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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. 

Azure Blue and Coffee Brown Stained Concrete Basement Floors
Concrete basement stained with Azure Blue and Coffee Brown EverStain acid stains

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!

Concrete patio stained with Black, Malayan Buff and SeaGrass EverStain acid stains
Concrete patio stained with Black, Malayan Buff and SeaGrass EverStain acid stains

When deciding on a look for your new flooring project, it is important to understand that acid stains are not an overcoat like paint. Acid stains are translucent, penetrating stains that slightly etches and permanently changes the color of the concrete by reacting chemically with the hydrated lime in the concrete.

If concrete your floor has dry wall 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


Step 1: Prepare Surface

Surface preparation is the most important step of the acid staining process. The concrete must be free of adhesives, dirt, paint, oils, drywall, mud, sealers and stains.   Acid stains cannot react with the concrete if any of these contaminants is present.

Concrete Floors NOT Ready For Staining

Concrete floor with paint stains
Floors with paint stains will NOT absorb acid stains
Concrete floors with carpet glue
Floors with carpet glue will NOT absorb acid stains
Water on sealed concrete surface after one hour
If water does not get absorbed after five minutes, it has probably been sealed
Basement floor with old stains, spray paint and overspray on it
Basement floor with old stains, spray paint and overspray on it

Step 2: Clean the Concrete

Clean the floor with a light Concrete Cleaner & Degreaser solution. Thoroughly scrub & rinse all residues from the surface. Using a shop vac to vacuum up the rinse water will speed up the drying time.

If your concrete floors are machine troweled, prepare the surface by etching it with a Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment. This process will add texture to smooth concrete floors for increased stain absorption.

Concrete Floors READY For Staining

Clean prepared concrete floor staining
Clean prepared concrete floor staining
Concrete floor ready for staining
Concrete floor ready for staining
Fully Cured Poured Concrete Slab

Step 3: Apply the Acid Stain

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.

Seagrass EverStain Applied with a Pump Up Sprayer
Seagrass EverStain Applied with a Pump Up Sprayer

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.
Wear Spiked Shoes
Wear Spiked Shoes

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

Step 4: Let Acid Stain Work

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.

Black, Malayan Buff, Seagrass Everstain Acid Stains before neutralizing
Black, Malayan Buff, Seagrass Everstain Acid Stains before neutralizing

Step 5: Neutralize The Acid Stained Concrete Floor

Rinse Acid Stains Residue After Neutralizing
Rinse Acid Stains Residue After Neutralizing
  1. Prepare baking soda and water solution using 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda per gallon of water.
  2. Spray or pour the soda and water solution on every inch of the floor.
  3. Move the solution around the floor using a squeegee.
  4. Scrub with a soft nylon bristle scrub brush where needed to remove residue.
  5. Wash the surface carefully using clean water until nothing but clear water is visible.
  6. Remove all residue and excess color from concrete before leaving to dry.
  7. 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.
  8. Leave to dry.
  9. 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.

Step 6: Seal the Acid Stained Concrete

  • For sealing outdoor concrete floors, Direct Colors recommends our Solvent-Based Acrylic Sealer with Satin finish. This particular sealer is super easy to apply, dries fast, and makes the color of outdoor concrete projects really pop.
Seal Exterior Acid Stained Surface with a Solvent-Based Sealer
Seal Exterior Acid Stained Surface with a Solvent-Based Sealer
Sealing Acid Stained Commercial Floor
Sealing Acid Stained Indoor Floor

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
Applying Second Coat of Concrete Floor Wax

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 is likely.

Learn How to Acid Stain Interior Concrete Floors

Learn How to Acid Stain Exterior Concrete Floors

Concrete Basement Floor
Stunning Acid Stained Concrete Floor - Turquoise
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain Cola
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain Cola
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Concrete Basement Floor
Azure Blue and Coffee Brown Stained Concrete Basement Floors
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Coffee Brown EverStain Swatch
EverStain Coffee Brown
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Coffee Brown EverStain Swatch
EverStain Coffee Brown
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Basement Concrete Floor - Before
Basement Concrete Floor - Azure Blue Acid Stain
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Azure Blue EverStain Swatch
EverStain Azure Blue
Removing Carpet from Concrete Floor
Acid Stained Concrete Floor
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain Cola
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Cola EverStain Swatch
EverStain Cola
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Basement Concrete Floor - Before
Acid Stained Concrete Basement Floor
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Black EverStain Swatch
EverStain Black
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Seagrass EverStain Swatch
EverStain Seagrass
Malayan Buff EverStain Swatch
EverStain Malayan Buff
Black EverStain Swatch
EverStain Black
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Basement Concrete Floor - Before -
Basement Concrete Floor - Black Acid Stain
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Black EverStain Swatch
EverStain Black
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Glossy 1 gal
High Gloss Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Concrete Floor Wax - Satin
Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
Floor Pre-Treatment
Black EverStain Swatch
EverStain Black