Wondering how to acid stain concrete floors? You’re in the right place! In case you’re searching for a reliable, high impact flooring choice that won’t completely break the bank, consider a do-it-yourself acid staining project. Muriatic acid, which is available in an assortment of colors, penetrates concrete and responds to the lime deposits, staining the surface and giving a one of a kind dappled swirly finish.
No two acid-stained floors look the same! Even a beginner can do the whole process, so you don’t have to worry about how to acid stain concrete floors. Depending on the amount of preparation your area requires, you’ll get this unique, solid flooring choice for as low as $2 per square foot. This includes all the tools needed to apply the finish. For a vast area and a little budget, this can be the ideal solution.
How Does Acid Stain Work?
In learning how to acid stain concrete floors, it is important to understand how acid stain works. Concrete Acid Stain is a water-based liquid containing minerals and acid.
The acid stain seeps into the pores of the concrete constraining a chemical response between the muriatic acid and the available lime within the surface.
You permanently alter the color of the concrete once acid stained.
When fixed with a suitable concrete sealer and for indoor applications, sealed and waxed, acid stain produces one of a kind, bright finish related to this process.
Step 1: Prepare The Surface
Surface preparation is the foremost critical step in learning how to acid stain concrete floors. Before staining, an area must meet the following criteria: The concrete must be free of debris, dirt, oils, paint, drywall mud, adhesives, sealers, stains of any kind, or comparable materials. Acid stain cannot respond appropriately with the concrete in case these conditions are present.
The area should not be treated before with a waterproofing agent, cleaned with muriatic acid or an overwhelming trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution. If you are serious on mastering how to acid stain concrete floors, keep in mind that the acid stain reaction cannot happen on surfaces treated with these products.
Freshly poured concrete can be acid stained some time from 20-28 days after the pour or once the concrete has achieved a uniform light gray color.
For more seasoned, excessively power-washed, or mechanically-profiled concrete, the surface must be intact with no uncovered aggregate or sand particles. The concrete acid stain does not stain sand, rocks, or aggregate.
Exposed aggregate or depleted concrete may cause the acid stain to take sporadically, respond feebly, or create a color conflicting with the acid stain color chart.
Slick, machine-troweled concrete needs mechanical or chemical etching for a complete acid stain reaction to happen. In case water beads on the surface or dark gray zones are apparent, you should spray DC Hard Troweled Floor Prep or something similar on the concrete or the surface. It should be sanded utilizing an 80-grit sanding pad before application.
Newly poured concrete slabs and countertops should incorporate less than 10% fly ash to guarantee a great chemical response with the acid stain. Check with your ready mix company or examine the countertop mix MSDS for concrete additive information.
Concrete poured lots of water within the mix can make a thin, unsteady layer of concrete on the slab surface. To test for instability, press the tip of the nail into the concrete. If breaking or harm of any kind happens, you should profile the slab with a concrete grinder or a high-speed buffer employing a 60-80 grit sanding disc before staining.
Step 2: Clean The Concrete
No matter the brand of stain you utilize, your concrete should be perfect before the application. Employing a pressure washer here is exceptionally useful but not required. You can just simply go over your surface with the plastic pump spray filled with water and subsequently scour it with a push broom. Flush it once more with water, and permit it to completely dry is superbly effective. Utilizing your shop vac to vacuum up the water will speed up drying time altogether. Even using some mild soapy cleanser is beneficial in this step.
For the brand, you can use Eagle. It is great to go over the surface with their Etch & Clean product after this first cleaning process. In order to do this, wear your protective gloves and after that, have one portion Etch & Clean combined with four parts water in your pump sprayer. Spray this onto your floor, permit to rest for some minutes (you may hear it fuzzing), and after that scour over it together with your synthetic broom.
Rinse the surface with water and vacuum it. After that wash, vacuum once more to ensure you've cleaned the entire residue.
You may not need to vacuum if your surface is outside. Just spray the area thoroughly with clean water.
Let it dry for 24 hours or longer.
Step 3: Apply Acid Stain
It’s time for the most exciting part of how to acid stain concrete floors—the application! Keep in mind to utilize goggles, gloves, and a dust mask while working with concrete acid stain. You might need a respirator for applications with poor ventilation.
Prepare your room by concealing all surfaces and walls that you don't need to get acid on them. You'll find diverse widths of masking paper in the painting segment at home improvement stores. Utilize tape to attach this.
Put the acid stain directly into your clean pump sprayer. The application method will be much less demanding with two people, but it isn't necessary.
If you've got two individuals, one individual should spray on the acid stain, in a semi-unpredictable design, going back and forth in completely different directions while the second individual follows behind with the broom, scouring the acid stain into the surface. The sprayer can subsequently go back over as required to cover any brush marks or spots that show up to have less coverage.
In case you're doing this on your own, apply on a small area first, approximately 3 feet by 3 feet. You can then go over and brush it in and subsequently respray to cover brush marks and move forward, once more in a changing pattern across your floor.
Keep in mind to plan for an exit strategy where you won't have to step over your acid stain. Any steps will appear through the stain so in case this occurs, ensure to brush and spray over the footprint.
If a darker, more even tone is preferred, brush the acid stain into the surface using consistent circular strokes.
If employing a brush, spray on a second coat to get rid of any brush strokes on the surface unless that's the wanted finish.
Though new concrete may not always need a second coat of acid stain, older concrete does need two coats of stain for total coverage.
For a more diffuse look, spray the stain onto the surface without brushing.
Apply one overwhelming coat of your base color and quickly apply accent coats while the stain is still damp to give a more natural appearance on the slab.
Continue to apply the lighter to darker colored accents until fulfilled with the results.
Step 4: Neutralize The Stained Concrete Floor
It might appear weird to clean a floor you just spend an hour coloring, but this step is vital to expel any extra acid buildup which may cause issues once you get to seal the floor. This step is essential on how to acid stain concrete floors. Once the floor is dark enough, utilize a mop and scrub brush to scour it with an ammonia/water solution. (You can utilize a cup of ammonia to a gallon of water). Make one application of the ammonia & water, and then rinse it 2-3 times with new water until the wash water is mostly clear. Once more, this is repetitive but essential.
Neutralizing is the most misunderstood and ignored step of the process. To better get the significance of neutralizing, you can think of it this way: By having an acid stain, you bring concrete from a basic pH state to an acid state. You would like to return the concrete to a basic state while expelling any unreacted stain and stain buildup.
This step includes an excellent old-fashioned cleaning and scrubbing with an alkaline cleanser that can break down stain residue and neutralize the surface. Utilizing water by itself isn't sufficient. Once more, use a broom or walk-behind scrubber. Usually, numerous scrubbings are required, particularly with terracotta and dark brown stains. Take a pH test to ensure that you appropriately neutralized the surface. At that point, wash the surface with clean water and permit full dry time before sealing.
Let it dry totally (24 hours or more), and then you're ready for the final step!
Step 5: Seal The Acid Stained Concrete Floor
Last but not the least on how to acid stain concrete floors! Applying a clear coat to the floor protects it. In addition, it also gives the floor that "wet look" and brings out the magnificence of the stain.
You can apply your clear coat with a roller with a long handle. The smoother the roller nap, the better.
Make smooth strokes with the roller, and attempt not to "overwork" the clear coat. You can apply two coats. The sealer may look white and smooth when you first use it, but then it dries to a clear finish.
Let it dry, and then done! You can also wax your acid stain concrete for additional shine and protection.
The Stained Concrete Floor Cost
The cost of stained concrete floors is exceptionally low, around $2 to $6 per square foot to polish a plain gray surface, giving it a glistening luster. The concrete's tonal contrasts, subtle cracks, and aggregates take on a stonelike, natural feel.
More elaborate finishes cost around $5 to $8 per square foot. Staining concrete floors has been a popular alternative for a long time since the homeowner's creative ability decides the result. Diverse colors and application procedures combine to make a finish that's one of a kind to the home, with subtle varieties across the floor.
Other enhancing effects, such as scoring in grid pattern lines, cost roughly $5 to $8 per square foot. These are exceptionally noteworthy. With a high-gloss seal, the floor can be changed to look like limestone. An acrylic sealer can be utilized within the interior application to provide that wet look.
In the range of $7 to $15 and up per square foot, you'll get exceedingly decorative faux finishes, such as a marbled effect.
Kitchen floor designs do not need to have the industrial-look when concrete is the chosen flooring material. Although numerous design systems will refer to concrete as an easy-to-maintain but tastefully minimal flooring option, property owners are finding the opposite to be true. In truth, concrete—aside from its numerous virtues as being tough, reducing allergens, being cost-effective, and simple to maintain—is picking up traction within the design industry because of its capability to be designed in any way.
Whether being colored with a warm, sharp tone or having a multi-colored, multi-patterned design, concrete offers genuine customization for kitchen floors. Furthermore, it can withstand the components that kitchen floors usually experience, including foot activity, food, and drink spills. No other surface, such as tile, wood, or linoleum, can stand up to chipping, warping, discoloring, and recoloring as a concrete floor can.
Although concrete basement floors are less prone to mold than other flooring choices, they do have their own set of other moisture related issues. From applying the actual stain to choosing whether to utilize wax or not, moisture can be a deciding factor in the final quality of the stain. However, the impact of humidity is easily relieved. Pure acrylic sealers like Clear Shield Advanced and Clear Shield Premium will permit a certain amount of moisture to wick (penetrate) through the sealer and evaporate by design.
You must treat differently the garage remodels designed for living space and the garage floors where cars or other vehicles will be parked.
In the case of usual car use, a sealer should be chosen to accommodate hot tires, chemical drips, climate, and everyday wear and tear.
Garage floors are fantastically smooth by design—their impervious luster is protection against abrasion and contaminants. In order to guarantee that an acid stain will respond with your garage's concrete, test the concrete floor's absorptive capacity and porosity by splashing water on the concrete surface and watching how rapidly the water douses in.