Staining Concrete Floors
Concrete floors are popular options for many locations, including garages, basements, recreation halls, and many others. Just a plain concrete floor can be rather dull, however, which is why many people turn to staining to create a different, more appealing look. There are professionals that can complete the staining project for you, but it is also very possible to do this on your own, as long as you are prepared with the right materials and are prepared to clearly follow instructions. If you are considering staining your concrete floor there are a few things that you should keep in mind in order to achieve the best results.
What Finish Do You Want?
One of the main things that you need to think about when preparing to stain a concrete floor is what finish that you would like to achieve. The “finish” is how the stain, and the concrete itself, will look when the entire project is complete. Outdoor concrete floors will likely need some degree of traction. A broom finish, which features strokes as if created by a straw broom, or a rock salt finish can create attractive final appearances as well as the necessary traction. If your concrete floors are inside you will likely want to achieve a smooth finish. Be careful, however, that you do not pack the concrete too tightly. Concrete stain functions by seeping down into the concrete and reacting to the minerals and other elements within the concrete, so if it is packed too tightly the stain will not be able to sink down into the material effectively.
Better Tested than Sorry
Because every pouring of concrete will be slightly different in composition than any other stains will react differently, and therefore the color will vary. The only real way that you will know what the stain will look like when dried is to perform a test on a small portion of concrete prior to staining the entire floor. You can either do this by choosing an out of the way area on the floor to test, or by pouring small samples of the concrete at the same time that you pour the floor. These pieces will have the same composition as the floor; therefore will react to the stain in the same way as the floor. It is a good idea to have several samples available so that you can test variations such as multiple layers and still compare the different looks so you can decide what you want the floor to look like when you are finished.
Cures and Residue
If you are pouring the concrete floor make sure that you do not use any form of curing agent. These materials prevent the acid from properly sinking into the concrete and creating the color.
When determining if you are satisfied by the color the stain has achieved, remember that you do not really know what the stain looks like until you have rinsed away the residue that forms while the stain is working. If you are planning on applying multiple layers, you don’t need to rinse the residue until the final layer has been completed.