How Long Will Stained Concrete Last?

The question we get asked all of the time is: How long will stained concrete last? The answer to this questions is it depends. It depends on:

  1. How was the concrete prepped
  2. What type of concrete stain was used
  3. What type of sealer was used
  4. Maintenance

When staining concrete you want to make sure the surface is profiled the right way. The concrete stain needs to be able to penetrate into the surface and you also want to make sure the sealer will have something to grip onto. The way you prep the surface of the concrete will depend on what type of concrete stain you will be using and what type of sealer will be used.

The type of concrete stain used will also affect the longevity of the stained concrete floor. Acid stains will outlast any other type of concrete stain since it physically changes the color of the concrete. So if you are looking for a concrete floor that will last a very long time, the best type of stain to use is an acid stain.

The type of sealer you want to use depend on how much traffic will be on the floor. Thicker build sealers are better for commercial areas; however, they will still wear away. Once they develop wear patterns in the sealer it is hard to fix. For residential homes, an acrylic sealer will last a very long time if it is maintained properly with wax. For instance, my father has an acid stained floor with an acrylic sealer and has been maintained properly and has lasted 15 years with no wear patterns.

When you are looking for a cost affective, long term flooring, acid stained concrete is an excellent option. As long as you have the right installer, and you maintain the floor you will be satisfied.



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.

Stained Concrete In Kitchen

Stained concrete flooring is a great option for kitchens. It is very durable and will withstand the heavy foot traffic in a kitchen. Stained concrete will also be easy to clean when food and liquids get spilled in the kitchen.

The photo below is a stained concrete floor in a kitchen we completed over a year and half ago, as you can see it still looks great with very little maintenance done.

We used a green and brown acid stain to stain the concrete floor, followed by two coats of  solvent based acrylic sealer, and two coats of wax.

Stained Concrete Floor

Stained Concrete Floor In Kitchen

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.



Acid Stains

Acid stains are different metallic salts dispersed into an acid. Acid stains react with the lime in the concrete to produce the color. There are typically 8-10 acid stain earth tone colors, but can be manipulated by using higher dilution ratios and combing colors.

Acid stains can be used for many applications such as; interior concrete floors, garage floors, exterior sidewalks and patios, concrete driveways, and concrete walls. Some acid stain colors such as the green and blue are not suitable for outdoor use since they are not U.V resistant.

For photos click here.

Staining Concrete With Dyes

The use of concrete dyes to stain concrete is a very popular choice because of the color options available. There are over thirty different colors choices and they can be combined to make even more custom colors. The main benefit of using dyes as apposed to acid stains is that the dyes produce a more accurate color. Concrete dyes can be used when the concrete is going to be sealed after staining the concrete or they can be used when the concrete is going to be mechanically polished.