color of outdoor concrete projects really pop.
- For sealing indoor concrete floors, Direct Colors recommends our water-based acrylic sealer with a satin finish. This sealer is low VOC which makes it a safer choice for interior application.
Step 7: Apply Liquid Concrete Wax (Interior Floors Only)
- Soak Trim Pad applicator in warm water
- Wring out excess water from applicator
- Pour concrete wax into a paint tray
- Saturate trim pad with concrete wax solution
- Press out excess wax
- Apply a thin milky coat across the floor surface. The product will appear milky in application but clear as it dries
- Smooth out any foaming from the concrete surface
Use 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 are likely.