Acid Staining Concrete Floors

I don’t know exactly where the acid stained concrete floors idea came from, but I think it was my very daring and creative husband, who then somehow managed to get me to actually do the dirty work. See, to hire a pro to acid stain concrete floors is actually pretty expensive and by that I mean out of our budget. So, many months ago I started learning everything I could about acid staining concrete. Like everything else in interior design there are a lot of options. You can use water based stain, acid based stain, concrete dye, pigments that actually go in the mix or a combination of these techniques. There are probably other options too but I’ve nearly finished my project now so I’m done researching how to color concrete.

I decided to use Kemiko Stone Tone Acid Stain which reacts with the minerals present in the concrete giving it the look and feel of natural stone. What this means is you choose a color shade and the acid will react with the concrete resulting in a marbled coloring that is not necessarily consistent. So be forewarned, if you choose to acid stain you must be willing to accept a result that doesn’t exactly match what you were expecting.

Acid stained concrete needs to be sealed and there are two different categories of sealers, topical sealers and penetrating sealers. Topical sealers consist of Epoxy, Acrylic and Urethane based products which will result in a shiny finish. Penetrating sealers actually penetrate the concrete but do not change the appearance of the surface. Using a wax on top of a penetrating sealer is recommended to add an extra layer of protection and will add a slight sheen.

After you’ve made these decisions it’s time to stain. The acid staining process consists of many steps which I learned from watching just about every YouTube video on acid staining concrete. Here is the best video I found. It explains everything you need to know.

One thing that no one tells you is how drastically different the color looks from one stage to the next. Check out the series below.

Immediately after acid stain application…

Immediately after stain application

Almost dry…

Almost dry

Completely dry after two coats of stain…

Completely dry

And guess what? Sealer was applied to the floor today and once again the color has changed slightly, thankfully for the better! Pics soon to come!! 🙂


About designnsuch

I am a just turned thirty, diy maven in the midst of a major home renovation.
This entry was posted in Decorative Concrete, The Great Renovate and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Acid Staining Concrete Floors

  1. Mary P says:

    Our family built our home 9 years ago. The Kemiko stain was applied with a garden sprayer. We opted NOT to seal the floors w epoxy, acrylic or a urethane . Instead we used the wax from Kemiko. It has held up to the rural lifestyle with mud, dirt, kids and pets. When I notice the finish needing a boost, I just wax and rebuff. This has alleviated any need to strip peeling sealers or wax. The Bissell steam mop also makes this floor easy care. Great floor. This will never need to be replaced due to wear. I recommend this to everyone.

    • designnsuch says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Mary! We applied the Sta-Natural penetrating sealer from Kemiko which like yours is not epoxy, acrylic or urethane based, and will apply the wax on top. We like the natural appearance of the concrete which is why we opted for the penetrating sealer.
      I’m really happy to hear the floor has held up so well. Thanks for the tip on maintenance, I will definitely be getting a Bissell steam mop!

  2. Anthony & Ulla says:

    Great Blog!
    You’ve done all the homework on this project that i am just starting to research!
    Have you got ant finished pics of the floor? my wife & I are very interested, and i’m going to try & rope her into doing it also…

    • designnsuch says:

      Hi Anthony!
      Thanks so much for your interest. If you check out this post you can see what the floor looked like when it was done. Since then we had to have the floors redone. After a short time the concrete just started to pulverize in some areas and the floor was just turning to dust and disappearing. We had the floors redone with a cementitious product called Ardex sd-m. The contractor we hired skipped two steps in the installation process so we had to add an additional sealer. However the floors are still very delicate. Even with all these problems I would still choose concrete floors but I would look into polished concrete which becomes much more dense (supposedly). If you look in the decor posts you can see what the floors look like now. Good luck!

  3. Sabine says:

    Hi there, we have built a contemporary house 3 years ago and have installed colored concrete flooring, which looks awesome. It was sealed but I still experience some stains in the kitchen/stove area. Do you have any experience how to manage oil stains? It seems that it went through the sealer..
    Thank you

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