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. 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?

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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


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