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Refinished Concrete Basement Floor

By Kimberly Raley

January 2021 – $250 Cash Winner

We are very amateur DIYers, so if we can do this anyone can! We chose to use Desert Amber and Coffee Brown as our two color acid stain process. Our home is mostly “French Country farmhouse”, but this space will be a little more casual incorporating industrial farmhouse and rustic elements, including a reclaimed wood feature wall, live edge bar area and sliding barn door.

Concrete Basement Floor
Before
Acid Stained Concrete Floor
After
Hard-Troweled Floor Preparation
Hard-Troweled Floor Prep
Desert Amber EverStain Acid Stain
EverStain Desert Amber
Coffee Brown EverStain Swatch
EverStain Coffee Brown
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Satin 1 gal
Satin Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Residential Floor Wax
Hard-Troweled Floor Preparation
Hard-Troweled Floor Prep
Desert Amber EverStain Acid Stain
EverStain Desert Amber
Coffee Brown EverStain Swatch
EverStain Coffee Brown
Acrylic Concrete Sealer Water Satin 1 gal
Satin Sealer
Residential Floor Wax
Residential Floor Wax

We’ve been wanting to try this since the basement floors were poured in November 2019. This 400 sq. ft. area will be a family/rec room. We decided to do the floors ourselves before the drywall, etc. goes up. For that, we have pros coming to complete very soon.

Our basement is framed in and divided into three spaces; two will be completed and the third is a large storage area. We are so pleased with how this turned out we are going to do it during “phase two” of our basement remodel, applying it on the second living space which will include a laundry room, workout area a half bath.

How to Acid Stain a Machine Troweled Concrete Floor

Prep the Surface

To ensure that you have the best acid stain absorption possible, some prep work is required specific to acid staining. This DIYer guide is specific to a concrete floors that have been machine troweled and do not have carpet glue or paint stains on it.

Step 1: Clean the Surface

Use a shop vacuum or sweep and mop floors with a concrete cleaner and degreaser

Before

Step 2: Cover the Walls

Use plastic sheeting and painters tape to cover the walls and protect them from getting stained.

Clean with Concrete Cleaner and Degreaser
Clean with Concrete Cleaner and Degreaser

Step 3: Etch Concrete Floor

Basements are often the smoothest rooms in a house. So smooth in fact that they cannot be successfully stained without pre-application of chemical or mechanical profiling that will help the acid stain penetrate the concrete and  take effect.

Most slabs will be ready for staining after an application of Hard Troweled Floor PrepSimply cut the product with water 1:1, spray from a garden sprayer and wash off with clear water after 15-20 minutes.

For excessively smooth concrete, apply the floor prep full strength for optimal results.

Applying Etching Solution on Machine Troweled Concrete Floor
Etching Solution on Machine Troweled Concrete Floor

DIYerTIP:   If your surface requires etching, be sure to clean it thoroughly before it dries (hence the photo with white shoe prints). Wear your spikes when doing this. It took about 12 scrubbings and a hand sander to clean that up!

What happens if You Do not Rinse Etching Solution
After scrubbing and sanding the dried etching solution

Apply Acid Stain Colors

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.

DIYer Tip: Be patient! Watch the “how to” videos featured on this website. If you have a question don’t be afraid to call or email customer service. They respond quickly, professionally and are very helpful and friendly.

Step 1: Spray Base Color

Applying first acid stain color

Step 2: Spray Accent Color

Apply second acid stain color
Developing Acid Stain Colors
Acid Stain Working

Step 3: Neutralize

  • 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.
Neutralizing acid stains
Neutralizing Coffee Brown & Desert Amber

Step 4: Clean Residue

  • 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.
Clean Acid Stain Residue

DCPro TIP:   Using a Shop-Vac to wash out and clean acid residue decreases the process time and effort dramatically

Rinsing Residue

Step 5: Allow to Dry

After Final Cleaning

Apply Sealant

For staining basement projects were smell and ventilation are going to be your biggest concerns, we generally recommend water-based sealers. They’re nearly odorless, and will be safe to apply if your family or animals are in the home.

Step 1: Apply First Coat

Apply  water-based concrete sealer using a pump-up sprayer or 3/8″ nap roller.

Apply first coat of sealant

Step 2: Allow to Dry (2 – 6 Hours)

After coat of sealant

Step 2: Allow to Dry (2 – 6 Hours)

After coat of sealant

Step 3: Apply Second Coat

Second coat of water-based sealer

Step 4: Allow to Dry (12-24 Hours)

Sealed Coffee Brown & Desert Amber Acid Stains

DCPro Tip: A fully cured water based sealer will be clear and non milky. The sealer should be completely dry to the touch without leaving any fingerprints.

Apply Liquid Wax

Step 1: Apply First Coat

  • Soak Trim Pad applicator in warm water
  • Wring out excess water from applicator
  • Pour Residential Concrete Floor 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

Step 2: Allow to Dry (12 Hours)

First Coat of Residential Floor Wax

Step 3: Apply Second Coat

Second Coat of Residential Floor Wax

Step 4: Allow to Dry (24 Hours)

Sealed and Waxed Acid Stained Concrete Floor
Stain concrete basement floor

Other Basement Staining Options

If your are looking to add value to your home with a finished basement floor, at about $0.61 per sq. ft.; concrete stain offers the lowest-cost and highest-return of any basement flooring option.

White Concrete Stained Basement Flooring

Lighten Up Your Basement With White Concrete Dye

This 500 sq.ft. project began as a basement floor that had previously been covered with carpet.