Staining Concrete and What You need to Know

Plain concrete can look dull. You can bring it to life using stains that are non-acidic water based. Manufacturers of the stains offer them in a large variety of colors and hues. They can even be mixed to make more colors.

The new generation of stains are a mixture of acrylic polymers and pigments. They penetrate the concrete to produce permanent color. Depending upon the color it will range from translucent to opaque. With no chemical reaction the color is more consistent plus they are safer to apply as they have no solvents and acids.

Clean the surface

When using any Water Based Concrete Stain the first thing that you should do is prepare the surface that you will stain. You should do this fourteen days before you do the actual staining. If you live in a cooler climate, the concrete should cure for twenty-one to twenty-eight days. You start by cleaning. Water has to easily penetrate the surface. You can tell this by spotting the concrete with water. If the floor darkens, then it is being easily absorbed. If the water beads it is not penetrating the concrete and additional preparation is needed. If enough time has passed, and it is still not penetrating into the concrete then you may need to strip the curing compound. You will need to do some research to find which stripper you should use.

Cleaning the concrete should be done with water pressure with a fan tip or a rotary machine. After watering it sweep all of dirt from the concrete. You can use a commercial degreaser. If there is a grease or oil, stain the concrete will not accept the chemical stain.

Prepare the surface

To prepare the surface you should first mask off the area. Dilute the stain one part to one part. Brush on the first coat and let it dry. Even when you think it is dry wait another hour. The next thing to do is to rinse the floor. Keep rinsing until the water is clear. The apply a second coat. After the second coat wait two to four hours. Then clean and neutralize the floor and allow to dry overnight. You want it to be good and dry. Last of all apply two coats of acrylic sealer waiting twelve hours between coats.

To neutralize the concrete use a solution made of baking soda and water. Put about five to ten percent baking soda into the water. Take a nylon bristled brush and scrub the surface. This is so that all the residue is removed.


The recommended dilution rate is one-part stain to one-part water. One gallon will cover approximately two hundred to two hundred fifty square feet. For most jobs they need two applications.

If the concrete you are staining is outside, take caution to protect the surrounding area. Rope off the area that is being worked on. Outside or inside mask off the adjoining walls. Wear the proper gloves and safety goggles. Make sure that is adequate ventilation with sufficient local exhaust. You should also wear boots and aprons so to avoid skin contact.

Now is the time to use the stain. Apply the stain according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once it dries you will have a beautiful stained concrete floor.