Painted and stained concrete is an economic choice for flooring and offers a variety of choices for color, texture and pattern. Though the "mottled" look is a very common method of staining floors, there are a variety of techniques that can create faux finishes as well as intricate stencil designs.
The Mottled Look
The mottled look is achieved with a technique called acid staining. After a primer coat has been painted on the floor, an epoxy leveling solution is sprayed fairly heavily, wetting the entire floor. Puddles are allowed to accumulate in uneven areas. The result of the heavy application of acid stain is a floor with varied richness of color (especially in the puddled areas), giving a rustic look to the concrete.
Faux Finish Look
Using a base stain and adding various color enhancers can achieve a faux look. For example, you can achieve the look of marble or granite by mixing different color enhancers with water. This makes them translucent, and the finish is very effective on a smooth concrete floor.
Glossy, Even Finish
Diluting an acid stain with three parts water and one part stain achieves a glossy, even finish. Acid stain usually leaves etchings and marks which can make the floor look a bit dull, but adding water and preventing the stain solution from pooling up create a smooth, flat and extremely glossy finish.
To add more depth and color, acid stain is diluted with water and sprayed in a mist over the concrete. The same is done with the next color, but with less water. This is continued until the floor is completely colored. This technique can also be mixed with stenciling and painting for interesting effects.
Paint can be used to create the look of marble, slate and other stones. Elaborate tile and decorative designs can also be painted on, as can stencil art. The paint is finished with a urethane topcoat. Painting is a much less common coloring method for concrete floors. They are usually stained with an acid wash.
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