Concrete pads are often used in modern construction as homeowners and businesses can incorporate unique features into the grounds of their homes. Stamping and staining are often added to concrete to give the impression that natural materials have been used or to add flair and color to standard concrete.
Staining and stamping concrete used colorants and is often used on the exterior of homes to mimic natural materials such as slate and stone. The process is complex and requires skilled hands.
If you have a less-than-professional-looking job and are wondering what you can do to fix a bad job, we take a look at what you can do to fix poor workmanship.
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What is Concrete Staining?
Concrete staining is a popular way to add pattern and color to bland concrete and can make homes and businesses look more appealing. The process of staining concrete takes around 2-3 days, depending on the scale of the concrete, the color being used, and the intricacy of the stamping.
If you are wanting to stain new concrete you should ensure that it has been fully cured which can take up to 28 days.
How Difficult is it to Stain Concrete?
If you are not experienced in staining concrete and are wondering how difficult it is to do yourself, the answer is that is moderately difficult. This means that if you are confident in DIY or have carried out similar jobs around your home then you should be comfortable completing the work yourself.
If you are a complete novice and you are worried about your capabilities it may be worth asking a professional to carry out the job for you. You may also be a professional who works with concrete but has not tried staining before.
Here are the basic steps that need to be taken to stain concrete, whether you are a homeowner or a professional tradesperson.
- Clean and prepare the concrete reading for staining
- Apply the stain to the concrete
- Clean and neutralize the stain
- Seal the concrete for long-term protection
Things to Consider When Staining Concrete
Stain Color and Type
The first thing that you need to do is to decide on the type of stain you will be applying and what colors you want. Acid stains can rich, and variegated earth tones to give the image of natural materials.
When it comes to color, choose water-based stains if you are looking for a wide variety of color options and stain that is safe and easy to use for novices. The application of stain depends on what type of stain you use, acid or water-based.
For acid-based stains, you will need to wait longer for the reaction time and will need to neutralize it. For water-based stains, you need to prepare the surface to ‘open up the concrete.
Materials you Will Need for Staining Concrete
- Concrete stripper ( for sealed concrete only)
- Concrete cleaner
- Concrete degreaser
- Concrete stain (acid or water-based)
- Etching solution (for water-based stains )
- Neutralizer (for acid stains)
- A roller or a sprayer
- Bucket (plastic is best)
- Scrubbing brush
- Mask or respirator
- Rubber boots
- Pressure washer or a hose (with nozzle)
- Plastic sheeting
4 Easy Steps for Staining Concrete
1.Prepare the Surface
For both old and new concrete you need to ensure that the surface is clean and well-prepared for staining. You will want to wear protective equipment as explained in the list above to ensure the dirt and debris do not enter your eyes or respiratory system.
As acid is translucent you need to make sure that the concrete is clean and does not have any marks that will show through after staining. This step is quite tedious but you should not skip it as the result will be superior when you put the effort in at the beginning.
There are two ways to properly prepare your concrete for staining, one using a grinding machine and the other with a specially designed cleaner that can be bought by stain suppliers.
2. Apply the Concrete Stain
Once you have prepped the concrete you are ready to apply the stain. You should follow the below steps to ensure it is applied effectively:
- Mask off the surrounding area to protect walls and door frames or anything else in the vicinity
- Follow the instructions on your stain to water it down to your desired ratio
- Use a brush (for intricate or tricky areas) or a spray to apply tour first layer
- Allow drying (ideally 24 hours)
- Repeat with a second coat and a third if necessary (for a more intense color)
3. Clean Up & Neutralize the Stain
Once the stain has been applied and has had time to dry you can clean the area up and neutralize it if necessary (for acid stains). Follow the below instructions to secure a good clean-up:
- Rinse the concrete with clean water until it runs clear
- Neutralize acid-based stain using baking soda, ammonia or T.S.P
- Use a soft brush to loosen and wipe away any residue
- Give a final rinse
4. Add a Protective Coat of Sealer
Once you are happy that your stain has been applied correctly and cleaned effectively it is time to seal the stain.
You can find sealant from the same people who you bought your stain from and they come in a variety of finishes, depending on whether you are staining indoors or outdoors and how glossy you want your concrete. Adding a high-quality sealant will add to the durability and protect from stains and scratches.
Can You Acid Stain an Old Concrete Floor?
If you are wanting to stain old concrete then you should be able to with no real issue. You may need a little more time on preparing the concrete for staining and you may want to apply more layers for a deeper color to fully hide any blemishes but it is not a problem staining old concrete.
Can You Re-stain Stained Concrete?
As there are two types of stain, acid and water-based, re-staining previously stained concrete will depend on what type of stain you are working with as to how successful a re-stain would be. That said, it is usually a success for most people wanting to stain over faded or poorly stained concrete.
Both types of stain work to react with the lime in the concrete to change the surface of the concrete to give a natural, textured effect. As the chemical reaction of the stain and the concrete creates a bond that defines its pattern and color, it is difficult to fully change the stain.
For acid stains, the best that you can hope for is to apply a new stain to color the original stain more deeply which may cover any previous poor work or fading. If you wanted a new color or pattern then you would need to add a new layer of concrete and start again.
For water-based stains, there is no chemical bonding involved which means that have more chance of success if you can follow the above process for staining concretes to try to change the color of the concrete through a new stain.
The best way to re-stain the floors is by applying a new penetrating sealant or painting them with industrial paint. You can also try staining and then polishing your concrete floors or covering them with micro-topping or concrete overlay.
Reviving Stained Concrete
If you do not think that re-staining is an option or you do not want to risk trying, then you may need to speak to a professional who can give you advice and options on reviving your stained concrete. Some of the options will include:
- Mechanically grind down existing floors (this will depend on how deep the concrete and the stain are)
- Painting over the floor (if you are skilled at DIY you can try this yourself but it may be best to use a flooring expert)
- Reapply a penetrating sealant
- Apply an industrial coating
If you are unsure about any area of staining or re-staining your concrete then you should speak to an experienced flooring specialist.
Staining concrete is a creative way to finish your flooring and add a unique finish to your home or business. While staining is best done by a flooring specialist you can try a DIY project if you feel you have enough skills and experience.
There are two types of stain to choose from, acid and water-based that you will need to consider when you are planning to change your concrete. By following each of the above steps carefully and in a timely fashion you should achieve your desired finish and be left with a durable and aesthetically pleasing floor.
If there is any issue with stainings, such as damage or fading, it may be possible to re-stain although many people will need to employ a professional.
Last update on 2023-06-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API