One way of decorating concrete floors is staining. You can imprint beautiful colors and patterns to impress your visitors and please your eyes. But what are stains? How are stains useful in decorating dull and unattractive concrete floors? Probably you’ve come across a stained concrete floor but didn’t know it was stained. Keep on reading to learn all the details about stains.
There are three types of concrete stains categorized according to their mode of action. They include acid stains, film-forming, and penetrating stains. You can get them in various colors, shades, textures, and tints.
Film-forming stains are popular and common. These stains behave much like paints and coat the concrete surface to bring the desired effect. One major disadvantage with film-forming stains is they get damaged by rough weather, heavy traffic, and UV rays. Consequently, the coat will fade, scratch, and peel away.
Penetrating stains offer a more permanent solution compared to film-forming stains. Typically, water-based stains are formulated to seep through the concrete using pores and cling to the concrete. You don’t have to worry about re-staining soon because the possibility of peeling, fading, and flaking is very minimal. Moreover, these stains are available in a wide range of hues and tints. From bold colors to very light and translucent stains, the choice is all yours. Being user-friendly, you can customize your concrete floor by mixing different stains to create new colors. The downside is that they don’t camouflage surface defects and flaws.
You want a marble-looking floor without digging deeper into the pocket for marble? Go for acid stains. Acid stains are different from water stains both by components and mode of action. Being acidic in nature, they produce a chemical reaction with minerals in the concrete to have the desired effect. This is called etching. Apart from being expensive, acid stains demand more experience and utmost adherence to safety precautions during application.
How to apply stains
Prepare the surface for application.
The first rule is to never carry staining operations on the dirty concrete. For a start, clean the surface thoroughly. Household cleaner and water will do. Use degreasers, etchers, and stain removers. Grease causes the coat formed by film-forming stains to peel. It also renders penetrating stains ineffective by blocking pores in concrete. If you want to apply acid stains, ensure that the cleaning solution doesn’t contain chemicals that will react with the acid. Scrub the concrete surface thoroughly and rinse with clean water, preferably under pressure. Leave the surface to dry before beginning operations.
For stain application, you will need brushes, rollers, or plastic sprayers. Brushes and rollers are practical for film-forming stains. Make fluid even strokes using a roller or a brush. You should maintain a wet edge to prevent streaking.
The plastic sprayer is much more effective with acid stains. Hold the wand at a distance of one to two feet over the floor and use circular motions to spray the acid stain over the floor. Don’t let the stain pool on the working surface.
Finally, apply a sealer. You must use a sealer over the acid-stained surface to further enhance the marble appearance. A sealant is not necessary over the film-coated surfaces, but it provides further protection against mechanical damage such as scratches.
More tips and safety precautions
Most of these chemicals may harm you. Wear safety clothing such as rubber boots, respiratory masks, gloves and safety goggles.
Tape off the walls to prevent staining them too.
Select a sample area to practice on before doing the actual job for color consistency. For penetrating stains, pour a small amount of water on the surface to determine its polarity. If the water seeps through the surface, it can take penetrating stains.
Remember to start and stop the container whenever using a sprayer to prevent dripping.
Use saw cuts as safety precautions if you aren’t confident in your skill. It’ll be easier to redo smaller areas compared to the whole room.
Stains are an easy and effective way to customize your concrete floor. Choose the type of stain that you can afford, and that is suitable to you. Beautify your floor!