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Concrete Staining – A Quick Guide to an Attractive Surface

Is your concrete floor looking dull and outdated? Do you wish to update it by adding style and color to make it eye-catching? It is possible to make it look as good as new. How you ask?

Concrete staining is a great way of modernizing a plain concrete surface, giving it a contemporary and classy look. The process is relatively simple to handle on your own but it’s advisable to let a professional Concrete Resurfacing Company handle the job for better results. 

Before we get started, you need to decide on the type of stain you want to use. There are two main types of concrete stains – Acid-based and water-based, all of which can be applied on old and new concrete surfaces. Also, stains are applicable both indoors and outdoors.

So how do you stain concrete?

1. Prepare the surface

If your concrete floor is new, clean, and fully cured, you can skip this step. 

For old and outdated concrete structures, you will need to adequately prepare the surface. The way you prepare your concrete surface for concrete staining determines the outcome of your project.

A pressure washer does an excellent job in removing dirt, debris, and dust from an old concrete surface. Alternatively, you may use a stiff-bristled brush and a non-residue cleaner to clean your concrete surface before applying the stain. Grease stains and stubborn oil may need a degreaser to be removed. 

One thing you should understand is that stains are semi-transparent. If you don’t prepare and clean your concrete surface thoroughly, blemishes, cracks, and other flaws will still appear on your concrete floor even after staining it. 

After you are done with the cleaning, give the floor some time to dry before proceeding to the next step.

2. Test the stain

This is something you expect to last for a lifetime and you don’t want any regrets in the future. Testing is essential especially if you’ve decided to DIY the project. You need to pick an area that receives less traffic. 

The reason for testing the stain is to ensure that the concrete surface is thoroughly prepared and free from dirt, debris, and any other obstacle. Again, it is through the test that you will find out if the stain will react properly and if you like the results. Once you are satisfied with the results of the test, you can move to the next step.

3. Stain the concrete

You will need to be extra careful when applying the stain, especially if it is an acid-based stain. 

First, you need to cover the areas that you do not wish to stain, for instance, the walls or door frames. Here you may use masking tape and a cover material resistant to water.

A laying duct tape comes in handy when you want to have more intricate styles or clean edges.

When applying the stain, you must ensure that you have an even coverage. For this, you will need a specialized sprayer to apply the stain. Alternatively, you may use a sponge or paintbrush to precisely control the application of the stain.

Once you’ve covered all areas of your concrete surface, give it enough time to dry. The drying time of the concrete stain will vary depending on various factors like temperature, airflow, and humidity. Besides, stain manufacturers will always advise on the required drying time of the stain.

4. Neutralize the stain and seal it

To stop the chemical reaction between the stain and the concrete surface, you will need to neutralize the stain by washing the stained concrete floor. This can be done using clean water and baking soda/ammonia. 

However, neutralization is only applicable when using an acid-based stain, water-based stains do not require neutralization.

The final step is covering the stained concrete surface with a protective sealer. This makes the stain even more durable. Again, you need to consult your product label on the recommended sealer to use. 

After that, you are good to go!

 Concrete Staining - A Quick Guide to an Attractive Surface

If Your Floor Did Not Take in the Acid as Expected

Concrete surfaces will always behave differently to acid stains depending on their previous composition. If you’ve done concrete staining long enough you will inevitably notice isolated sections that don’t respond to staining as you’d wish.

After staining, you remain with light patches which might be because of a barrier in the concrete. The problem might also be an underlying chemical (perhaps a previous stain). Sometimes it’s a petroleum contaminant that covers the concrete pores so that the new acid stain doesn’t properly penetrate through. With all these possible reasons, you must do tests on your concrete to establish what’s behind the small areas not accepting stain.

Sprinkle your concrete floor with water and see what happens. If it beads up, it probably has concrete sealer remains, grease, or any other petroleum contaminant that is making it hard for your acid stain to penetrate the depths of the concrete. If this is the case, you will have to degrease, clean the floor again, and rinse it properly so it can take in the new acid stain.

How to Neutralize and Rinse Your Concrete Floor

Before you fix your stained concrete using another acid stain, you must neutralize and rinse the affected area. You’ll realize that some previous stains contain heavier residue than others. Some won’t even have any residue at all. To rinse such a concrete floor, you can hose it, use mops, a wet/dry vac, and a broom with soft bristles.

Fill a mopping bucket with water and add 12 to 16 ounces of ammonia, baking soda, or t.s.p. Then use the solution to mop and brush the affected area. It’s critical that you don’t over scrub to get rid of the acid stain residue as well as any stains that you might be having. Thankfully with the solution removing residue from your concrete becomes fairly simple. Just take note that your goal is not to remove all the residue and it’s not important for the course. Though you need to remove as much as possible. The goal is to neutralize the floor surface, which can happen in two washes without eliminating the residue.

Though neutralized, your residue will still be capable of harming your vegetation. So, don’t trash it aimlessly. Empty it in a predestined dumping place. Also remember to wear protective gear when dealing with these products.

Avoid the DIY Route by All Means

Doing a concrete staining job is easy when in the right hand. That’s why the Youtube concrete guy is doing it so effortlessly. But if you’ve not tried it before, it would be a bad idea to experiment with your floor – regardless of your “do it yourself abilities”.  Apart from doing a bad job, you might get hurt in the process, requiring you to spend money on hospital bills. What was initially intended to save on flooring costs becomes costly.

People do a lot of weird things to fix their bad staining job. We’ve seen some individuals paint their concrete surfaces using wall paints, which is not advisable. Of course, unless you want to constantly struggle with paint chips on your furniture and shoes every time you walk on your floor.

A professional flooring expert like Las Vegas Concrete Contractor invests in the best quality equipment and material and they come with a skill set acquired over time to stain your concrete. So when hand them a flooring job for your workplace, your home, or any other surface, they deliver a perfect staining job with a nice finish. Even more importantly, you get lasting results and save money in the long run.

 Concrete Staining - A Quick Guide to an Attractive Surface

How Much Will Fixing My Stained Concrete Cost?

The cost of fixing a stained concrete floor depends on a variety of things. First off, the depth of damage that needs fixing must be established. Is it a crack in the concrete, a scratch on the surface, or just an undesired color or scurf on the floor? How big is the damage? Is it a single spot on the floor or the entire floor that needs fixing? Damage on a 50 square foot surface is obviously cheaper than a 1000 square foot surface repairs.

The nature of your floor surface also plays a role in determining the price. A single square surface would be more affordable to fix than one with several corners and hidden sections. A 200 square foot floor is easier to handle than several rooms on the same floor surface. This is due to the many closets, edges, and corners.

It goes without saying that the desired outcome can push the costs higher or lower. Those looking to fix the floor and achieve specific high-end patterns will spend more than those who need plain surfaces.

Also, individual projects have unique challenges and personalization requirements, which must be addressed before deciding on the costs of the concrete staining project. One client might have a floor without a finish that they want to be fixed. We often recommend finishing these surfaces which contribute to increasing the price. A finished design you might want in your garage floor finishing might be different from the one you want for your living room.

Typically, to stain concrete (whether on a new project or a repair) will cost anywhere between $7 and $15 per square foot. As a contractor, charge between $3 and $5 per square foot for a simple stain job and between $12 and $25 per square foot for high-end patterns and designs.

Concrete Can Be Improved With Staining

Bare concrete can be improved into an amazing structure to match the theme of your space. You can go the water-based staining way or choose to acid stain it. Regardless of your choice, you still create a beautiful surface that is durable. What we discuss above is the quick process to achieving great results. While you can do this as a DIY project, hiring a flooring expert is the best approach. They understand the industry better and capable of recreating your vision into reality. Plus, you get advice based on their experience.

Image courtesy of Francisco Nogueira