Everything You Wanted to Know about Stained Concrete Flooring

Are you looking for a tried and true durable flooring solution but are bored of tiles? Do you need your flooring to have the durability of concrete but, at the same time, you want your house to be fashionable? Give your home a fresh new look and choose to install stained concrete flooring. This type of flooring can solve many flooring questions and issues:

  • The hard surface is unmatched; it collects less dust and dirt, agents that cause problems for people with allergies.
  • You can create the look you want with the scoring patterns you select, and the color you choose for stain.
  • As long as you are starting with a solid, stable foundation, the flooring will not crack or shift on you over time.
  • Concrete Flooring is incredible affordable!

Why Choose Stained Concrete Flooring?

One of the smartest ways to make your floor a visually appealing space is to use stained concrete. Selecting stained concrete flooring for major projects has become one of the most popular flooring approaches in both new construction and renovations. The unique character it adds to a home is one of the reasons people are choosing it, rather than any other flooring option. Stained concrete flooring is durable, easy to clean, and is perfect for people who suffer from allergies.

1. Choose Concrete Flooring to Keep Allergies at Bay

It is well documented that carpet can be a major factor in an increase in allergies. The fibers in carpet trap dust, dirt, mold, and other allergens, and no amount of vacuuming or carpet cleaning can prevent this from recurring. Proper installation and sealing the concrete floors with a non-VOC sealer will make it impossible for any mold growth underneath these floors, a problem that hardwood or even laminate floors can have. Concrete flooring is easy to clean and maintain and a really smart and inexpensive choice, especially for allergy sufferers!

2. Having Concrete Flooring is an Easy Process, From Installation to Matinence

Installing stained concrete flooring is not only an easy process, but also highly cost efficient. The durability of concrete flooring is an added advantage. You may wonder if it is difficult to clean this type of floor or if cleaning stained concrete requires any special processes or products, but this is not the case with this type of flooring. Cleaning is completely easy, especially since, if properly installed, the stained concrete floor will be smooth and will not catch dust or stains easily. Stained concrete flooring not only helps in maintaining a clean home, but also a healthy home.

3. You Can Customize the Flooring Colors and Effects

You can make your own color variations in the stained concrete by mixing and matching or applying acids at different rates. Different application processes allow you to control how mottled or marbled the stained concrete flooring looks. If you prefer the marbled look, you will simply spray the acid on the concrete when staining, as this will give it the most variegated design. If you want to downplay the mottled look, you can use a push broom or other brush to go over the wet acid in a figure-8 motion to make it smoother and more even. Don’t expect the final look of the stained concrete to be a smooth color, though, because this finish is translucent, so there will be areas of darkness and lightness naturally in the concrete finish.

Getting a customized look to your floor is another reason for selecting stained concrete flooring. When selecting stained concrete flooring keep in mind that acid will give your floors a marble-like, variegated color pattern. The colors that are usually seen in this concrete flooring are browns, reddish browns, and even green. An added advantage of this type of flooring is that making changes to the staining on this kind of flooring is just as hassle free as installing it; hence you can have a change of patterns or color every few years if you so desire.

So How Do You Go About Customizing Your Concrete Flooring?

This may be the best part: staining concrete flooring for a completely customized look is an easy thing to DIY!
Pouring and curing a concrete floor is a very doable process, if you are willing to put in the labor. Typically, with concrete, it is almost always worthwhile to hire a licensed contractor to install an interior concrete floor, since the labor involved is intense, mistakes can be costly, and the materials used in a concrete floor are so inexpensive. If, however, you are going to do the concrete pouring yourself, there are limitless how-to videos out there to show you how. This how-to video is a great short video that shows you the process on a small scale, but gives the specifics of the process of installing concrete inside the home.

Staining Concrete Flooring

Once the concrete is installed, make sure you follow these pre-requisites before staining concrete flooring in your home:

  • A brand new concrete floor that is not worn is the best option for staining. If you are starting with a preexisting concrete floor and just wanting to stain it, it must be completely smooth and uniform in order for the stain to make the flooring look the best that it can.
  • If you are staining a newly poured concrete floor, it is important to allow time (at least three weeks, depending upon the suppliers instructions) for it to cure completely before you attempt to stain it.

Now, you are ready to stain the flooring! While the process is called “staining” and these are referred to as “stained concrete,” you do not actually use a stain on the concrete floor. What you are really doing is causing a chemical reaction between the minerals in the concrete, the acid you will be using, water, and inorganic salts. This chemical reaction creates the colors and the mottled look on the concrete floor.

What Tools Do You Need to Stain Concrete Flooring?

There are very few tools that you need to stain concrete flooring. Check out the video below (yes, I realize the intro is a little silly, but it is very informative and, hey, also fun!) for an overview of the process and a little more detail about the concrete and staining process. After the new concrete is poured and has cured (or, if you are staining preexisting concrete, it has been cleaned thoroughly), you will need to gather the following tools for your acid staining process:

  1. A Sprayer (or assorted sprayers): The manufacturer of the concrete staining acid will recommend the right kind of bottle for your product. You may also want to spritz the concrete with water from another spray bottle to further dilute the stain and produce a little more variation within the coloring.
  2. Paint Roller: To apply the sealer after the acid application process is finished.
  3. Masking tape and paper: Before starting, make sure to carefully mark off walls and floors where the stain will not go, as acid stains are permanent.
  4. Rubber gloves and safety glasses: You are working with acid, be sure to err on the side of caution! Also, make sure to wear heavy duty shoes and clothes that you won’t mind ruining.

The basic process is that you will do the staining simply by spraying the acid solution onto the concrete in several applications. Brushes, assorted sprayers, and dilutions of the acid with water and ammonia concentrations can all be used to increase the customization and really enhance your final completed masterpiece. One customized stained concrete floor I saw had a sun pattern scored into the concrete. Someone had gone to a lot of effort and laid gold glitter into the scores before the stain was applied. After the final “varnish” coat was finished, the gold glitter solar pattern was still visible, but subtle and really unique.

143 thoughts on “Everything You Wanted to Know about Stained Concrete Flooring

  1. We had our floors stained and that if fine but the sealer is pooled some places and dull some places we had it done what can you do to make it smooth?

  2. If you are talking about how to make the stain even, at this point I’m not sure there is anything you can do. If you are trying to make the concrete smooth, short of sanding it I’m not sure there is anything you can do.
    But if you want to make the sheen even, try applying a coat of water-based polyurethane approved for concrete to fill in the surface of the concrete and create an evenly reflective surface.

  3. I have stained and scoured concrete flooring in my house, and I’m trying to find the best way to clean/mop it. What do you recommed using, or is there a special cleaner for stained concrete flooring?

  4. What did you seal your flooring with? That will make some difference as to what you do to clean it. If you used a sealant that’s formulated for concrete, check to see what it suggests for cleaning. I’m a big advocate of vinegar water cleaning: it’s cheap, effective, natural and non-toxic. But, it’s not the right cleaning solution for every floor.

  5. We have approximately 1500 sq. feet of scored and stained concrete in our new home (1 year old). About 6 weeks ago, at the advice of the company who did our floors for us during construction, I applied 2 coats of a mop-on acrylic floor finish (sold from them) with a microfiber mop. It really shined up the floor but it shows scuff marks terribly- just from walking across the floor in shoes. Last week the guy who cleans our home, who is a custodian by trade, spray buffed the floor with a high speed burnisher and a “Gorilla” pad. He actually started with a Gorilla “Lite” pad, but it did not remove the scuff marks very well. The more aggressive pad did remove the scuff marks (temporarily anyway), but there are now places where you can see circle marks in the floor- like the circular outline of the pad from the burnisher. There are also places where the floor has a weird reflection in the light- like when you look at it and move your head back and forth- I don’t know- sort of a halo or hazy look in places. First of all, what would have caused those marks to appear and how can we prevent them? I watched him burnish the floor and I could not see that he moved too slowly, or lingered too long over one spot, but maybe he did. Also- what about the halo/hazy areas? I’m assuming that is in the finish and not in the concrete itself- what can be done about those? Also- he is suggesting coming back and scrubbing the floors and then applying at least 2-3 coats of a more durable floor finish, something that would resist scuffs better than the product that is currently on the floor. Does this sound reasonable, and is their a product you would recommend for this?

  6. If you didn’t have the scuff-mark problem before you used the acrylic floor finish it seems to me the acrylic is reacting to the material shoe soles are made of. With all that you are seeing now, I’d remove the acrylic finish.
    If you feel you need a finish, find one made for stained concrete floors — and hopefully is low VOC to keep your air quality good — and apply that.
    But at the very least, I think you need to get rid of that acrylic coating. It seems your various troubles began after applying that product.

  7. How do you clean a stained concrete floor that does not have the shiny sealer? The previous homeowners stained and sealed it, but did not like the sealer, so they stripped it. The color has faded drastically in high traffic areas. Should we try to have it RE-STAINED?
    Desperate for cleaning suggestion.

  8. I would think you could clean the floor with vinegar water whether the floor was sealed or not. It sounds as if you can’t do too much more damage to it than the previous owners already have done.
    Personally, I like an even tone to my floors so would restain the floors. Some would argue that you have an “old world” look with the traffic patterns showing — so you get to decide if you like the look an can live with it, or if you want to make it look new again.
    Once you have made your decision and the floor looks the way you want it to, seal it to preserve it. And to make it easier to clean.

  9. I own a restaurant and we have sealed concrete floors throughout. I don’t mean sealed with polyurethane, just something the previous owners of the building put on the raw concrete to make it easy to mop. I want to stain my floors, but I don’t know if I can do it since they’re already sealed. What do you think?

  10. I wonder if you can do something to etch or rough-up the present seal so you can stain the concrete. And once the stain is dry put another sealer on the concrete. Since I don’t know what was put onto the raw concrete I can’t be sure if you have a solution. Do you have any way of finding out what was used?

  11. I don’t know what was used, but it’s not slick by any means. I’ve done some research, and what I’ve found has said that if water doesn’t bead on it, it’s probably rough enough to take a stain. And mine is. I want to create a faux leather look, and would like to use something less toxic that the acid stains. I’ve been told I can use wood stains, since they’re created to color a porous surface. What do you think? Do you know what technique to use to create the look of leather?

  12. EcoProducts has a soy-based, non-toxic concrete stain you should try. They also have a concrete sealer that’s non-toxic and also low VOC.
    I don’t know if it will work with this product, but there is a technique that lets you create some great faux finishes. You buy a kit of a split roller and a split paint pan, pour one color in one side of the pan and another color in the other pan. Then you load the roller with stain/paint and use the sloppiest application style you can — criss cross your direction. The result is as blended as you want creating bold color statements or more subtle. I’ve seen the look of marble, water, leather and tie-dye created with this technique. I think if you get a light tan and a dark tan you could create a great leather look.
    When you have the look you desire and it’s dry, be sure to seal it with several coats of low VOC “polyurethane”.

  13. Please answer further for the situation “Tim on December 27” described. We did exactly the same thing and sealed the stained concrete with a water based acrylic sealer which scuffs badly. You recommended removing the acrylic but did not say what to do it with.
    The acrylic is what brought the color out from the stain. We heard you can put 3-4 sacrificial coats of wax on top of 1 coat of acrylic but no one has specified a particular type or brand of wax. Can you help with this also?

  14. There are finishes especially designed for concrete floors. Maybe the problem under discussion here is that an acrylic finish that wasn’t formulated for concrete was used and the results aren’t ideal.
    If you want to remove your acrylic finish, replace it with one formulated for concrete floors. I love the Diamond Coat Varathane products, but they won’t guarantee their flooring product for concrete, despite consumers writing with positive testimonials. I hope they come out with a concrete flooring product I can recommend.
    I don’t wax my floors so I don’t know what kind of wax to recommend to you. Good luck in finding out. Maybe you can report back here what you decided on.

  15. We have acid stained floors that were sealed with wax. I hate the fact that any oils spilled in the kitchen show and that the floors are not shiny. Is there a way to strip the wax and seal with a poly product?

  16. Buffing with a red pad will get up some of the wax, but I’m concerned that if you try to get all of the wax off that way you’ll damage the concrete. Most cleaners are caustic so will hurt you and possible the floor, so be careful how you proceed.
    I hear Rejuvenate, found at Home Depot and other such stores, has a product that removes wax. Try ammonia and water, the recipe possibly being right on the ammonia bottle.
    Once you have the wax off and the floor clean, use a water-based polyurethane that’s formulated for concrete floors.

  17. I have 3200 sq. ft. of professionally done acid stained concrete floors. They were then sealed by the pros with a sealant that they sprayed on and it did smell toxic (?) Anyway, I am having a problem finding a product to keep the floors shiney without scuffing the shine off and in some places it scratches. Currently I am using Johnson Wax Professional Low Maintenance Floor Finish but it needs to be reapplied every 2 weeks. Is there a product that will last MUCH LONGER? Thanks

  18. I’m guessing the sprayed on sealant wasn’t formulated for concrete floors so is wearing off faster than a proper finish would. Wax looks great on concrete floors but it isn’t as durable as other sealants. I think it’s time to strip the original sealant, clean the concrete well, and apply a sealant formulated for concrete floors — and there are low VOC formulas too.

  19. I don’t know green vendors in ABQ but there must be because of the amount of green building and action that is happening there. Eco-Procote products popped up in numerous online stores, but I never found outlets in your neighborhood.
    I discovered May 10-18, 2008, in ABQ there will be a Sustainability Week with green home tours, workshops, lectures and more. If you haven’t found a store by then, I bet you can get leads there.
    Good luck!

  20. I am planning to do a basement floor, 900 SF, with a 1/2 bath and set up an open area with a home office in part and play-rec area in rest. I am unsure as to which I will be happiest with, WAX or SEALER-FINISH. If wax, how to apply and same question for sealer-finish.

  21. I’m not a fan of wax surfaces, after watching my mother with her wax-finish breakfast table. Too much work. I don’t know if floors have as much upkeep, but I can’t imagine a wax-finished floor would be as effort-free as a sealer-finished floor.
    Consider using the soy-based stain and sealer.

  22. I just finished acid staining 2500 sf in our new construction. Very labor intensive, but between a few of us, we got the entire job done in about 5 days. It takes time between steps to allow floors to dry. Begin with an concrete prep which ‘etches’ the concrete, making it accept the stain easier. Thorough neutralizing, and then multiple rinsings, 2 coats of sealer, and then 5-7 coats of a very thin wax (mop it on with rag mop). We’ve covered the floors to protect them from the drywall process. We love the look….very rich looking. A combination of ‘almost black’ and ‘dark canyon’ were used. The floor was scored when it was poured in 4 foot squares.

  23. Your floors sound wonderful. It sounds like a lot of work, but it seems you are content the work was worthwhile. Let us know, please, how the wax holds up — to see if I can break my “fobia” of wax finishes — and how the floors are in the maintenance department.

  24. We hate our stained concrete floors. They were sealed with a wax only, and also show all grease and oil type stains. We would like to put tile and wood down, but have heard that any floor that requires gluing cannot be used on the waxed concrete. Any suggestions?

  25. I have a 40 year old basement floor we are preparing for acid stain. We have removed the linoleum tile, rubber back carpet and glue. How do you recommend prepairing the surface before we stain. There are many imperfections, so some form of grinding or sanding will be required.

  26. Hi Holly,
    I can’t tell from your post if you really hate the concrete floor or just the wax…….
    Did you know that you can strip off the old wax sealer on your concrete floor? Yep – you sure can! Search around the site using the ‘search’ function with keywords like concrete, acid, stripping, etc. and I’m sure you’ll find some useful information. Don’t forget to try searching with your favorite search engine too! Once you have the wax stripped, you shouldn’t have the issues that you’re concerned with about laying down a different floor if you want to. Best of luck, let me know what you decide and how it goes!

  27. Hi Duncan,
    I guess the first question is “How badly damaged is the floor?”. Staining isn’t going to cover cracks, pieces that fallen out, etc. If we’re not talking about cracks and missing chunks, then yes, you might need to grind and sand.
    If you can avoid the grinding/sanding do.Try just to scrape the floor, and scrub it well with a black pad & buffer. While the floor is wet you’ll be able see what all needs to be cleaned up. Use some kind of a citrus degreaser as well, if there’s any old greasy stuff it’ll have a negative impact on the stain doing it’s job properly. Be sure to rinse well and use a shop vac to make a quicker, easier job of it.
    If you’re floor is in really, really bad shape, you might want to use a concrete renovator, just be sure to follow the directions. Best of luck and be sure to check back in and let everybody know how it went!

  28. Hey Duncan! I also meant to mention that IF your concrete floor has lots of chips out of it, gouges, cracks, etc. that you might also want to consider resurfacing it. That way you’re starting with a fresh new concrete floor. Just have to let it cure first.

  29. Cyndi,
    What brand of acrylic did you seal your flooring with? It could make some difference as to what you do to clean it. If you used a sealant that’s formulated for concrete, check to see what it suggests for cleaning.
    I’m a big advocate of vinegar water cleaning: it’s cheap, effective, natural and non-toxic. But, it’s not the right cleaning solution for every floor.
    And be sure to polish the floor after cleaning it, with any cleaner. A quick swipe with a dry rag or mop will do the trick.

  30. We just bought an older home that needs some renovating, we tore up most of the old carpets throughout the house and found to our surprise we had terrazzo floors underneath, but in the family room with a pre-existing built in shelving unit there is a concrete floor, we were thinking about staining it. How hard of a process is this? and is it practical for this type of sit. where there big obstacles in the way and small children in the home? is it safe?

  31. Hi Amy!
    Wow – lucky you! The staining process itself isn’t difficult, but it does take time & effort to complete the steps. The easiest part is applying the stain! I’m not sure what you are referring to about ‘big obstacles in the way’, so I really can’t answer that unless you tell me more about this. As far as ‘is it safe’, I presume that you are concerned about air quality/fumes?? If so, there are low VOC products available as well as organic soy-based stains. Just be sure to learn all you can about stained concrete flooring here at this site and by using a search engine to find more results. You’ll find lots of info to read thru, but it’s best to know all that you can before starting a project. ;~)

  32. Flooring Lady,
    We have had stained concrete for 10 years and the wear is evident. We waxed the surface but haven’t been diligent about out reappling. Now we have ground in dirt and need a deep clean and a re-wax. We used Kemiko stain and stone tone wax. Any ideas how to get the dirt out other than hands and knees and a scrub brush? We are talking about our entire home.

  33. Hi Amy!
    This is probably a good job for StainSolver.
    It works miracles, with a brush to dislodge the dirt, with concrete. I cleaned my patio years ago from the dirt and grime that had accumulated through the years. It looked great when I was done.

  34. What is the best way to clean my stained concrete in my home. It is a new construction home and I am having a hard time figuring out the best method. I was told to use any mopping solution, but they all seem to leave a residue, making it appear to be more dirty than it was before.. Help me!

  35. I just purchased a home with a beautiful reddish brown concrete floor in the living room. It looks like someone has drug funiture or something across the floor leaving scratches. How can I get rid of the scratches and put a nice shine on the floor?

  36. Hi Jack,
    Well, that would depend. Does it appear that the floor was sealed? If so, you may be able to get by with buffing it out. Depending on the condition of the floor, and if it it’s sealed and polished, you may need to re-apply polish, or again, just may need to buff it a little with a fine polishing pad. Hopefully, it doesn’t need stripped.
    How was the concrete treated to make it brown? Is it a stain, or something mixed in the concrete, painted??? It’s really difficult for me to pin down a solution without knowing what gave the concrete it’s color and if it appears to have been sealed/polished.

  37. No the scratches look like theyre on top of the surface. I just want to have a nice showroom shine and scratch free surface. What should I use for the shine and to get the scratches off? Thank You.

  38. Ah, now I see! :~) I’d try buffing it with a white pad. If that still doesn’t work or you’re not happy with the result, I’d be afraid that you’ll have to strip that spot and re-apply the sealer (if needed) and finish/polish. Hopefully, that will help you out so that you don’t have to strip the whole floor and refinish/polish.

  39. Hello, i have stained concrete in my home and my dogs nails have scratched it. Can you help me get them out. I would really appreciate it.
    Thank you

  40. Our church is adding a fellowship hall, i.e. pot luck meals, performances etc, that will also be used for sports i.e. basketball & volleyball. We are considering stained concrete flooring and are concerned about maintainence. What is the recommended method for maintaining the floor and how often would it need to be resealed?

  41. Hi Bob,
    Most of the time, the floor can be cleaned with just a water/vinegar solution. There’s no telling how often the floor would need to be resealed – hopefully years if the sealer is good enough and enough coats are used. This is definitely one time where it won’t pay to be stingy with the sealer! It sounds like it might be a good idea to look into commercial products as they are usually tougher.

  42. Hi,
    I have stained concrete floors that are sealed and waxed. I am putting in area rugs and was told to be careful of the type of carpet pad I use. Any suggestions? Can I just use regular carpet pads that are sold at flooring stores?

  43. I am leasing a commercial building with a concrete floor that I am thinking of staining. I am wondering, if after my lease expires, there is a way to remove the stain finish and bring the floor back to it’s original condition.

  44. Hi Sherry,
    That’s an interesting question! I’ve haven’t run across anybody ever wanting to ‘undo’ the stain on a concrete floor. I did some investigating and couldn’t find a concrete answer. (Pun intended) I would think the only way to remove the stain would be to cover it up with fresh concrete (which can bring with it a whole assortment of issues!) to literally having to grind down the concrete to get beneath the stain, which is probably going to damage the concrete. The staining process is a chemical reaction and goes into the concrete, there’s not any way to get it out once it has gotten in there.
    Any chance of talking your idea over with the owner(s) and see if they’ll let you do it even though it’s a permanent change?

  45. I am in the process of staining a basement living room, and during my cleaning work I scratched the floor with a shop vac picking up. The stain didn’t cover scratches, I tried to sand them off using 60 grit on a floor polisher, and also tried to strip and re-stain. There are still some scratches. Any ideas? Could they have scratched the stain and the chemical reaction didn’t take place?

  46. I have a basement floor that I want to redo! It is concrete—and a mess. It has different layers of paint, pits and stains. My husband wants to cover it it tile (boring); I want to either stain in or paint it. Because of condition of floor, do you think I should have fun with paint…or get the floor to bare bones and stain it???

  47. Hi Deborah,
    You know, it really depends on what YOU want to do with the floor and how much work you’re willing to do (or how much work you can get your hubby to do!). I know, I know….. that’s not very helpful Flooring Lady! But you’re the one living there and YOU know what you want. :~)

  48. I’m not the expert The Flooring Lady is, but I’d paint it and have lots of fun with it. Maybe you can even use the flaws as part of the pattern or design.

  49. I’ve gotten good results with StainSolver. There are products available at most any home improvement store. I prefer StainSolver because it’s environmentally friendly, won’t hurt me or the vegatation around my patio. ;o) Has more bleaching power than OxyClean too!

  50. We just bought an old home and ripped up the carpet. It had really cool stained floors. However when we took out the carpet tack strips the concrete came with it. I would love to patch the holes. Can I restain the floor once i am done?

  51. Hi Shannon,
    Wow, I’m sorry that I somehow overlooked your post.
    Yes, you can stain your concrete, you just have to make sure you do what is necessary to get the concrete ready to accept the stain. You need to remove as much adhesive as possible and might need to rent a machine to kinda grind the surface of it and then smooth it afterwards. It has to be clean & dry. There’s lots of resources on the internet to read more about what is involved – just hit up your favorite search engine (like Google).

  52. Hi Tim,
    Yes, you can patch the holes and stain what you’ve patched, but it might be difficult to match the color. So long as you can get a rather close match and you can live with it not being exact, then I’d definitely go for it.

  53. My concrete floor was stained by my contractor when the house was built. They did a great job of making sure it was covered correctly to protect the stain. Then the painters came in and put tape on the floor. Now there are areas where the stain was pulled up and you can see tape marks. Any suggestions? Can I restain the floor by stripping the sealer and starting over? I’m confused. Thanks!

  54. Hi Debra,
    How long ago has it been since all this happened (staining and then painting the walls)? Seems to me that the whoever is in charge of the painting crew should have to have your floor fixed – preferably by the contractor who stained it. If they’re all part of the same ‘team’ then that makes it all the easier – the contractor should still have to fix it.
    Another thing that strikes me as ‘odd’…. you mentioned that the stain was pulled up off the floor by the tape that the painters used. This should not have happened since the stain is supposed to be a permanent thing. It sounds like the cement floor wasn’t prepared properly for the stain to do it’s job.
    Any idea if the stain is acid based or acrylic?
    You can try to re-stain the areas that lifted up yourself, but I don’t think that you should have to. It shouldn’t be possible to restain the floor – it’s supposed to actually soak into the concrete some and you’d literally have to grind it out mechanically. (concrete scrubber) This is a terrible situation, just hope the painters were part of your contractor’s crew to simplify things. I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

  55. Yes, thanks it is a terrible situation. The floor has been down three years. It is acid etched. It seems as though it wasn’t finished correctly with a sealer – wouldn’t that have stopped the tape from lifting the stain? You mentioned that the painters/contractors would have to ‘fix it’. What exactly would they do? Is the only solution grinding it down? Is there some sort of overlay that would work? Thanks for your help.

  56. Hi Debra,
    It’s a bit difficult to tell what exactly is going on because I can’t see it. I’m guessing the stain didn’t adhere properly, it could have been the sealer, but I doubt it. The stain is supposed to….well, stain, right? Stains don’t come out or lift off so easily.
    Since it’s been so long since it was stained, I doubt there’s much that can be done on the contractor’s end (unless you had some sort of warranty), but I still think that the painting contractor should have to get it fixed. A new thin layer of concrete can be applied and restained, but I’d really just try for restaining the parts that lifted up with the tape and hope that you can live with it. Grinding & sanding is an option too, but a pain in the butt. Only thing that worries me is if you lay a new thin layer to have stained that it may cause problems with doors and such.
    I presume the painters noticed what had happened??

  57. I have stained and scored concrete floors in my home. I am having a difficult time finding something that will get dirt/spills/pet accidents out of the scored areas. What will get down in the scores and really clean the dirt out without me being on my hands and knees with a tiny brush. I wondered if a steamer would do the trick???

  58. It might, but you need to be careful that the heat doesn’t damage the finish. Sometimes the only way to remove dirt that has been in crevices for a while is to do just want you don’t want to do (as I’ve found out this week here at home!). Ugh. Tip of the week: vacuum or damp mop on a regular basis to keep dirt from lodging in crevices……..

  59. Our floors are acid stained floors. I would like them to have a shine to them. I would like to know what I can mop with to give them a shine. I tried a floor cleaner, mop and glow and we had to leave the house the smell was so bad, needless to say I haven’t done that again, as it took weeks to get the smell out of the house, the acid and the cleaner didn’t mix. Live and learn. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

  60. Hi Sereta,
    Cleaning methods for your floor largely depend on what it was sealed with. Usually nothing more is needed than cleaning with a mild vinegar/water solution (about 15:1) with a microfiber mop and following with a dry microfiber mop head or microfiber cloth to ‘polish’ it.
    The cleaners you have previously used may have left an additional finish that would have to be stripped, I can’t say for sure since I don’t know what all you’ve used. It would probably help to literally have your flooring buffed.
    Mop ‘N Glo (Triple Floor Shine) contains Dipropylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether and is supposedly unscented. I don’t know, I don’t use it because I don’t like to use chemicals.

  61. I have stained concrete floors. I don’t know if they or acid stain or not, it was done by the homeowner before me when he built the house (6 years).
    There are some spots (discolorations) in areas of the floor. Almost looks like paint dripped on the floor and they wiped it up but it left a dark mark. My neighbor had their concrete floors refinished but have since moved away, so I don’t know who or what they did. My floor also seems dull.
    Is there anything I can do to refinsh the floor, get rid of the spots, touch it up, and/or brighten it up. I’m pretty handy around the house and not afraid to try and refinish the floor myself. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  62. Hi! My husband and I are building a home. The floor was stained the wrong color. We actually wanted a darker color on the floor. The stained floor has been sealed. Is there any way to restain the floors darker before construction continues? Or, should we just cover it with a wood floor?

  63. Hi Amber,
    The sealer can be stripped and you can try staining the concrete again. Staining concrete is far from an exact science – there’s too many variables with the concrete itself. You could restain it with a darker color, but it doesn’t mean you’ll like it and might decide you still want to cover it with a wood floor.
    Have you discussed your options with your contractor?

  64. Hi Gerry,
    My main suggestions would be these:
    1. Make sure that the concrete will be in good shape before starting your project. If it’s not, it’s going to impact the final outcome. For ex.: if there are missing chips from where nails went into it, you can fill them in, BUT, those areas will be noticably different when stained, because it’s not the exact same concrete mixture. This is why you may want to consider having a new layer (a thin layer – don’t worry!) of concrete poured.
    2. Don’t have your mind set on exactly how you want the floor to look. Staining concrete floors is not an exact science, each floor reacts differently to the stains. Variations are 100% normal and 100% expected.

  65. Hi! I have stained concrete in my salon. I like the floors to look very shiny. A contractor told us to polish the floors with an on and on floor polish. Now the floor has a lot of coats on it and dulls so fast. We were told to rent a buffer and go over it and it would look like glass. Is that true? Will buffer remove stain? What type of buffer do I get?

  66. Hi Brandy,
    Yes, the buffer will most likely do the job and do it well! The buffer shouldn’t remove the stain either. Concrete stain is just that – a stain (that’s caused by a chemical reaction). It’s not just on the surfact, but penetrates the concrete.
    Just about any machine rental company will have a buffer to meet your needs and should be very helpful with additional questions you may have. Best of luck!

  67. Hi! Im doing a final clean on a polished stained concrete floor in a residentail house, but i have no idea how to get the shine back! I have used simple vinagar and water for the construction period, but now it seems to developed a matte finish! Is there any product you could recommend to do the job?

  68. My husband and I stained our living room floor ourselves. We recently put a new coat of gloss on it. However, since then we had brought plants in from outside and put them on a towel on the floor. The plants were watered several times. What I did not realize until I pulled up the towel was that I now have light colored spots on the floor where the pots were—perhaps calcium deposits from our hard water? The areas are also rougher than the glossy finish. What should we do? Should I try a little vinegar solution first?

  69. I had just posted about the problem with the discoloration on my stained floor under a damp towel where potted plants had been. I first sprayed a vinegar and water solution over this area, waited a bit, and sponged it, then rinsed off. This didn’t seem to help. So I sprayed straight vinegar and waited a bit longer before cleaning it off. I noticed no difference from this before I went to bed. I had made up my mind to get advice from a construction engineer I know. Today, however, I made a point of looking at the area and was astounded to find it looked great! I even ran my hand over the previously rough areas, and they were smooth once more. I don’t know WHAT happened, but I will accept this miracle—and not do anything to cause the same problem again!

  70. Hi Laurie,
    It sounds like the moisture from watering the plants just reacted with the sealer, making turn that white color until it dried out again. Once it dries out, it turns back to being clear. ;~)

  71. I recently purchased a house with black scored concrete flooring. The floor looks like it needs to be restained as the black is almost gone in some areas of the floor making it look the color of cement. Some of the rooms have a sheen to them, while other rooms are very dull. Much of the color however seems to have worn off. Can you restain an older floor to bring some life back into the color?

  72. Hi Patti,
    It certainly sounds like the previous owners didn’t keep up with maintaining their floor – what a shame. You’d probably have to strip and then restain and then seal (possibly buff too, depending on how high a sheen you want). I wonder if they actually stained it to start with. They may have ‘washed’ it with thinned down paint. That may not be so bad though – it’d probably be easier to get a more even result. If they actually used a cement stain it may be difficult to match perfectly.

  73. We built our house in 2005 and did stained concrete floors…I have not waxed them because I never could find the wax the lady who stained them told me to use and she went out of business or moved whatever could not find her and nobody in my area knew much about the care process. Anyway some of the stain looks to be coming off and last night a decorative oil type vase fell and seems to have removed the stain and it looks terrible. Can I re-stain or will that possibly buff out? What do you suggest?

  74. I don’t think I’m following your post all the way. What do you mean by a ‘decorative oil type vase’? Do you mean it had oil in it and it’s gotten on your floor? You’ll need to use something to clean it up and dissolve the oil. You can try to re-stain, though you will probably not get an exact match. Was the floor sealed? Any idea what it was sealed with? What kind of wax was recommended? Chances are you can find it online since you haven’t found a local source. It would help to know what the product is. It really doesn’t sound like it was sealed though, if the oil penetrated. More info would be a great help. If it has never been sealed, it should be. I’d recommend a product such as Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane. I can’t recommend which type to use as I don’t know what (if anything) is currently on your floor.

  75. It was one of those types of vases or jars that have all the peppers or other types of food in them and they are filled with oil probably some type of vinegar. It fell from the tops of my cabinets sometime during the night and I cannot believe it did not wake us up so I am unsure how long it had been there before my husband found the mess around 4:30am. My floor was sealed but not sure what she used to seal it. I know that she rolled the seal on with a paint roller. I also never knew what type of wax she wanted me to use she was supposed to bring back a gallon for me to have but never got around to it. They did not sell the wax in the town I live in. She did a great job on the floors and she knows her stuff but I cannot find her. (She did the HGTV dream house on Lake Tyler in Tyler, TX) if you watch that show. Also if we buff the floors, will that help with some of the scuffs and bring back some of the luster. My floors are still really pretty and in good shape just the high traffic areas could use some buffing or something. If we re-stain, would we need to stip it first or just stain right over it. It is not a great big area and if it was not the exact same pattern as long as the color was close because it is the coca cola stain, it would be better than the big white spot. My floors are not real uniformed in color because they look marbile in alot of areas and some do not and are more plain.

  76. I’m guessing the vinegar, being acidic, reacted with your floor. I wouldn’t bother with buffing just yet. Try to restain first – I don’t know if you’ll need to strip first – depends on if the area is still sealed. Does water bead up on that area? If so, you’ll need to strip the area and of course I’m not sure as to whether she used a water or oil-based sealer. Hopefully you’ll be able to pull this off – at least to get it to the point of where you can live with it. ;~)

  77. we have carpet down right now, and we were wondering that if we take it up and the undersides pretty clean, could we stain it. the house is about 20 years old

  78. We built our house 3 1/2 years ago and chose to have the scored concrete floors. I was in Home Depot the other day and saw a sealer for concrete floors, to add new sealer, My were sealed when the house was done, but not since. Will we have to strip them, or can I just add new sealer? Thanks!

  79. My home is 1 & 1/2 yrs old with stained concrete floors. The sealer/wax is cracking and flaking up. The entire surface has a cloudy look, unlike when we first moved in. Can I remove this sealer and strart over? If so, what’s the best method?

  80. Hi Keith,
    It sounds like something was used on the floor finish that shouldn’t have been. What did you maintain the finish with? I ask because it might determine what you’ll need to use to remove it.

    If you go to http://www.aquamix.com you’ll find they have a line of products formulated for concrete – it’s a good place to start to see what you’ll need. Sometimes stripping can remove some of the stain – you might want to see if it can be buffed out to improve it’s appearance. Not only will that be cheaper, but may save a lot of unnecessary work. ;~)

  81. We recently had a concrete patio poured. The concrete was colored (our choice)and then stamped with a release on it. The color is UGLY!!! The stamped areas hold lots of dirt and the light color we picked shows everything. When picking a color and a release color it would sure help if the place we bought the product had color combos to look at (not your problem I know). We sealed it after 4 weeks and added a rhino powder to reduce the slip. So heres my question. How do you prep the concrete for a new stain color, how do you pick a color or colors and keep the concrete from being slippery when wet? HELP. Thanks Ann

  82. Hi Ann,
    You’ll need to strip the concrete to remove the sealer. You can then use a concrete stain. Please do an internet search so you can learn more about stained concrete flooring and how to do it (or have it done) and the proper procedures for sealing. Staining concrete cannot be 100% controlled, but you can change the color from what you have now.
    As far as how to keep the concrete from being slippery when wet, there are products that you can apply to help with this – remember too though, that any surface is going to be more slippery when wet.

  83. We are putting on an addition and extending and remoldeling the kitchen. The addition is a poured slab, the old kitchen is wood sub floors. We have been looking at bamboo because of the concreate slab. The existing floors in the main house are old pine(the house was built around 1918). People are suggesting strand woven bamboo because of our pets. Is bamboo our only alternative? If thats true do I need to go with the strand wooven or could we use standard bamboo. We feel that if the the solid was dented or scratched it would just
    blend with the rest of the house…what would the Flooring Lady suggest? Thanks Roger

  84. Hi Roger,
    In this case, I would suggest that you get what you want. Pets can be hard on any floor. If you don’t mind your new flooring becoming distressed then that’s a plus. Many people don’t want their floors to achieve that distressed look from experiencing life and don’t consider it attractive. Some do!

  85. Any tips on stripping wax and sealer off of existing stained concrete? What do I use and how long do I let it sit? I have tried some acetone and paint stripper, the stripper is pretty harsh, and if you leave it on too lang can be pretty damaging!

  86. We have stained concrete floors in our poolhouse that have been sealed with several coats of finish. We are having problems with scuff marks everywhere!We can clean the floors but cant find anything that will remove these marks. Help!

  87. Help!
    We have 1300 sq ft of stained concrete in our home. We have been using QC Cemseal every six months to restore the original shine. However, the scuff marks are getting out of control and I am at my wits end. We are condidering having the concrete polished for a more industrial strength, but at almost $8,000 we are trying to find an alternate solution until we can afford the polishing. We have used Mop and glow, which made things worse and I can’t continue to seal this much floor every two-three weeks. Would a buffing help restore the floor or do we need to strip the floor and start over with another sealant?

  88. Hi Mark,
    This topic has been covered before, please read through the comments. You should also wander over to http://www.aquamix.com and look their products over. They also have a toll free number you can call and are very helpful. They have very good products, good reputation. You do have to be careful stripping stained concerete so that you don’t ruin the stain.

  89. Hi Jen,
    I’m not familiar with QC Cemseal, but I do know how awful Mop ‘n’ Glo is for floors. I don’t know if buffing would really help at all because you’re still going to be dealing with the same product(s) being on your floor. Unfortunately, it sounds as if stripping and sealing with another product may be just the thing to do, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to try buffing first and then being careful about wearing shoes that cause scuff marks or moving furniture.

  90. Thank you for responding. We have a water-base stained concrete, with three coats of an acrylic urethane, and one coat of a water-base concrete wax.

  91. Question 2. I stripped some of my existing concrete, and in some cases even used some light sand paper, and re-applied some stain to darken up some light areas in my house, and the stain didnt fizz, it also didnt take very well. I test stained a section in my garage (untuched concrete) and it fizzed like crazy. Why wont my stain fizz when re-applying to an already stained portion that was stripped? Can we post photos in this forum some how? Also, (and sorry for the long post!) How can I tell if my floors have been sealed with a sealer? I have this suspicion that my floors were “sealed” with 2 coats of wax and no sealer. Im about to strip a test area in my closet and apply sealer and wax and see waht happens.

  92. Hi Mark,
    It’s possible that there is still some sealer/wax residue. Also, remember, a stain is not actually used on the concrete floor, rather it is a chemical reaction that occurs between the minerals in the concrete, acid, water, and inorganic salts. You will probably need to abrade the floor some more in order to expose what the acid reacts with. This is why your floor should have been sealed first (helps seal in the color first) and then waxed/finished.

  93. We acid stained our entire house, Kemiko stain – vintage umber and black. It turned out beautiful! The supply shop we purchased it from recommended ‘Sta-bright’ sealer. It is a water based sealer that we just mopped on. We tested it in one bedroom. We like the satin finish it has (it doesn’t show dirt easily), however did not like depth of color and dry look. So we used a solvent based sealer for the rest of the house – ‘Misty-Clear’. We applied it with rollers, two coats. It looks fantastic. Provides a wet-look, and great depth of color. But it scuffs something awful, and doesn’t dry-mop well at all. The finish almost has a texture to it, and isn’t ‘polished smooth’. All of the sealers have been down now for four months, and we have never put a finish coat or wax down on top.
    My questions: Should we apply a wax or finish coat over the sealer to minimize the scuffing and make it easier to maintain and dry-mop? If so, how? Buff it on? Should we buff the sealer itself to get a smoother finish?
    Thanks so much for your help!

  94. Hi Timothy,
    I would try buffing it first before going to the expense of adding additional coats of sealer/finishes.
    If that doesn’t meet your satisfaction, you can apply more sealer or other finishes so long as they are compatible with the sealer you’ve already used.

  95. Hello! We’ve recently purchased a home with stained concrete floors. I thought it would be easy to maintain but found it to be rather challenging. I have a couple questions. #1 What is the best way to get hard water spots off? #2 Is there a way to clean it and it look like it was just cleaned with some kind of shine, or am I stuck with that dull look? I do not know how or if it was sealed. I just want my house to look clean when I’ve just mopped, not dusted.
    Thank you!

  96. Hi La Donna,
    I would suggest using a vinegar/water mixure to clean (1 part vinegar to 15 parts water or more), use a microfiber mop. I would also suggest either a second, dry microfiber mop head or microfiber towel/rag to avoid spots/streaking. The spots are simply caused from water sitting and drying naturally – the water needs to be cleaned up and not left to sit. Keep in mind too, it’s possible that the sealer needs buffed or even reappied (worst case scenerio is needing stripped & resealed – but doesn’t sound like it). Your shine is only going to be as good as the sealer’s finish and dependent upon if it was a high-gloss finish to start with.

  97. Hi: I acid stained our 2000 sq ft. 7 years ago.
    After about 2 years I urethaned with water based product to get a satin finish. The urethane did not lay flat. There were streak marks. I urethaned it again, and again you can see streaks where the light hits it. I am now selling my home and would like to correct this problem. I would really not want to spend the money to lay down wood or stone flooring.
    Please help.

  98. We have acid stained floors that were sealed with Briwax (after the recommendation of a friend, whose floors came out great with it). We now have 2 problems, the first is that recently paper was laid on the floor by a contractor who was doing a repair job and he taped the paper to the floor, now there are tape marks where the tape was, and everything I have tried won’t get rid of it. (Again, these are tape marks that were not there before staining). I thought concrete would be more durable than being susceptible to new tape marks, when the floor has long been finished. The second question is that in some places, not all and therefore not consistent, we get heavy scuff marks that won’t buff out. Thanks so much for any help you might have.

  99. Hi Cat,
    Why didn’t the contractor fix this? Was he made aware of it at all? Is the problem a tape residue or maybe more of something along the lines of lifting up some of the wax? Since the floor has long been finished, have you done anything to maintain the finish? Waxes do have to be reapplied every so often. What are you using to try to get the scuff marks off?

  100. Thanks for responding,…there was no contractor, we were the generals on the entire project. We finished and sealed the floors in December. It definitely was not tape residue and only appeared after tape and paper were applied recently. Since washing, scrubbing, and various cleaners haven’t changed the tape at all, it does look like the wax was lifted up where the tape was,..but when I applid more wax and rebuffed, there was still no change. That is also what I did to the scuff marks, but that didn’t resolve them either.

  101. I have a stained concrete floor on an outdoor balcony. After the spring it looks like pollen and dust are “stuck” on it. I’ve scrubbed it and cannot get it looking clean again. ideas?

  102. Hi Cari,
    I’ve never heard of anybody with that situation. Is the finish a little tacky or maybe just because of the texture of the concrete that pollen is getting into tiny low areas? Is the pollen literally creating a stain on top of your finish? What have you tried to clean it with?

  103. The surface is not tacky. I live in Dallas with very bad wind and pollen so maybe it is just stuck hard. I mopped it twice and scrubbed it with a kitchen scrubber and 409. Once it dries the areas I scrubbed looked as dusty as the other parts.

  104. Hi Cari,
    I’m not sure that using something as chemically harsh as 409 was the best idea – that combined with an abrasive scrubber wouldn’t be good for the finish. You’d think it still would have removed the pollen, damage to the finish or no. It sounds like the finish is damaged and in need of refinishing – that’s the only thing I can think of for why it looks so dull & ‘dusty’. You might want to try another coat of sealer/finish in a tiny area to see if this takes care of the problem – I’ll bet it does. ;o)

  105. I have just purchased a home with stained scored floors. I would like to lay bellawood that has to be glued in the living area and stone in the kitchen. I will leave the rest as they are.
    I have been told that I need to strip the stain and sealer off the floors. I have been researching
    and can’t get a definite answer on how to do this. Can you please help me?

  106. what do you use to clean stained concrete interior? I clean with only water/dry mop because I have heard that cleaners will dull my floors. My floors appear dull now- they were done 2.5 years ago. how do you keep them shiny and new?

  107. You can use warm water with a mild cleaner such as dish soap to clean your floor. Ammonia or vinegar are not recommended because these could damage the finish. You may need to re-buff your floor once in awhile to maintain the shine. You can use a high-speed buffer with a white pad for this. You should reseal every 3 or 4 years.

  108. I recently stripped & re-sealed my stained concrete floor to get rid of gashes in the sealer from dog claws. I used Quikrete High Gloss sealer to re-seal. Need to know what to use to remove oily foot smudges in the finish without dulling the shine. Nothing I have tried (vinegar, Spic & Span, Once N Done) removes the smudges. These products also dull the finish. The only way I can get rid of the smudges is to apply floor wax over them.

  109. Hi K, I would suggest trying a cleaner that is specifically for cleaning concrete. U48 Concrete Cleaner is one such biodegradable concrete cleaner that can be used on sealed concrete floors.

  110. What do you suggest for cleaning the floors regularly? I just can’t keep mopping the way I do – it is back breaking! I first clean mop, then I shine mop! It takes HOURS. I read that floor steamers are good for stained concrete. Would you recommend using one? Please help.

  111. Hi Alisa, There are professional cleaning products made specifically for cleaning stained concrete. Contact your local home improvement store and they can recommend some good products. I know people like floor steamers and I don’t see a problem with using that for your concrete.

  112. I’ve been reading up on the best way to regularly clean my 1500sf of stained concrete flooring. I noticed on some of your replies you recommend vinegar water and on other replies you say not to use vinegar because it can damage the finish. Can vinegar water be used to safely clean my floors? If not, what can be used other than plain water so that they look as if I’ve actually mopped them?

  113. Hi Flooring Lady,
    Great site! We have a dark stained concrete floor in our office that has some stains that we have figured out have come from hand sanitizer dripped on the floor.
    Is there a way to remove these stains?

  114. Hi Floor Lady,
    My brand new stained concrete floor is cracking all over, and has been sealed now for weeks. Any ideas on what to do to keep it from more cracks and cover the ones that are there?

  115. recently acid stained floor, then used sealer on it. It had a really nice matte look to it. I then used a liquid wax on it and now it looks horrible! It shows every little drop of water, scratches, etc.Am really disappointed. Have seen it done using a buffer and paste wax. Am going to remove wax finish and then reseal if needed. Can I then just buff it or can I use the paste wax (what brand) and buff it, hoping for a more matte look then I got with liquid wax. Thanks. Shirley

  116. Any,
    I would contact the concrete mason who poured the floor. A new concrete floor should not be cracking all over. You should probably find the source of the problem before doing any repairs.
    Be sure to ask what they suggest for repairing the damage that has already been done. It may be something that is covered for them to fix at no expense to you.

  117. My husband and I are remodeling our home, and we’ve been thinking about having stained concrete installed. I absolutely love the look of the different concrete. I didn’t realize that concrete flooring could help with allergies, as you explained! There are so many different benefits to having this flooring installed! Thanks for sharing!

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