How To Reduce Wear Patterns In Your Stained Concrete Floor

Most people are turned off on the idea of getting their concrete floors stained because they are worried that they will eventually get unsightly wear patterns in the high traffic areas. While this is true because the sealer will eventually wear away that is protecting the stain; there are a few things you can do that will help prevent wear patterns.

The easiest thing to do is to follow the Pareto Principle, this basically means that 20% of the floor will receive 80% of the wear. So if you simply find the 20% of the floor that will receive the most wear you can use area rugs to prevent wear to the stained concrete floors.

The second option to preventing wear patterns is to regularly apply wax to the floor. This will acts as a sacrificial coating preventing the wear of the sealer and stain. The only bad thing about having to wax the floor is typically you will want to wax the whole floor, but as the Pareto Principle tells us only 20% of the floor will need wax. If you only wax 20% of the floor you will most likely see a noticeable shine difference.

In conclusion it is best to use area rugs in the 20% of the floor that receives the highest amount of traffic. Then you will have 100% of the floor looking good for a long period of time.

Stained Concrete = DIY Easiest Floor To Install

Are you a DIY’er and need new flooring in your house? Stained concrete is the easiest flooring option for DIY project. When staining concrete you do not need any saws or special equipment. All you need is some safety protection gear and a pump up sprayer.

The hardest part about staining concrete is getting the color close to what you are looking for. The only concrete staining tip I can give you on colors is to always start with a strong dilution, meaning dilute the stain with a lot of water (if it is a water based stain) to make it lighter. You can always make the concrete floor darker, but once you have made the floor to dark you will not be able to lighten the color. You also want to consider what the floor will look like when it is sealed, most sealers will darken the floor.

Other then getting the color close to what you are looking for, staining the concrete is nothing more than spraying the concrete down using a pump sprayer with the stain in it.

If your in San Antonio and looking for concrete staining products, check out The Stain Store.


Prepping Exterior Concrete Before Staining

Stained concrete outside helps make the concrete more pleasing. It is one of the easiest DIY projects as the prep work and equipment needed to stain concrete is minimal. There are a few guidelines when prepping the concrete before staining:

  • Pressure washing will remove most stains from the concrete. Be careful not to hold the nozzle to close to the concrete or you will etch an unwanted pattern that will show up when finished staining and sealing the surface. 
  • Oil stains can be faded with degreasers found at the hardware store. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the surface afterwards, because the degreasers will be very sudsy. The oil might not come out on the first try, a couple of tries might be needed. Some time you will be left with a shadow of where the oil stain was.
  • Hard water stains can be removed with CLR or similar products, but do not use if you are planning on staining the concrete with an acid stain. This will deplete some of the lime the acid stain works with to produce the color in the concrete. If you need to use CLR you will have to use a water or solvent based dye to stain the concrete.
  • For exterior surfaces that are very dirty and after trying the above steps still won’t come clean, the last resort would be to grind the concrete. You will need to rent a grinder from a rental place. This will take the top surface of the concrete off, so you will see some aggregate in the concrete.

How To Clean Concrete Before Acid Staining

Cleaning concrete before acid staining is the most important step. You want to make sure there is nothing on the concrete that will prevent the acid stain from soaking in the concrete.

There are a few tools that you can use to help clean the concrete:

  • Scrappers 
  • Floor Machine
  • Shop Vac
  • Scrubbing Pads
  • Detergent (nothing that contains acid)
  • Mop
  • Mop Bucket
  • Xylene

The first thing we do when we clean concrete, is run the floor machine with detergent (typically dawn soap) over the whole surface to remove dry wall mud and any loose paint. This will help you see what is left on the concrete that needs to be removed.

If there is glue that is still on the floor, you might need to use a solvent such as xylene (make sure pilot flames are blown out) to remove it. If there is paint still on the floor, scrape as much of it of as you can, then go over the surface with xylene to remove any stubborn areas. If the whole surface of the concrete floor is painted, you will need to use a chemical stripper or grind the concrete. If you grind the concrete you will have to grind the whole area to make sure the surface texture is all the same. If the paint and glue remain on the concrete floor when acid staining, you will notice them.

After you have removed all the contaminants from the floor, use a mop with clean water to thoroughly clean the floor. Let the concrete completely dry out and then you are ready to acid stain the concrete.

The Process Of Scoring & Acid Staining Concrete

The other day I was called to look at a patio a DIY’er scored and acid stained. He was having problems with the lighter acid stain color making stain marks over the black stained border. I have never seen a lighter acid stain taking over a darker acid stain color, but after seeing this patio I now know it is possible for a lighter stain color taking over a darker stain color.

The process he used to score and stain his patio was: he first scored a border around the patio; he then sponged on a black acid stain on the border; after the stain had dried, he taped off the border and stained the middle of the patio with a lighter acid stain which bled under the tape and made rusty color stain marks over the black.

The most common way when scoring a decorative border around the patio and acid staining is to: first score the border; then stain the whole patio with the lighter stain; and then after the stain has dried, paint on the black or darker colored stain around the border. When doing it this way you will not have to worry about taping off the border and the stain bleeding under.

Staining Old Concrete Floors – Can It Be Done?

Staining old concrete floors can be done with the right knowledge about the concrete floor and with hard work prepping the concrete. We have stained an old concrete floor that was poured in the 1920’s and the floor came out amazing.

If you are planning on acid staining an old concrete floor that has been poured a long time ago, the first thing that should be done is to test the concretes porosity. Sprinkle a few drops of water and check to see if the water is soaking into the concrete (the concrete will appear darker and the water wont beed).

If the water soaks into the concrete, the next step would be to see if the concrete will accept an acid stain. In an area that wont be visible apply a small amount of the acid stain to the concrete and wait a few hours. If the concrete is not changing colors or the color is very faint, the concrete might be lacking the necessary lime for an acid stain to work. The next best thing to stain concrete, with out worrying about the lime content in the concrete is an acetone dye or water based stain.

The only main thing you have to worry about when using an acetone dye or water based stain when staining an old concrete floor is that the concrete is able to soak the dye in and that the concrete is free from any paint, oil, glue, or any thing else that might prohibit the penetration of the dye. These stains will give a look vary similar to an acid stain.



Concrete Staining Tips – Sampling Acid Stain Colors

When ever you are completed cleaning the concrete, it is always a good idea to test a small amount of acid stain on the actual concrete that is going to be stained, before you start staining the whole concrete floor. We recommend using an area such as a closet or an area that cannot easily be seen, because you cannot remove the acid stain from the concrete.

This is the time you can play around with different dilution ratios to get the color you want. You can dilute the acid stain as much as 1:15 if you are wanting a very light color. You can also mix colors to create custom colors.

When you are all finished with putting the samples down, you want to get a wet towel or mop and go over the sample areas. This will mimic what it will look like when the floors are sealed. Most of the times when you apply the sealer to the stained concrete floors they will darken up dramatically, so don’t stain the floors too dark if you are wanting a lighter color. Sometimes you wont even be able to notice the floors have been acid stained until you put the sealer down.


Concrete Staining Tip – How To Spray Acid Stain

When it comes time to acid stain the concrete, the best way to apply the stain is by using an acid resistant pump sprayer. Make sure all of the fittings are tightly secured so there wont be any leaks.

It is always good to have someone with you when acid staining the concrete; they will assist you by holding a bucket close by incase the sprayer starts leaking you can place the sprayer in the bucket. It is also good to start spraying inside the bucket then remove the sprayer tip when you see a nice mist coming out of the nozzle.

When you have to stop spraying you need to stop inside the bucket or else the nozzle will drip big droplets of acid stain onto the concrete permanently staining the concrete. This happens because  once you let go of the trigger the pressure in the tip will decrease and any acid stain in the tip will just drip out instead of spraying out. If you do notice a drip on the concrete try to spray a little more acid stain in that area to minimize the look of the round dot that will be stained on the concrete.