How to Stain a Basement Concrete Floor
For homeowners looking to add value to their home with a finished basement floor, concrete stain is a low-cost and high-return flooring option. It costs only $0.61 per square foot!
A stained basement concrete floor can be finished without costly contractors and is easy to maintain once sealed.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting stain and sealer products for a basement application.
Step 1 – Evaluate Your Concrete
Pour water on the concrete to see if it beads up for several seconds or quickly absorbs into the concrete. Beading or poor absorption suggests the surface is too smooth to stain and will need profiling.
Most slabs are ready for staining after an application of CitrusEtch™ concrete etcher.
Simply cut the product with water 1:1, use a garden sprayer, and wash off with clear water after 15-20 minutes. Then, test again whether water beads on the surface.
For excessively smooth concrete, apply the floor prep full-strength for optimal results.
Step 2 – Check for Water Issues
Many basements experience water issues as a result of drainage changes, foundation cracks, and unexpectedly heavy rains.
Moisture can leak into a basement or come up through the slab as hydrostatic pressure, and these factors ultimately dictate which concrete sealer is best for your project.
Inspect your basement thoroughly for leakage of any kind and address that before finishing the basement floor.
Test for high humidity by sticking a small sheet of plastic directly to the floor using duct tape and leaving it for at least 48 hours.
If condensation is present under the plastic, select a breathable sealer or a concrete cure and seal that allows water vapor to pass through the coating.
Step 3 – Prepare surface for staining
Most basement floors usually have carpet or paint. All debris including glue, sealer, paint, and drywall mud must be completely removed before staining.
Remember to clean the floor thoroughly of all cleanser residue using ProClean concrete cleaner and degreaser. Rinse it well and allow it to dry before staining.
For older concrete floors with stubborn carpet glue and paint, you can rent a concrete grinder from your local hardware store. This creates a clean slate to work with.
If you’re staining with Vibrance Dye, we recommend applying a base coat (use the same sealer you’ll be applying as your top coat).
Incorrect Surface Preparation
Correct Surface Preparation
Step 4 – Apply Concrete Stain
As with any concrete stain application, test to determine which colors and sealer finish combination work best in your basement.
With our Concrete Stain Trial Kits, you can choose up to three stain colors and one sealer finish to create your own custom concrete basement floor.
The four best interior concrete colorants are:
Vibrance Concrete Dye Powder
Vibrance Dye is one of the most versatile staining options of Direct Colors’ concrete colorants. This concrete dye is easy to apply with an acetone-grade pump sprayer. It’s great for all of your smooth and polished concrete coloring needs!
ColorWave Water Based Stain
ColorWave® is a water based concrete stain that colors concrete or other cement-based materials by delivering ultra-fine pigment to the surface.
AcquaTint Tinted Concrete Sealer
EverStain Acid Stain
Learn How To Apply Concrete Dye with Justin
Learn How To Apply Acid Stain with Justin
Step 5 – Select and Apply Concrete Sealer
Choosing the correct sealer is the most critical decision for a basement project. Basements often have poor ventilation; therefore, a water based sealer is the safest way to go.
Direct Colors offers several low VOC, water based sealers for basement applications in gloss and satin finishes.
Consider the following differences between polyurethane and acrylic sealer before selecting your concrete sealer.
Learn the basic techniques for adding layers of color for gorgeous-looking concrete. Applying multiple acid stain colors to concrete is the best way to create that signature marbled look.