Make Concrete Floors Look Like Leather With Acid Stains
By Kimberly Raley
January 2021 – $250 Cash Winner
We are very amateur DIYers, so if we can do this anyone can!
Acid staining concrete floors is a great way to add character and style to any space. In this blog post, we will be sharing our experience on how we acid stained our floor using the Desert Amber and Coffee Brown acid stain for a leather look finish.
Our home has a “French Country farmhouse” style, but we wanted to add a more casual and rustic touch to this particular space. We incorporated industrial farmhouse elements such as a reclaimed wood feature wall, a live edge bar area, and a sliding barn door. Staining the interior concrete floors with these two colors was the perfect way to bring all of these elements together and create a cohesive look. Join us as we guide you through the process of acid staining your own concrete floor.
We’ve been wanting to try this since the basement floors were poured in November 2019. This 400 square foot 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 [that] we are going to do it during “phase two” of our basement remodel, applying it to the second living space which will include a laundry room, workout area a half bath.
How To Acid Stain Machine Troweled Concrete Floors
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 concrete floors that have been machine troweled and do not have carpet glue or paint stains on them.
Step 1: Prepare Concrete Before Staining
Clean the Surface
Use a shop vac or sweep and mop floors with a concrete cleaner and degreaser.
Cover the Walls
Use plastic sheeting and painters tape to cover the walls and protect them from getting stained.
Etch Concrete Floor
Basements are often the smoothest rooms in a house – so smooth that they cannot be successfully stained without the pre-application of chemical or mechanical profiling that helps the acid stain penetrate the concrete and take effect.
Most slabs will be ready for staining after applying CitrusEtch concrete etcher. 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 at full strength for optimal results.
Neutralize and Rinse
DIYerTIP: When the 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!
Step 2: 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.
Spray Base Color (Lighter Color)
Spray Accent Color (Darker Color)
For more detailed information and techniques, read How to Layer Two Acid Stain Colors.
Allow Acid Stain to React
For information on how long to leave the acid stain on the concrete, refer to our guide “How Long to Leave Acid Stain on Concrete“.
Neutralize Acid Stain
- Dilute one 4-ounce bottle of ProClean Neutralizer™ to one gallon of water.
- Spray the solution on every inch of the floor.
- Let it soak for 15 minutes.
For more details on neutralizing acid stain, check out our guide “How to Neutralize Concrete Acid Stain”.
- 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 the concrete before leaving it 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.
DCPro TIP: Using a shop vac to wash out and clean acid residue decreases the process time and effort dramatically
Allow to Dry
Step 3: Apply Concrete Sealant
When working on indoor projects, it’s important to consider the smell and ventilation. For this reason, we recommend using water-based sealers. They emit minimal odor and are safe to use even when your family or pets are present in the home.
Apply First Coat
Before applying the sealer, it’s important to remove any filters from the pump-up sprayer. Once the sprayer is ready, shake the AcquaSeal™ water-based sealer well to mix it properly. When applying the sealer, use slightly circular motions with irregular overlaps to ensure an even coverage. It’s important to apply thin coats to avoid puddling and ensure that the sealer is evenly distributed over the surface.
Allow to Dry
When applying the sealer, it is important to allow 12 hours between coats. This will ensure that the first coat has fully dried and the surface is ready for the next application. A maximum of two thin coats should be used to ensure the best results.
Apply Second Coat
The second coat of sealer is applied using the same method as the first coat. This will ensure an even coverage and the best results.
Allow to Dry (12-24 Hours)
A fully cured water-based sealer will be clear and not cloudy in appearance. It should also be completely dry to the touch and should not leave any fingerprints when touched.
Step 4: Concrete Floor Wax
Apply First Coat
- Soak the trim pad applicator in warm water.
- Wring out excess water from the applicator.
- Pour ProWax Polish floor wax into a paint tray.
- Saturate the trim pad with the 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.
Allow to Dry (12 Hours)
Apply Second Coat
Allow to Dry (24 Hours)
By following these steps, you will be able to achieve a leathered multi-layered and protected surface on your concrete floor. Remember to always wear the proper safety gear and to read the instructions on the products you are using. Don’t hesitate to seek Direct Colors’ help if you feel unsure about any step of the process. And most importantly, have fun with it!