How Stained Concrete is Created

Doug Enright 

Stained concrete can add a unique look and feel to any driveway, walkway or concrete surface. Not all concrete suppliers offer stained concrete, so it's important to find one that does in your local area. While you can get stained concrete out of state, it's more effective to have a company locally who can do it for you. Here's how stained concrete is created if you choose to do it yourself.

How to Create Stained Concrete

Stained concrete can be pre-made or the stain can be done after the concrete is set. If doing the latter, you'll want to remove all trim work from the area to avoid splashing or setting color to it. Removing baseboards and other trim is the best way to do this, even though you can cover these areas, too.

Once the trim work is removed, you'll want to mask your walls to avoid staining them during the process. Use masking paper, not tape and other types of cover, to effectively do this and prevent splash back. Make sure the masking paper is taut against the wall for maximum protection.

Next, you'll use an acid stain to start staining the concrete. You want to always mix this outdoors to avoid any spills and fumes. Wearing protective gear is essential, as most of these stains use hydrochloric acid to work. Make sure to always add stain to your water as opposed to the other way around. Since the acid will be corrosive, make sure you're using a plastic drum to mix otherwise you'll cause corrosion which will mix into the stain and potentially destroy the concrete. Follow the instructions that came with the acid stain. This will vary by stain type.

Once your concrete stain is mixed, you'll want to spray it approximately 18" above the concrete surface. By spraying randomly, you'll get the desired effect of staining as it interacts with the lime in the concrete itself. This will give it a variety of colors similar to the primary color of the stain, which is your desired effect.

Let you first coat of stain dry, usually about an hour before applying another. Repeat the process until you have the desired color and effect.

When you're finished staining, you want to neutralize your concrete. This is an essential step as it neutralizes the acid to avoid issues in the future. Use the recommended neutralizing agent from the manufacturer's guidelines for the stain you used. Once the concrete is tried again, you can mop the floor to clean up any mess left behind before sealing the concrete from wear and tear.

Once again refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for sealing your particular stain. Use a paint roller is the easiest way to seal your concrete. Make sure to use thin coats, multiple times, for the best protection from every day wear and tear.

Give the sealant 24 hours to set before removing the masking paper, reinstalling your trim and wiping down the floor once more to see how your hard work paid off in creating stained concrete for your home, office or project.

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