Introduction to Acid Stained Concrete / Cement Floors
Acid Stained Floors have become a very popular and durable alternative to other floor coverings. Acid Stains give concrete a mottled, variegated, marble-like look. Nothing but polished travertine or marble can compare to the beauty and elegance of an acid stained floor.
It is important to remember that with acid staining you never know exactly what you are going to get. Don't expect Acid Stain to be uniform or have an even tone. Each slab will react differently to the acid so that no two jobs are ever the same and exact results can never be predicted. Even on the same job there may be different coloration and mottling patterns. One thing that can be predicted is that your floors will be beautiful. If you absolutely have to know what you are going to get then go with some other floor covering like linoleum. But if you are a little adventurous and want a unique floor that will leave every visitor in awe, acid stained floors are for you. Remember, it is the unique random coloration of the stain that gives an Acid Stained floor its charm.
Once you have decided that acid stained floors are for you then you just need to decide whether to have someone else do it or to do it yourself. Let me just say that it is not difficult and not really dangerous as long as you take basic safety precautions when applying the acid. Don't let the word acid scare you off. It is about as dangerous as handling pool chemicals. Plus, only one step in the process involves the acid. Most of the work is in the preparation and the application of the sealer or gloss coat.
When we first began the construction of our new home the flooring cost was significant. To make a long story short when we came to the end of the project we were almost out of money and the floor allowance was no longer there. We were familiar with acid staining and had seen it in several very high end homes but were not sure if we could afford to have someone do it for us. Some of the bids were much higher than standard floor covering. When we began researching doing the job ourselves, we found that the materials for our home would only cost $800. Considering the area we would be staining was around 3000 square feet, this amount was very reasonable. All we needed to add was labor.
This article is an introduction of the "Do It Yourself Method" of acid staining. More articles will follow on each step and will be indexed below. I plan to add detailed articles on each step every day or so. Before we get into the specifics of each step, I wanted to describe in general the entire process. These steps are listed below. You will note that we used the sealer method (which is the most popular method) versus the wax method. The prep and staining is the same for both methods but the final steps are different.
1. Choose and purchase the stain, floor cleaner (TSP), floor sealer and floor gloss coat. Also, find and rent a standard floor buffer with a heavy scrub pad.
2. Score any designs that you would like into the floor using a basic circular saw with a concrete blade. Sketch out your lines and follow them with the saw.
3. Tape off anything that needs to be protected from cleaner, stain, sealer, etc.. We used painters tape and butcher paper.
4. Clean floors using Tri Sodium Phosphate, water and the buffer. Then mop the floors several times to remove any residue.
5. Apply acid stain to the floor. We used a pump up sprayer. Use as many applications as necessary to obtain the color depth you need. Then neutralize the acid and mop it up. (follow the manufacturers application and safety procedures)
6. If desired, enhance the color of the floor with a separate non-acid stain sealer mix or a stain/pigment alcohol solution.
7. Seal the color in with a water based sealer. You can spray this on or use a lambs wool applicator.
8. Apply several coats of high gloss sealer with a lambs wool applicator or mop. We use Sunny Side High Gloss Floor Finish.
9. Take off your protective tape and you are done.
The steps above are a general overview of the process of acid staining concrete or cement floors. More detailed articles will follow and will be indexed below.
Acid Stained Concrete Articles