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Stained Concrete Floors: Cost, How to Stain DIY, Maintenance Tips

We put together a guide on stained concrete floors. Find out how to stain concrete floors, the cost to do it, and how to maintain your floor in time.

When you visualize concrete floors, you will probably think of cold, dull floors especially the ones you see in warehouses or home improvement stores. But, the secret with this type of floor is its ability to take in stain and polished sheen. It is also worth noting that concrete floors come with a host of benefits and have a lot of good qualities enough for to consider installing them in your home improvement project.

Stained concrete floors are elegant, beautiful and create a warm environment for your room. Staining concrete floors is a process that is becoming popular for both residential and commercial settings. This process enhances your concrete floors and turns a normal looking room to a dazzling space. These types of floors are versatile, and they enable you to achieve any imaginable style and design that brings the best out of your home.

You can add any color scheme you want to your floors, be it bold or subtle. In addition, you have an endless choice of design accents, and you can even have custom graphics added to your floors. This type of floor gives you the freedom to be creative and come up with a floor design that best brings out your personality and taste. If you are remodeling your home, you can apply stain to your existing floors; or if you have a new home project, you can stain new concrete floors. Also, stain works perfectly with overlays.

When it comes to staining your concrete floor, you can choose to use acid-based chemical stains or water-based stains. The choice will depend on the kind of look you want to achieve after the staining process. The beauty of stained concrete floor is that, unlike paint that tends to fleek off or even peel, concrete stains will penetrate into the surface to yield a fade- resistant and long-lasting color effect.

Reasons Why You Should Consider Stained Concrete Floors

Stained concrete floors appeal to many homeowners and store owners and all for good reasons. Here are several reasons why you should consider stained concrete floors for your home or store.

Aesthetically Appealing

Concrete stains are available in a variety of different of shades, which create a subtle or a vibrant tone for your floors. They come in neutral and deep tones that tend to complement and enhance your floors and create a very impressive appearance.

The stain can be combined with decorative patterns engraved on the surface to create elaborate designs. Even if you use one stain color, you will still be guaranteed of a simple and elegant stylish for your floors. This is because applying stains to your floor will react with the concrete and result in a distinctive variegated unique design with beautiful color tones. More so, staining concrete floors is a process purely for aesthetic purposes, and it gives your floors character, beauty, and elegance.

Additionally, you can choose your color and mix them to create a unique shade that best defines your home. By staining an ordinary looking slab, you can easily transform it into an elegant and luxurious flooring surface. With just a simple process of concrete staining, your once dull floors can resemble other expensive flooring options such as marble or even stone.

Economically Sustainable Floor Option

Concrete staining allows you to enhance an existing concrete slab which means you do not need to use new materials to complete the flooring. This floor option is something you already have, and all you need to do is sand it down and then polish or stain it to achieve a preferred look and style.

Even though water-based acid may not necessarily be that cheap, compared to other flooring options, it’s still considered to be a very cost-friendly option. You can create an awesome array of colors coupled with special effects and desirable patterns with as little as $2.50 per square feet.

Easy To Maintain

Concrete floors by themselves require very little maintenance. You do not have to break your back or bank for that matter to keep them in a good condition. When stained, concrete floors create a very smooth surface that is easy to clean and even a simple wipe with a wet cloth will leave the floor clean. All you need to do as part of their maintenance is to mop them clean using soapy water, and you can schedule this to be a weekly routine.

Once stained, you will still apply the same cleaning routine and a little dusting once in a while. Maintaining this kind of floor is easy. Once mopped with a wet mop, concrete floors will sparkle and look as good as new. If you have stains and spills on the floor, you will need just a pail of water and a floor cleaner to get rid of them, and your floors will shine as usual once cleaned.

In addition, stained concrete floors do not attract dust easily, neither do they trap allergens or mold. This makes them an ideal flooring option since they improve the quality of air indoors without the need for extra cleaning and maintenance. More so, they are ideal for homes with children with allergies or anyone with allergy issues since keeping dust away from this kind of floor is easy.

Long-Lasting

Stained concrete floors can last for a long time; in fact, it goes for many years without showing any signs of wear and tear if properly maintained. This type of floor can be described as indestructible and can take abuse and other strains really well.

It is an extremely durable and tough flooring option that will stand the test of time, handle pressure from heavy equipment’s and gracefully withstand heavy traffic without getting damaged. This floor will not get scratches if you keep pets and you can even walk on it with high heels without worrying about damages. Even though it can scratch and chip, it would require a lot of effort to be able to achieve this.

Endless choice of design options

Staining concrete especial acid-based stains presents you with so many color tones and pattern options for flooring. The color combinations when using acid-based stains are numerous, and you can easily come up with a custom design that defines your home, character, and personality.

Using different color options and patterns, you can create a flooring display that suits your home’s décor and blends in with the interior and exterior theme of your home. The staining option also offers you various design choices such as variegated style, mottled look, layered look, and faux finishes.

Eco-Friendly and Energy Saving

Concrete stains are increasingly being made with eco-friendly materials. If you are conscious about the environment, then this flooring option will work best for you.

They are also energy efficient because of their ability to hold heat and release it slowly. For this reason, stained concrete floors can help lower the load on heating done by the central and conditioning unit since they can supplement indoor temperatures. Stained concrete floors can also keep your home cooler in summer, and you can have a nice and cool environment with this flooring option.

Versatile

This flooring option gives you an unlimited choice of colors, designs, and patterns. Staining concrete floors is not only limited to indoors, but the stains can be used to stain the outdoor if you wish. You can actually match your interior to your exterior if you desire, or you can create an outdoor floor design that enhances the exterior décor. When it comes to concrete floor staining, the options are versatile, and you technically decorate any style you wish to floors.

This floor option can also be combined with many other floor options. For example, concrete stains can be applied before polishing the concrete to give it a smooth and glossy finish that is durable thus ideal for high traffic areas.

Factors to Consider Before You Stain Your Concrete Floors

Staining your concrete floors, just like any other home improvement project requires a considerable amount of planning and preparation. Skillfully stained concrete floors are beautiful, elegant and stunning. They can actually be mistaken for stone or marble floors if intricately stained and designed.

To get outstanding results through the staining process, you need to consider the following factors before you stain your concrete floors.

Pick the Concrete Carefully

Concrete stains are available in two categories:

  1. Reactive – water-based acid stains
  2. Non-reactive –water-based stains

Acidic stains

Reactive stains are usually water-based acidic stains that consist of metallic salts and water. The mixture, when used on a concrete surface, penetrates the surface and opens up the pores of the concrete to allow the salts to react with the chemicals present in the concrete and the reaction produces color.

Water-based acidic stains usually have limited color options. They produce subtle translucent earth-toned colors. They tend to achieve a natural stone kind of a look or marble and wood.

Most manufacturers of acid-based stains offer about eight color hues which are mainly subtle earth tones, terracottas, tans, browns, and light blue-greens. However, if you want to explore with colors, you can mix several different shades about two or three of them before the application to achieve a unique shade. Alternatively, you can layer one shade of color to achieve a deeper shade or apply two coats.

Water-based

Non-reactive stains which are water-based are non-reactive solutions and normally do not depend on the chemical reaction to deposit color. Water-based stains are meant to penetrate the concrete surface and impart pigment into the open pores of the concrete surface. These option of stain produces opaque colors which are considered to be more dense and intense as compared to acid-based stains.

Water-based stains are available in an array of vibrant colors, and this has them made them grow in popularity. They come in a wider palette of colors, and you are likely to achieve any color with this option of concrete stain. You can get vibrant, bold tones to soft pastel when using water-based stains.

Application of water-based stains is a lot easier and user-friendly as compared to acid-based stains. Once applied, you do not have to deal with the acid residues as it is the case with acid-based solutions. With acid-based stains, after application, you have to neutralize the surface to remove the chemicals. However, when you apply the water-based solution, all that is required is a light clean up since the stain has a low volatile organic compound and it’s unlikely that it can damage anything.

The only downside with water-based stains is that they tend to penetrate the concrete surface really quick. As a result, they do not produce the translucent, variegated or mottled color tones that acid-based stains offer. With this kind of stain, you will get an opaque and uniform color tone, and since the application is permanent, you do not have room for errors.

Your choice of concrete stain will depend on your color preferences and the overall look that you want to achieve. But, as you choose your concrete stain option, regardless of the stain color, you need to keep these points in mind:

Water–acid stains present wide variations of colors which are considered to be normal. Once applied, the concrete surface will produce a mottled, variegated display. These variations tend to get more highlighted when you apply a final coat of sealer to the concrete surface.

Some acid-based stains color may not have the same color as you see in their liquid form. Once you apply them to the surface, you are likely to get a different tone. In most cases, the stain ends up showing its real color once applied on the surface and allowed to sit for some time. To avoid getting surprises, it’s advisable to do a test on a small area to know the exact color shade before you apply the stain on the entire concrete area.

With concrete stains, the color effects and tones tend to be more intense if applied on a new concrete as compared to one that is older or weathered. The results of concrete application might not be the same for two different concrete floors. Factors such age as mentioned, the texture of the floor, composition of the concrete, surface porosity and also environmental conditions come into play.

Pick Your Colors Carefully

The type of stain you choose to use will greatly impact on your color choices. Generally, the choice of stain boils down to your preferences and character. As you choose your preferred color, keep in mind factors like age of the concrete surface, mixing and lighting into consideration. As mentioned, a newer concrete surface may give your stains a deeper shade.

Similarly, lighting also makes a difference in the appearance of the color shade. So as you choose a color shade, consider where you plan to stain and if possible do a small patch test. The test will show you how a particular stain will respond to a concrete surface.

Factor In a Quality Sealer

Apart from staining, you have to factor in sealing the stained concrete floor. A sealer helps in completing the staining process and also in enhancing the final color shade and aesthetic. Consider using a high-quality sealer for long-lasting results.

If you are staining the exterior concrete floors, you should consider using a sealant that is UV resistant and if possible get one that is non-yellowing. This way you will protect your floor’s topcoat against external elements and extend its lifespan.

To hire or DIY

Concrete staining is a process that can be a DIY project for a homeowner. However, you need to note that once the stain is applied to a concrete surface, the color is permanent; you cant reverse the process and there is no room for errors.

So, if you are planning to apply stain by DIY, you need to make sure that you have the proper tools for application. You also need to familiarize yourself with the right techniques for application to ensure that you carry out the process in the right way. Most importantly, you have to consider your safety especially if you are staining with acid-based stains. You have to take precautionary measures since this type of stain contains harsh chemicals and corrosive components that can cause harm to your skin and eyes if not well handled.

If you feel you are not confident enough to carry out the stain application by yourself or you have doubts about the application technique, you can hire a professional. More so if you plan to incorporate different colors, unique patterns with decorative effects, it would be better if you left the intricate work to a professional for more satisfying results.

Cost of Staining Concrete Floors

Concrete floors have come a long way, and they are no longer dull unappealing floor options as most may think. They can now be beautified to become aesthetically appealing, elegant and classy with warm undertones.

Additionally, concrete floors can be stained with limitless color variations from warm undertones, to bold shiny surfaces. Due to the ability to design them to suit any style preferences, stained concrete floors are now becoming popular in many residential set-ups. For this reasons, it’s essential to know the cost of staining floors and other factors that may influence the overall cost.

The cost of staining concrete floors ranges from $2 to $5 per square foot or much more depending on the complexity of the process. Some stain projects are intricate, and they will incorporate faux finishing, more elaborate designs, and multiple or layered colors. Such staining process may also involve creating boarders using saw cutting, stenciling or even sandblasting. As such, the process of staining becomes more complex than just a simple application, and it can cost as high as $15 per square foot or even. The result of such an intricate process is something close to high-end floors such as slate, marble, terrazzo or even stone floors.

Expect to spend about $170 for a concrete surface of about 500 square for DIY staining. If you hire a professional to do the staining for you, the cost of stain application (500square foot area) will come to about $900 to $1600 for premium concrete staining.

Cost factors

If you have chosen to stain your concrete floors, there are several factors that you need to consider. These are variables that are likely to affect the cost of staining your concrete floors. They include:

State of the Concrete

The condition of the existing concrete floor can determine the overall cost of the staining process. If the existing concrete surface has cracks, you have to factor in the cost of filling the cracks. You can’t stain the floors in that state. You can seal the cracks using epoxy patching which costs about $50 to $150 depending on the amount to be used and the number of cracks.

Even though epoxy or other fillers may not be too expensive, the additional labor costs of repairing the cracks can increase the cost of the staining project. If the concrete floors require extensive repairs, you might have to spend about $2 per square on top of the staining costs on concrete repairs.

In some cases, after the repairs, the contractor may find it necessary to resurface the concrete surface to cover up the unsightly surface left after the patch up job. If you are filling the crack through DIY, expect to spend about $2 to $6 per square foot for resurfacing materials. If you the crack repair job is being done by a contractor, expect to spend about $3.50 to $10 per square foot to resurface the concrete surface.

Sanding the Floors

Some concrete floors may require sanding before the application of stain. Sanding a concrete floor before staining ensures that the stain adheres and penetrates the surface well.

However, some floors may not require this process. If your floors have visible stains, you can try cleaning the surface using a dish cleaning soap, water, and a stiff-bristled scrub to remove the stains. However, for concrete floors that have been polished and are particularly smooth, will require sanding before applying a stain. This is because, for a concrete surface to allow paint to penetrate, it has to be rough and porous. If your concrete surface is smooth with a glossy surface, it will prevent the stain from penetrating the surface even if you use acid-based stains.

So, before you spend your money renting sanding equipment, you can perform a simple test on your concrete floors to determine if they need to be sanded before staining them. Sometimes, even a surface that appears rough and non-porous may require sanding before stain application.

To perform the test, pour a tablespoon of water on the concrete surface and allow it to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. If the concrete surface absorbs the water completely, then your floors do not need sanding. But, if the water is not absorbed and instead remains on the surface, it’s a sign that you need to sand your concrete floor before staining them.

The process of sanding will add to the overall cost of staining process. If you are applying the stain through DIY, you will incur the cost of renting a belt sander. If you have a contractor for the job, they will charge you according to the size of the area and the level of sanding required which is dependent on the condition of your floors.

The size and the location of the area of the floor

It is possible to get a price estimate on how much you will spend on staining your concrete floors. However, the size of the area alone might not be the only determinant on how much you will spend on the staining process.

The location of the area that needs to be stained will play an essential role in the cost of staining concrete floors. In some areas, a larger floor may be easier to sand as compared to a smaller area that is difficult to work on.

Areas such bathrooms and corridors may have sharp corners and are too small to be able to maneuver easily with the sanding equipment. They might end up adding to the complexity of the job and hours spend preparing the area for the staining process.

The Complexity of Designs and Patterns

Staining allows you to choose different color designs and patterns as you desire. Staining floors give you a blend of styles, patterns, techniques and coloring options. The cost of staining will depend on the intricacy of your designs and how elaborate the decorative effects are on the floor.

Also, you may wish to create a unique shade by using multiple coloring methods. Or, the process will incorporate saw-cut or scoring patterns. Are you hoping to achieve an artistic display that will send a statement to your floors? Such sophisticated and detailed designs will involve stain application using complicated saw cut patterns, faux finishes methods, and stenciling.

The cost of staining your floors will depend on whether you are going for a basic stain job or intricate designs. Be prepared to spend more on complex stain techniques which might pose a challenge for DIY.

If your floors will involve more intricate application techniques, it is advisable to discuss this with your contractor to find out beforehand if the style you have envisioned is possible. Also, you need to find out if they are comfortable working with your design options.

Here are the prices for different levels of staining based on application techniques:

Range DescriptionAverage cost per square foot
Basic rangeIt involves a basic design job with an application of one layer of preferred stain with a sealer. The process will also involve cleaning the floor to prepare it for staining. It is an economical upgrade for a dull looking concrete to an eye-catching surface.$2.00 -$5.50 per square foot.
Mid-rangeThis staining technique aims to achieve a stained floor with elaborate designs and decorative effects. It involves the use of two or more color stains. Saw cut or scored patterns are incorporated into more intricate, beautiful styles. $5.00 - $7.50 per square foot
Advanced rangeThis is the highest level of staining technique and needs a skillful and experienced professional to hack it. It involves an artistic style of application that blends in different patterns, designs, techniques, and advanced coloring options. At this stage, the process will incorporate stain application by use of complex saw cut patterns, stenciling and faux finishing methods. It could also involve advanced engraving process and decorative sandblasting. The result of this process is a floor that rates as high as slate, marble and terrazzo floors. $8.00-$15 per square foot or even more.

Cost Cutting Tips

You can still achieve a stunning stained concrete floor design at an affordable cost. If you are cost conscious, you can use these cost-cutting tips to lower your overall cost of staining concrete floors.

A new concrete floor will cost you less to stain as compared to a sealed floor or one that was previously covered with different flooring material.

You can still achieve stunning and eye-catching results by keeping it simple with a basic application of one layer of stain color. Concrete floors tend to give off a natural color variation. Therefore, even if you use one color, you will still be able to achieve unique color tones and shades that will make your floor look beautiful and elegant.

To cut down on the initial cost of the floor preparation, you can do some of the work yourself. For instance, if your floor has an existing covering, you can remove yourself instead of incurring removal costs. If you want to stain your floors with advanced staining techniques, it will be more cost effective to hire a skilled contractor for better results.

You can still achieve intricate, unique designs using saw cuts and patterns which create a beautiful visual display by adding minimal cost to a basic stain job.

How to Stain Concrete Floors by DIY

Staining concrete floors is an easy task suitable for a DIY project. If you have time on your hands, you can save on contractor cost by staining your concrete floors by yourself. The process of staining concrete floors can take you a day or two days depending on the size of the area that you intend to stain.

Tools required:

  • Bucket
  • Mop
  • Rags
  • Pump sprayer
  • Sander
  • Paint roller
  • Respirator
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Shop vacuum

Materials:

  • Floor cleaner and degreaser
  • Painter’s tape
  • Concrete stain
  • High-quality sealer
  • Masking tape
Step one-clear the room

Start by clearing the room and getting rid of any physical obstacles. This involves removing all the furniture and other accessories including rugs and other existing flooring options. Remove wall hangings and mirrors. It’s also advisable that you remove the baseboards to avoid staining them.

Step Two-Scrub and Clean the Area

Start by removing dirt, grease and any other residual stain on the floor such as mildew. Use a cleaner (non-residue) and a stiff bristled brush to scrub off the surface. If the surface has grease stains, use a degreaser and a pressure washer to clean up the area.Step Three- Sand the Concrete Surface

This step is only necessary for floors that have been polished and sealed or had a different flooring covering. To determine if your concrete floors need sanding you can perform the test we discussed earlier in the guide. If your concrete floors a month old, you can skip the sanding process.

If the water test shows that your floor needs sanding, you can proceed and sand the surface. Polish any rough spots and then sand the floor till it’s even and leveled and the surface appears the same.

Step Three-Vacuum

After sanding, the concrete surface will now be full of debris and dust from the sander. Use the shop vacuum to clean the debris and the dust. If the floor appears to have stains after sanding, use a degreaser or a detergent to clean it.

Step Four-Repair Cracks

If there are any visible cracks in the concrete floor surface, fill them using concrete sealant and then smooth up the patched up area using a putty knife. Make sure you follow the manufactures instructions and allow the sealant to dry as specified on the product’s label.

Step Five-Cover the Area

Cover up the area using plastic sheeting and a painter’s tape. Make sure you cover entire area from the bottom to about two and a half feet up the wall. This way, you will have protected your walls from getting stained.

Acid-Based Application Process

Step one

For an acid-based application, you to make sure you are safe by wearing protective gear. Acid-based stains are toxic chemicals that should be handled with care. Make sure you put on a respirator, wear safety glasses, clothing and the right footwear. In addition, make sure the room is well-ventilated. Mix the acid stain solution outside the room and make sure you follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Before you start the application process of acid-based stains, it’s essential to do a sample test on a small area. This way you will know the shade of color it will acquire after application. You will also get to know the number of coats you will need to apply to achieve your preferred color tone.

After sample testing, pour the acid-based solution in a plastic sprayer. Spray the stain in a circular motion and keep overlapping to ensure even coverage. As you spray, have someone behind you with a broom to work on the stain solution to ensure in penetrates evenly into the surface. This way, you will achieve a consistent finish for your concrete floors.

After the first application, let the stain dry up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you notice any brush strokes on the surface, you can apply a second coating to create a smooth finish.

Step Two

Before applying the sealer, you need to remove the acid residue left behind after the stain dries up. Mix a neutralizer according to the label’s instructions in a different pump sprayer, and spay it on the floor and then let it dry.

After this, mop the floors using clean water and a mop. If the surface has excess water, you can use a shop vacuum to clean up. Allow the floor to dry completely overnight before you proceed to apply the sealer.

Step Three

After the dry time is up, you can add the sealant. Use a paint roller to apply the sealer evenly on the concrete surface.

Water-Based Concrete Stain Application Process

Step one

Start by doing a sample test on a small area to know the number of coats that you will need to apply to achieve desired results. After this, pour the water-based stain in a pump sprayer. Spray in circular motions and evenly on the entire surface.

As you spray, it’s good to make sure that the stain does not puddle in any spot as this may result in darker areas. If the stain puddles, do not allow it to dry up instead, wipe it off using a cloth. Allow the floor first coat of stain to dry according to the label’s instructions on dry time. You can proceed to add additional coats if you need to. After this, allow the stain to sit and dry for at least 24 hours before the sealer application.

Step two

After giving the stained concrete floors time to dry up, you can now add the sealant. Using a paint roller, apply the sealer evenly onto the floor.

Step Three

Water-based stained concrete floors perform better if they are waxed so, it’s advisable to wax the stained concrete surface. Allow the sealant to dry up; normally it takes about 24 hours. Depending on your taste and preference, you can go for a matte or glossy finish. Waxing enhances and prolongs the stain color.

When purchasing liquid wax, make sure you purchase the one meant for residential use. Pour it into a spray bottle. Using a microfiber pad, mop the floors and then spray the wax evenly. Make sure you spray the wax in small sections and have someone behind you mopping the waxed sections in circular motions. Repeat this process in the entire room till all the stained surface is waxed. Allow the wax to dry before you rearrange the room. Typically, the wax takes about eight hours to dry up.

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Conclusion

Stained concrete floors is an impressive way to upgrade your floors and turn tan aesthetically appealing floor option. It is a flooring process that is appealing to many people for its affordable decorative effects. For as little as $2, you can create an eye-catching floor design with a limitless choice of colors, patterns and special effects.

You can achieve an opaque translucent color effect that is more subtle with variegated or mottled distinctive appearance using the acid-based stains. Or, if you want a dramatic color effect, you can use water-based stains which give a wide variety of color hues to choose from. The choice of color will depend on your taste and preference. Nevertheless, stained concrete floors allow to come up with intricate floor designs that enhance your interior as well as your exterior setting.

 

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