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Concrete Acid Staining-How to Stain Concrete-Learn the Tips and Tricks to a Beautiful Stained Floor from a Professional

Updated on June 27, 2012

Concrete Acid Staining- Nearly Anyone can Stain Their Own Concrete Floors

    So you'd like to learn what a concrete stained floor really is and what it takes to install one yourself. Do It Yourself Concrete Stain floors are relatively easy to install and are an allergen free, durable and low maintenance flooring solution that is rapidly gaining popularity. The reason is that they can be installed for less than a $0.65 sq.ft. if you do them yourself and if properly maintained can last for a lifetime. There are many floors across the USA that were installed several decades ago and still look great today. Sounds Great doesn't it well let's take a closer look.

I have recently created a new How To Stain Concrete Blog to keep up with the every days changes in the industry. So drop by when you have a chance and you might learn something which is not covered here. Make it a Great Day!

Concrete Acid Staining-A few good reasons to acid stain your Concrete Floor

Allergen Free-Durable-Low Maintenance

Concrete acid staining can make a regular concrete floor look like expensive stone flooring. Several of the immediate benefits are that it is a fraction of the price, but one of the greatest benefits are that people allergic to carpeting don't have to worry.

The process of staining a concrete floor, while not overly complex, can be tough to get the results you want from. Many folks are probably better off hiring a professional contractor but it's not a risky project for the do-it-yourselfer.

If you're not familiar with it, concrete acid stain isn't a paint or finish coat. Typically a water-based solution of hydrochloric acid and inorganic salts, the stain reacts with minerals and lime in the concrete aggregate, and the result of the reaction is coloring. It works on new or old concrete, and is fairly durable if you maintain it with sealer or wax, since it won't stain or chip. It can also be applied to both interiors and exterior floors. Walkways, bathrooms, entrances, driveways, living rooms and patios are all fair game.

When it's finished, stained concrete looks a little like marble, but more mottled and varegated and less uniform. It's possible to make your own tint stain by mixing colors, or applying at dissimilar rates. When you stain a concrete floor, though, don't expect the stain to be uniform or have an even tone. Plan your room décor and color scheme accordingly, because you'll get dissimilar reactions from different areas of the concrete, and even a seasoned pro will be hard pressed to predict what the final result will be.

Surface prep for acid staining concrete depends on what condition your slab is in. Newly poured concrete only needs is be allowed time for curing-four weeks after pouring- then some rinsing and scrubbing to remove the dirt and latence from the surface. Older concrete is a different story. Thorough cleaning is required because any dirt, grease, paint, sealer or even curing agent will keep the stain from penetrating and reacting as it should. Do a little test area to make sure it's ready.

Newer poured concrete will require less stain than older floors, but in general, a gallon of water added to one gallon of stain will cover around 350-400 square feet. Apply the stain with a sprayer, working in the cooler morning or evening hours, rather than in the heat of the day. Be careful to protect yourself from spillage, drips and fumes from the acid stain, and follow the manufacturer's precautions. Ventilation is always a good idea.

After application, you need to cleanup by sweeping away any leftover stain and residue with a broom after flooding the floor with water. It is always a good idea to shop vac the water so as to get the residue up and out of the pores of the concrete and make it a little easier for the stain to get into the pores. When the floor is thoroughly dry, it is a good idea to apply a sealer agent and then wax it.

If you are in the market for natural stone flooring, a new look for your basement or patio, or just looking for new remodeling ideas, stained concrete is certainly something you should look into.

Concrete Acid Staining-How To Stain Concrete - Lear n How to Create a Concrete Stained Floor for Less Than $0.50 sq. ft.

This video will give you a detailed step by step formula for concrete stained floor success.

Required Reading for Achieving Beautiful Stained Concrete Floors

Little tips the make for a great stained concrete floor

We respectfully request that this information be Required Reading for Homeowners, Business owners, Builders and Subcontractor for the concrete slabs that are to be acid stained.

Concrete Stained Floor Requirements

1. The finished outcome of a concrete stained floor or concrete overlay floor is directly the result of the care and responsibility taken by the builder and subcontractor that work on the slab before the arrival of the concrete staining crews. As you cannot be onsite to ensure the care of the concrete floor it should be covered during the entire construction process.

We recommend that the slab not be covered with plastic after the pour is made as this will leave some very interesting marks in the slab that are not very appealing (or maybe they are). Masonite or plywood can be used until the slab is "dried in" and then two layers of roofing (heavy gauge rosin paper) paper can be used for the duration of the construction process provided that the subcontractors are all informed not to spill adhesives, paints, solvents, oils, varnishes or stains on the slab. Ha-Ha, what a joke cover the floor thoroughly, nobody cares

about your floor except you, trust me.

A. If this is new construction here are the instructions for the concrete to be poured:

1. A quality batch of concrete should consist of at least a 5 sack mix with no fly ash, retarders or chloride accelerators. The slab should be lightly power troweled to give a slick finish without creating too many "burns" in the concrete surface. This will give you a beautiful look and at the same time ensure that the concrete is readily stainable. The concrete should be wet cured using curing blankets for at least 7 days while keeping the concrete at all times wet during those 7days. ABSOLUTELY NO CURING COMPOUNDS ARE TO BE USED! The use of curing compounds will result in a slab that is either impossible or very difficult to stain and will be a very large additional cost to remove.

The paper should be taped together and the tape should not be applied to the concrete floor for any reason. This will act as a barrier (stain resist) to the stain when applied. The mistaken spilling of the contaminants will just add to the cost of the staining process because these are very hard if not impossible to remove and are not very attractive if exposed during the staining process.

The concrete floors are to be clean swept and removed of all building materials, furniture, equipment, and fixtures and the paper covering the floor. If you are using a contractor their fees usually do not include the removal of these items and fees will be assessed for them to remove the materials and furniture in most cases.

2. If the above listed procedures are not adhered to the stains, chips in the concrete floor and imperfections will all be readily apparent but fear not sometimes but not always these all add character to the slab and of course we are after an aged mottled "old world" look so this may just add to the character.

3. That being said the Owners, Builders, and subcontractors are solely responsible for the condition of the concrete floor prior to our crews commencing work. You should insist that all parties listed above take responsibility for the floor prior to staining crew's arrival. A copy of these instructions should be given to the GC and all the subs and make them sign off on having received them. That way when you back charge them for possible additional charges and they can't say "We didn't know".

4. Most contractors use extended release tapes and plastics to mask the baseboards and the walls. They will not however accept responsibility for paint peel off during the removal of the plastic and tape at the end of the process. Staining is an extremely wet process and as such water and stained water can make their way under tape and onto baseboards and trim. Builder's grade paint is very often what we would consider below grade and often does not stand up to these conditions.

5. Anything that will not allow the stain to come in contact with the concrete surface is what we refer to as a "resist". All glues, adhesives, pipe dope, sealers including curing agents etc. fall into this category. For instance your painter has taped his plastic or drop cloth to the floor and when pulls up the tape it leaves behind an adhesive residue, Yes I am repeating myself it is that important. This will cause the stain to show the tape spot on the floor and take the stain differently in that area.

6. If your plumber puts in a sprinkler system or regular plumbing and drips pipe dope on the floor you will see those spots as well. If the painter doesn't cover the floor well and the overspray of the paint gets on the floor it may show as well even though it appears all the paint has been removed.

If you are going to cover your floors with paper make sure to use at least builder's grade paper and at best rosin paper that can be found in the roofing dept. Tape the paper to itself and DO NOT TAPE IT TO THE FLOOR (repeating again). Overlap the paper approximately 4 inches and that should give you good coverage. Most large rolls of paper come with about 432 sq. ft. of coverage with overlap you can figure around 350-375 sq. ft. coverage per roll. I would also recommend you place cardboard or Masonite on top of the paper. Do not use plastic as this will not let the concrete "breath".

If you want a beautiful concrete floor this is a small expense to consider when you live with these beautiful floors for at least a few years. Take the time to do this step and it will pay dividends beyond the small amount of time and money it takes to do it.

7. Heavy furniture can scratch the surface especially if you might have nails where your pads might have previously been located on the bottom of the legs so be sure to check. We recommend felt pads, magic movers or similar items which are durable and relatively inexpensive.

8. Your concrete stained floor needs to be vacuumed or dust mopped periodically and an occasional damp mop using a neutral cleaner which can be purchased at Home Depot. That is all that is required to maintain your floor. You will need to apply a floor finish 1-2 times a year which will take 15 minutes and 30 minutes to dry. Compare that to 4-6 times a year to clean your carpet. A Swiffer works great!

9. The staining process requires running water, preferably an outside faucet and two 110 volt outlets. The electrical outlets need to be within 200 ft. of the furthest point of the slab where we will be staining.

10. Most contractor's prices are based the actual square footage of the building. Just as an architect, designer or appraiser would measure, wall to wall, that is how they measure. Why do they measure this way, in short they have to tape off all the walls within that area and that is a lot of extra work.

11. Prices do not include excessive cleaning of the concrete floor, protective covering of the slab upon completion, post construction cleaning or any other service not listed on our Estimate/Proposal. Most contractors do everything in their power to create beautiful and cost-effective floors and a little assistance from yourself and the GC goes a long way.

12. You should fully expect to have to do a little touch-up here and there. You should insist your contractor schedule that upon completion. There is usually no charge for minor touchups but there will be a charge if there are areas that they have to totally redo due to abuse from other contractors.

13. For floors that have been completed in an overlay all of the above conditions apply. In addition an extra day or two should be given before heavy traffic is allowed on the floor.

14. Scheduling is critical to the performance and the outcome of your project. Please contact 3-4 your contractor 3-4 weeks in advance in the fall and winter and 5-6 weeks in advance during the spring and summer. They will want to make sure that they have enough time to give your project the attention it deserves so they will probably ask to be notified well in advance of your project.

Most contractors realize that project scheduling changes as projects changes, especially with commercial projects, they just want to be kept in the loop so they can make sure they have an adequate amount of time to complete your project as well as their other clients.

15. After completion and inspection of the concrete stained floor it is the responsibility of the homeowner, business owner, general contractor and/or builder to protect the stained concrete or concrete overlay floor.

16. Concrete acid stains and pigmented stains react chemically with the free lime in the concrete or overlay. Concrete acid stain color charts will show what the typical concrete slab or concrete overlay will render but due to the differences in concrete slabs from company to company and area of the country, concrete slab colors may vary. This is why it is best to do a sample on the concrete slab itself.

It is a little different with a concrete overlay. You first of all with get a more consistent color and this color will be more vivid and in most cases more dramatic. This is because the mix is consistent and we are using white Portland cement in the mix as opposed to grey Portland cement in normal concrete.

17. These are a few contractor mistakes that cannot remedied in most cases so be sure to make all of your contractors are aware of these conditions.

Contractors normally use Sharpies or Marks-a-Lot permanent ink markers - These are an ABSOLUTE NO-NO!!!

Electricians normally use spray paint to mark areas where outlets will go-this paint does not come up easily or sometimes at all.

Sheetrock and drywall contractor are notorious for making the biggest mess and for some unknown reason they expect everyone else to clean up after them, cover your floors.

Painters are kind of like drywallers they spray their paint pretty much wherever they want, cover your floors Good Luck with your

WaterBased Concrete Stains

An Eco-Friendly Alternative

In the last few years we have seen the emergence of some water based concrete stains. Some good, some have not stood the test of time, a short time I might add. The introduction of some "nano-technology" so to speak has created some really great stains that will stand the test of time do to the fact that they have the ability to enter the concrete at the molecule level. This gives the added advantage of being able to "grab hold of the concrete" and not let go. This ability appears to have been absent in the previous products presented as the reason most have been pulled from the marketplace was due to failure and a general disappearing of the color.

These new products, as opposed to the so-called "acrylic stains and polymer stains", have the ability to penetrate the concrete whereas the acrylics and polymer based products sit on top of the concrete.

Many failures have been observed with the acrylic stains such as fading of color, chipping and peeling of the sealer over the acrylics and a general blah look to them.

The phone calls we receive about the polymer stains are just about the same. They are manufactured by one of the big names in the industry but it doesn't seem to be a product that was built to last.

The look of the new "nano-technology" stains is very similar to acid stains but is available in quite a few brilliant colors as well as some old standard neutrals such as gray as you see here. This floor is sealed with 100% epoxy to bring a dramatic depth of field to the floor and also to give it long lasting protection.

Cleaning Tips Before Staining

Follow these tips to save yourself grief later on

Cleaning Floors Before Concrete Staining: Tips from the Pros

By Anne Balogh, The ConcreteNetwork

Once homeowners see how beautiful and easy to maintain decorative stained concrete floors can be, they often are eager to rip up their grungy carpets and yellowed vinyl tiles to expose the concrete underneath. These enlightened homeowners have become a significant market segment for stain applicators. But those newly naked floors often need extreme cleaning before they can be adorned with chemical stains.

Were seeing a lot of remodeling going on, and that's a lot different from new floor staining projects, says Barbara Sargent of Kemiko Concrete Products, Leonard, Texas. When you pull up carpet or tile, you never know what you might run into. Carpet glue, tile mastics, water and urine stains, chalk marks, caulk, grease stains, paint drips, and rust spots are just a few of the contaminants that staining contractors have encountered, she notes.

The Importance of a Clean Surface

With chemically stained floors, the consequences of substandard cleaning can be difficult to remedy. Unlike paints and coatings for concrete, which are opaque and can disguise many evils, acid stains are transparent. Any unwanted residue remaining on the floor is likely to show through the newly applied stain.

If you are negligent in the cleaning process, it can literally change the entire end effect. A substandard cleaning job will really show up once the final sealer or wax is applied, says Sargent.

Site Cleaning Tips 1

Any materials that inhibit concrete stain

penetration, such as grease, oil, or curing

membranes, will prevent the color from

taking

Chemical stains also need to penetrate into the concrete surface to react with the lime in the concrete. Any materials that inhibit concrete stain penetration, such as grease, oil, or curing membranes, will prevent the color from taking, says Tom Schmidt of Jagger Scored/Stained Concrete, Plano, Texas, a company specializing in decorative staining of residential and commercial concrete floors.

Curing membranes, which he encounters more on commercial projects than on residential jobs, are especially difficult to remove. Even after you clean the surface, the curing compound may have migrated down into the pores of the concrete and the stain will react minimally. You may get marks that look like water spots, he says.

Schmidt also warns against acid etching of floors before staining. A lot of people think they need to acid etch the concrete like they do before applying a paint or coating, to get the

paint to adhere. But acid washing depletes the lime content, which is what the minerals in the acid stain react with.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Remover or Cleaner

* What substances will it remove?

* What are the recommended applications?

* Is it environmentally safe?

* Does it emit fumes or noxious odors?

* Is it compatible with the chemical stain you will be applying?

* Is it safe for indoor use?

Trial and Error

Kemiko, which has been selling acid-based chemical stains for more than 30 years, has an extensive list of concrete cleaning products posted on its web site (www.kemiko.com) as a handy reference for contractors and do-it-yourselfers. We have a lot of professional applicators of our chemical stains, and as they discover new cleaning products, they call us and we try them out, says Sargent, explaining how the list was compiled.

However, finding the right cleaning product is often a trial-and-error proposition, she admits. You can't always tell what a stain on concrete is by appearance alone. What you may assume is an oil-based stain may be something else. We recommend that contractors test products first to verify their effectiveness.

Also be sure to read the label on the container to find out what substances the product can remove. A solution formulated to strip latex paint may be ineffective at removing grease or oil. The label can also provide other valuable information you'll need to know in order to choose the best product for the job (see Questions to Ask When Selecting a Remover or Cleaner).

While Kemiko doesn't endorse any particular cleaning product, it does favor those that are safe for the environment, people, and pets. There are some really good products out there that are environmentally safe, says Sargent. We've tested a mastic remover made from soy beans, for example, that absolutely emulsifies even the oldest mastic residue.

Sargent also recommends that stain applicators check environmental restrictions in their area to find out what products they are permitted to use. She advises contractors to be extremely cautious when using petroleum-based strippers, which tend to be high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can be highly flammable (see Precautions When Using Chemical Strippers.)

But on some jobs, contractors may have to resort to strong medicine to remove certain contaminants. For example, Schmidt sometimes uses lacquer thinner or xylene to take up curing compounds.

Precautions When Using Chemical Strippers

Some chemical strippers can be extremely hazardous to breathe and apply, especially if you're working in an enclosed environment. Be sure to read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product to check for potential hazards and health effects. Products containing petroleum also are flammable and can be dangerous to use around floor scrubbing machines, warns Schmidt, because electrical sparks could ignite a fire or explosion.

If the chemical stripper you're using is not environmentally safe, it must be disposed of properly. We retain the product in plastic buckets and then take the buckets back to our warehouse, where we put them into a hazardous waste container for disposal, says Schmidt.

Cleaning Techniques

The methods you use to clean the floor are equally as important as the products you choose.

For general-purpose cleaning and degreasing, Schmidt sweeps the floor and then scrubs it thoroughly using trisodium phosphate (TSP). For scrubbing, he recommends using a rotary floor scrubber with a green Nylo-Grit pad designed for aggressive scrubbing of concrete. If he must remove glue, mastic, or paint from the floor, he uses nonflammable chemical strippers, which he finds at Home Depot, Lowes, or Sherwin-Williams.

Bob Harris, president of the Decorative Concrete Institute and author of Bob Harris Guide to Stained Concrete Interior Floors, says caulking compound and mastic are two of the most difficult substances to remove. He scrapes off as much material as possible using a putty knife or floor scrapper and then applies a poultice to remove the remainder. For a poultice, he recommends mixing an inert fine powder, such as fly ash or hydrated lime, with denatured alcohol to make a smooth paste. Once the poultice dries, the caulk or mastic residue usually is brittle enough to remove with a stiff-bristle brush.

After using degreasers, chemical strippers, or other cleaning compounds, it's necessary to clean the floor again to remove all residue. Schmidt scrubs the surface once again with TSP followed by a thorough rinsing with clean water.

After the final rinsing, Schmidt often uses an industrial wet vacuum to remove all water and debris. If you just use a mop for the final wash, you're simply moving the residue around. he says, adding that using a wet vac also helps the floor dry out much faster.

When All Else Fails

Site Concrete Tips 2 ConcreteNetwork.com

Mechanical abrasion can also remove a

layer of the cement paste from the surface,

which will cause the stain to react

differently. Grinding can also leave swirl

marks in the slab if you're overly aggressive.

Occasionally you may encounter deposits that refuse to surrender to your best cleaning efforts. If scraping or chemical stripping are ineffective at removing glues, caulk, mastics, or other heavy contaminants, Harris says that you may need to resort to mechanical removal methods, such as grinding. However, be aware that mechanical abrasion can also remove a layer of the cement paste from the surface, which will cause the stain to react differently. Grinding can also leave swirl marks in the slab if you're overly aggressive.

When Schmidt is unable to completely eradicate stubborn discolorations, he camouflages them. After we get done staining and sealing the floor, we go back and faux paint any objectionable spots and apply another coat of sealer. He also uses this method to remedy any areas where the chemical stain doesn't take completely.

Anne Balogh

Anne Balogh writes feature articles each month for The Concrete Network. She is a freelance writer based in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and a former editor of Concrete Construction magazine.

Do It Yourself Concrete Staining - It's not rocket science and you can do it yourself

Video guide to the steps necessary to create beautiful concrete stained floors

Do it Yourself Concrete Staining Guide

This isn't rocket science and you can Do It Yourself!!

Concrete Floor Acid Stain Application

A. Preparation of Existing Concrete Surface

Curing agents, sealers, paints, coatings, waxes or water repellents must be removed prior to the concrete acid stain application. Mechanical methods of removal are not advised as they may scratch the surface leaving unsightly patterns of scratches in the surface.

Older concrete surfaces need to be tested for acceptance of the acid stain. The cleaned surface must be penetrable by water. If water beads on the surface and is not readily absorbed into the concrete, mild acidic detergents such as a concrete renovator may be of assistance in your concrete acid stain application. Never acid etch concrete to be acid stained. This will use up the free lime in the concrete and leave you with a surface that is not stainable for concrete floor acid stain application.

B. New Concrete:

Freshly poured concrete should be sufficiently cured, a minimum of thirty days before the concrete floor acid stain application. If score patterns are desired, a diamond blade grinder may be used to score various patterns, borders or designs onto the surface prior to, or after concrete acid stain application. If light colored grout lines are desired score after staining process is complete.

Freshly poured or recently poured concrete needs to be scrubbed thoroughly, sometimes more thoroughly than old concrete due to what is known as latency, this is the "dust", if you will that remains on top of the concrete after it is poured and cured.

This latency will not allow the concrete floor acid stain to penetrate as is needed to provide a beautiful concrete acid stain application so we need to use a floor maintainer (buffer) with a black or green scrub pad and TSP (trisodium phosphate) or our favorite, Super Blue, to scrub and shop vac the floor clean.

C. Cleaning of Concrete:

These next two steps will take you from having a good concrete stained floor to a Fantastic concrete acid stain application. As we say in the Decorative Concrete industry, application of the pretty stuff is easy but the preparation of the concrete is what makes the difference and boy will this make a difference as you'll see and be very happy you took the time and effort to do it.

First we need to scrape the paint and other things off the concrete before the concrete floor acid stain process, you will not find them all but when you wet the concrete you will see everything as we see here, we have scrubbed the concrete and are now vacuuming.

D. Citrus-Degreaser

This is a very important step and most manufacturers and even many "acid stain professionals" don't take this next step in the concrete floor acid stain process, which is critical to a beautiful concrete floor acid stain application for your floor. If the floor has some oil or grease or really anything questionable on it we recommend that you clean the floor with Citrus Degreaser. Dilute with 8 parts water and scrub the floor with a black pad and a buffer. Rinse and use a shop-vac to remove residue, if possible always use a shop vac as this will pull the residue and dirt out of the pores of the concrete. Citrus Magic is an excellent citrus degreaser for this type of project.

This step is only necessary if your concrete is extremely dirty. If your concrete is normal or just slightly dirty the following process is all that is normally needed.

E. Concrete Renovator

Next dilute

Super Blue, 2 parts water to 1 part Dyna Blue. Moisten the concrete and use a garden sprayer with all plastic inserts to spray the dilution over the entire floor and scrub lightly. Make sure to have proper ventilation. Let the mixture stand for approximately 5 minutes or until all fizzing and bubbles have ceased.

Use a buffer with a black pad and scrub the floor thoroughly. Flood the floor with water and shop vac the floor to achieve the cleanest floor possible for concrete floor acid stain application.

F. Coverage

Make sure that your concrete is completely dry. This sounds like an obvious statement but you would be very surprised to know how many folks take this for granted. When we say dry we mean that it is better to leave the floor overnight to dry unless it is summer and the AC is on and a few fans are turned on. The reason for this precaution is that is if the concrete is wet or even slightly damp this will dilute the concrete floor acid stain and probably require you to spray again, therefore this is essential in the concrete acid stain application process.

One coat of Acid Stain is all that is usually needed. You may feel that you want to go back over the area and spray a little more in some areas. Acid Stain can be applied at a rate of 1 part water to 1 part stain. The coverage rate will be 300-350 square feet per gallon when diluted (two gallons). When applicable after you have tested the stains in an inconspicuous area, you may choose to dilute the stains more to achieve a slightly lighter color. .

G. Concrete Stain Application

For an excellent concrete floor acid stain application all surfaces must be completely dry, prepared and tested as described above. Acid Stain should be shaken well and poured directly into a plastic sprayer with a plastic filter and internal acid resistant plastic parts. The sprayer should be continuously pumped to keep a constant pressure while applying concrete floor acid stain. We are very partial to a battery operated backback sprayer sold by Crusader Manufacturing which will spray 120 gallons on a single charge. It sells for around $200.00 and if you are going to be doing a lot of staining it is well worth the cost.

Hold the tip of the sprayer approximately eighteen to twenty-four inches from the concrete surface and spray onto the slab, being careful not to let the liquid drip out of the spray tip as this may leave visible drip marks on the concrete. There is no need to hold the sprayer closer to the ground unless you might be "working" an edge.

We recommend that you use a car wash brush with nylon bristles to gently scrub the concrete stain into the concrete but it is not necessary if you are applying the concrete floor acid stain yourself, just wet the concrete thoroughly with the stain. After the first coat is applied and has completely dried, a second coat can be applied if a darker color is desired. We recommend that you walk on the surface in clean socks or surgical booties so as not to leave "shoe prints" on the surface. The second coat of concrete stain should be allowed to work into the concrete for 1-2 hours.

H. Neutralizing the acid stain

Due to the unique nature of Artistic Décor Stains neutralization of the stain is not necessary as with most all other acid stains. Plain water will provide as much neutralization as is necessary. Just simply wet the floor, scrub lightly to loosen the slight amount of residue that remains and shop-vac to ensure you remove any residue, usually there is little if any residue.

Our stains and method of application will save you 1/3 of the labor involved with acid staining your concrete. I don't know about you but I'm all about saving time and money.

If you are using another brand of acid stain check with the manufacturer as to their recommended method of neutralization. Baking soda combined with water or a cup of ammonia in a 5 gallon bucket will usually do the trick.

Make sure that you shop-vac your floor no matter whose brand of stain you use. This is another step that the so-called experts don't advocate in the concrete floor acid stain application process, but it is essential to having a surface that your sealer can bond to permanently. Your floor may appear dry but we would recommend that you leave the floor overnight with the AC on if possible and a fan to circulate the air. The fan doesn't necessarily have to be directed onto the floor, this is just to get the air moving and get the moisture out of the area.

G. Application of Sealers

After the above step is completed you are ready to sealer your concrete. We recommend using a water-based sealer such as our Clear Cover WB sealer. This will provide you with a sealer that will protect the stained concrete and will increase the intensity of the color of the stained concrete. Normal water-based sealers do not increase the color intensity and will leave you with a "terra-cotta pot look". Two coats should be applied with a 3/8" nap, lint free roller which are available at most Home Improvement and paint stores. If you don't have a Lowe's close any quality paint store should have a comparable roller. Apply at a coverage rate of 250 - 300 square feet per gallon per coat.

We recommend that you apply three coats of wax as the last step in the concrete floor acid stain application process, to act as a sacrificial lamb for the sealer. A great wax is Zep High Traffic Floor Finish which available at Home Depot. The cost is around $15.00/gal and should be applied with a rayon blend mop which is also available at Home Depot. This will also provide your slip resistance as all waxes are manufactured to what is call "co-efficient of friction" of 0.05 or greater. This is the standard the government requires.

H. Maintenance (Low)

Floors treated with the concrete stain need only to be swept or cleaned when they become dirty.

I. Precautions

Acid Stains are a corrosive liquid and should be handled with caution. For more information, refer to the Artistic Decor Stains Material Safety Data Sheet. Respirators and goggles or safety glasses are recommended

J. Limitations and expectations.

Concrete floor acid stains will not hide cracks, blemishes, chalk lines (red and blue in particular) or other construction errors.

Great Stuff on Amazon - Great Concrete Staining and Technique books

Protecting Acid Stained Floors

Protecting Acid Stained Floors

by Jeff Potvin, The Concrete Network

Acidic based stains have become a popular floor treatment throughout the decorative concrete industry due to their versatility, ascetics and cost. These stains are comprised of acid, water and metallic salts and come in a range of natural colors, which can be reduced and mixed to create works of art. The downside of these surfaces is that they need to be properly protected or maintained from abrasion, preventing premature failure.

Since the stain only penetrates approximately a 1/32 of an inch into the concrete matrix it is only as strong as the surface. In many cases the very surface of the concrete can be weaker than its mass due to finishing techniques and curing methods. Due to chemical costs contractors seal and protect the surface by applying multiple coats of an acrylic based sealer. This method leaves it up to chance that the property owner will maintain the floor and apply a sacrificial material such as wax. Over the years I have visited numerous projects that have one thing in common, lack of maintenance. The surfaces have become scratched and worn to the point that the stain has begun to walk off leading the way to a headache for the owner and contractor.

There are ways of preventing this situation from happening to you. First, always make sure to remove all of the stain residuals from the floor following the manufactures written directions. Once the surface is dry you should be able to run your hand over it and it should be clean. These residuals will act as a bond breaker and prevent any coating or sealer from properly adhering. Secondly, make sure that the surface is thoroughly dry, excess moisture can not only white out the coating it may also prevent penetration and cause delaminating. How do you know when the surface is really dry? A simple test is to weigh down a 2'-0" x 2'-0" piece of 4 mil plastic for 2-4 hours prior to the sealer application. Observe the plastic for fogging or darkening of the concrete, presume that excess moisture is still present and further drying is required or a moisture problem exists. Some manufactures supply moisture test kits that will determine excess moisture or moisture vapor problems.

When it comes to protecting your work, a two coat application of urethane will achieve the best results. A good quality urethane will cost between 30 to 60 cents a square foot. These products can be rolled, sprayed and even wiped on with a lamb's wool or sheep's skin applicator. Be careful to follow the recoat times specified by the manufacture. Lack of adhesion may result from waiting to long or blistering when reapplying to early. The most popular types are solvent based systems because of their ability to enhance the color of the stains and there rapid strength gain. But of course, in some cases the solvent odor may be an issue, so water based systems should be used. Most quality urethanes are two component systems, make sure that you strictly follow the mixing directions and do not reuse the same mixing container unless all of the dry or wet material has been removed. The final step for a quality finish is to protect it from abuse while it is still curing with caution tape and verbal warnings.

Jeff Potvin

Jeff Potvin, a Civil Engineer and the owner of Architectural Concrete Consultants, has nearly fifteen years of experience in the architectural concrete industry. His experience includes stamped concrete, overlays, form-liners, acid stains, counter tops and coatings.

He helps contractors get started in the industry with hands on training, promoting, product selection and troubleshooting. Property owners such as theme parks and retail stores consult with him on product sourcing and maintenance issues. Architects and Engineers utilize Jeff's knowledge on the preparation of specifications and on educational presentations. He is a member of ASCE, ACI, ASCC, IAAPA and the DCC.

Concrete Floor Maintenance

A little help goes a long way

Once your concrete floor is acid-stained or dyed, a concrete sealer should be added to help resist water, stains, and dirt, and abrasives. You should also add three to four coats of a high quality acrylic floor finish to act as a sacrificial lamb for the sealer.

Keeping your floor clean will be relatively simple. You'll want to talk to the concrete contractor who stained your floor about specific instructions for the specific products and colors used for your floor but mostly likely it will only require occasional dust mopping and twice a month damp mopping using a neutral cleaner so you keep a neutral PH. This is important so you can add another coat of floor finish when necessary.

If you have a stubborn stain or dirt on the floor use the neutral clean and soak the area for a while, if that doesn't do it a citrus based degreaser may be used. Try to stay away from ammonia or harsh chemicals as these can effect the floor finish. If you do have to resort to a harsher chemical once you have removed the dirt, clean with the neutral cleaner and you may have to apply an additional coat of floor finish in that area.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      how can you camouflage stubborn discolorations after staining and sealing the concrete floor? We got ours stained and the glue and some red paint that was already on the concrete is showing through. I can live with the glue...but the red is horrible. We used black stain.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I was wondering how to acid stain concrete, I have never done it before. I make concrete garden décor for my garden this would be a good technique to use for them.

    • productosexpres profile image

      productosexpres 4 years ago

      Thanks for the lens, I made a lens about how to remove stains in clothes (http://www.squidoo.com/spot-cleaning-tips-and-meth... but I also wanted to do a lense about how to remove stains of the floor, because it is our job, we make products for repair, clean and maintenance all kind of floor. But yours is incredible, so this lens could be enough for this item. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I want to say that it is very good and informative. I like it and I appreciate you for your effort.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for commenting and I am pleased that these tips are useful for you. Good luck.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for commenting and I am pleased that these tips are useful for you. Good luck.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: This bridge is truly a hymn to stone and steel. I remember that was a real crowd on the walkway, awesome you guys made it. Health and Fitness

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for all of the great info! I have been considering doing concrete acid stain on my floors. It seems like a great investment.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Super good website

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      I have always wanted to do a stained concrete floor and now I know how to do it! Thanks so much for this great article - it's definitely a keeper!

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      infiniti99 lm 5 years ago

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      SquidooRocks55 5 years ago

      SquidFarmer, Very cool lens!!!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a driveway that has a overlay and was acid stained, then two coats of oil based clear. When it gets dirty I tried mopping it. It still shows mop marks and is not as clean and glossy. Can I use a wax on the driveway to keep it looking great. If not what do you recommend to keep it looking like new. Thank you

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      victorstuler 5 years ago

      Concrete acid stain can be applied to new or old, plain or colored concrete surfaces. They are available in 10 basic colors. Although they are often called acid stains, acid is not the ingredient that colors the concrete. Metallic salts in an acidic, water based solution react with the concrete to permanently color of the surface. Siliceous aggregates such as gravel or sand, do not react with the stain. Surfaces containing a higher content of cement will react more than one with less cement yielding more intense colors.

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    • profile image

      freelancehyderabad 5 years ago

      nice post

    • SquidFarmer profile image
      Author

      SquidFarmer 5 years ago

      @anonymous: It is a very diluted acid solution and won't harm kids or pets but I would not allow them in the area while installing the floor and proper ventilation is always recommended as it is for any application of sealers and such. Once the floor is finished anyone can enter the area and roll around on the floor

      Thanx

      John

      Artistic Decor Systems

      http://concrete-floor-stains.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow, that is awesome! It really does look like a solid slab of stone on the floor. It's seamless, gorgeous, fairly easy, and cheap! The acid does make me a little nervous, though, so before I do it myself, I was wondering if you can tell me how corrosive the acid is? Is it something where I need to keep kids or pets away from the floor for some time? If I spill it on myself, will I get an acid burn?

    • profile image

      cyrusmiley123 5 years ago

      The crew scores the floor for a border. First they measure and mark the pattern with chalk lines. Then they use a board as a guide for the cut. Using a circular saw with a diamond blade, they score the floor to the depth of 1/8 of an inch for a slight impression while the web vac sucks up the cutting dust.

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      ivycater 5 years ago

      Very informative article, thank you.

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      itstrujillo2011 6 years ago

      Wow the great lens for polished concrete Thanks for this lens....

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      TIRMassageStone1 6 years ago

      Very informative article, thank you.

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      e-xplorations 6 years ago

      What an awesome idea. Great lens

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      TNphoneman 6 years ago

      Nicely put together page.