How to Acid Stain Concrete - Alternative Flooring

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Many people are opting out of carpet for their homes and choosing to acid stain their concrete floors instead. Not only does this help reduce allergens in the home, but acid stained concrete is very beautiful, resembling a marble finish, if done correctly. This article will show you how to achieve this look in very little time. Acid staining new concrete is obviously the best idea for time's sake, but I have included the steps to prep your floors if you have other existing flooring.

Things You'll Need

  • acid stain
  • all plastic sprayer
  • roll out plastic sheeting to cover walls
  • masking tape
  • floor sealer
  • smooth paint roller
  • paint tray
  • large good quality paint brush (non-foam)
  • rags
  • plastic gloves
  • old clothes (for you)
  • additional supplies if you're going to be taking up existing carpet
  • wrecking bar
  • hammer
  • Quikrete ready mix concrete
  • paint spatula
  • rough sand paper or an electric sander is better
  • vacuum
  • broom
  • If you currently have carpet proceed with this step. If not, skip to Step 4. Pull up all carpet and carpet padding. Roll up and dispose of these properly.

  • Once the carpet is out you will need to pull up any carpet tacking and concrete nails. Using the wrecking bar and hammer, wedge the bar under the tacking and pull all tacking and carpet nails out of the concrete.

  • This process will probably take chucks out of the concrete so you will need to use the ready mix concrete (Quikrete). Follow the mixing directions on the package. Use a paint spatula to patch the holes along the perimeter of the room. You must allow this new concrete to dry completely. DO not worry about any hairline cracks in the concrete since this will actually add to the character of the acid stain. Major cracks should be filled with Quikrete.

  • When dry sand the floor completely - over and over. You must then vacuum up loose debris and mop the concrete several times so nothing is left. Let dry completely.

  • Cover the walls completely with plastic, using masking tape to secure. If you're going to repaint the walls, you should do this last. Baseboards should be taken up as well.

  • We bought Kemiko's acid stain. They have several colors to choose from. We used Cola Stain. We located a dealer by going to their website at kemiko.com. Instructions on acid staining are also printed on their site. Remember, the product must be ACID stain, otherwise you'll have nothing but a painted looking surface.

  • Begin in the area of the room furthest from the door and make your way toward the door. That way you will not need to step in the areas where you have already applied stain.

  • You should open up all available windows as this process creates a strong odor as it eats at the concrete. Follow the directions on the gallon. You will mix this with water. You MUST use an all plastic sprayer such as a garden pest sprayer. This acid CANNOT contact metal. I think my husband liked the really small all-plastic hand sprayers better - the ones you would use to mist plants. Using these there is more control over where the stain ends up. An all plastic garden pest sprayer works well too. When the acid process is complete you will need to wipe the excess acid off. You can then put a second coat on and repeat the wipedown.

  • Don't be shocked at what the concrete looks like immediately after the acid staining process is complete. It will be ugly!! It will look like rust! Keep in mind the true beauty will not immerge until the sealer is applied.

  • Concrete must dry completely before adding the polyurethane. Use Minwax Water Based Polyurethane for furniture, cabinets, floors and doors to seal the floor. Apply two coats with a smooth paint roller. Use a large paint brush to smooth out the bubbles.

  • Hint: During the sealing process it is best to have two people. One will roll a small area with the paint roller while the other uses the large paint brush to smooth out the bubbles. Again begin in the area furthest from the door.

  • The directions are very self-explanatory from Kemiko. It's the prep that takes the most time. We also stained the hallway. Here is a picture of it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to open all available windows in the house to ventilate.
  • Be sure to use a mask
  • Don't wear any clothing you don't want to get dirty

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