In manufacturing or industrial environments, aesthetic considerations take a back seat to functionality, and grey works just fine. But what if you have concrete inside or outside of your home? Suddenly aesthetics are just as important as functionality. If you have a patio area with a concrete floor, you want to inspire frivolity and fun for your guests, not remind them of an auto body shop. Fortunately for the concrete-bedecked home owner, the choices for staining concrete are numerous, and the potential for different types of designs is as easy as deciding on a pattern. Colors range from earthy browns to exotic reds and greens. Staining your concrete can also save you money, as well — instead of covering it with expensive flooring material such as ceramic tiles, marble or hardwood planks, a decorative stain application will foster a beautiful look while costing half as much as those other options. If you are interested in staining your concrete floor, follow along with these simple instructions.
Plan and Prepare
Although staining concrete is a relatively easy task, you do not want to just start spraying away. A thorough understanding of your intentions and ultimate outcome is necessary to have before you even buy the stain. Consider the context of the concrete and its surroundings. How would different colors react with the furniture and the walls? What patterns could you implement, and what effect would they have on the decor? It might be worth the investment to hire an interior decorator. Their professional opinion might be the difference between a job well done and a wasted job. Go to your local home improvement store and look through the various colors and stains they have available. Seeing the various colors in person should help you make a decision.
When you have settled on an appropriate design, and know the colors and patterns you would like to implement, you can start preparing the concrete for the stain application. First, determine if you have a weather sealant or cure on your concrete. If you do, you will have to strip it with a sealant remover, as its presence will block the application of stain and result in a lackluster color. If you do not have sealant, begin by thoroughly cleaning your floor with a strong soap or astringent and water. Look for any irregularities, bumps and imperfections, and sand them over. In fact, it is a good idea to sand the entire surface of concrete, as this will make it much more receptive to the stain. Once you have cleaned and sanded the floor and given it time to dry, put down painters tape and drop cloth over the areas that you do not want stained, or want to stain later with a different color.
Stain the Concrete
Now you are ready for the fun part, actually staining the concrete. You may want to don a respirator and safety glasses before you begin, so you don’t accidentally inhale any of the stain. Most stains are applied via a spraying mechanism attached to the bottle of stain, but you will still want to have a paintbrush to ensure that it absorbs into the concrete properly. You may want to have an assistant nearby to deal with the brushing as you handle the spraying. Cover the concrete completely, and work in one area at a time. After you have covered a patch of concrete, have your assistant go over it with the paintbrush. It is best to use the brush in circular motions. This helps keep the appearance of brush strokes down. If you would like to add patterns that may require a little more complexity than you can achieve with the painters tape and drop cloth, use a durable type of cardboard as a stencil. Just cut your pattern into the cardboard, and have your assistant hold it down as you spray over it. After you have applied the stain to the entire area, keep the tape and drop cloth on the ground and let the concrete dry overnight. It might be helpful to place signs and warning tape around the edges so passersby don’t accidentally wander into the stained area.