Posted by: Diane | March 17, 2016

How I Stained Our Concrete Living Room Floor

I was very lovingly reminded by one of my daughters that I haven’t updated my blog in a while.  I must apologize.  While I have many things to write about, especially when it comes to the house we are building, I simply haven’t been writing.

So here is a post for you to enjoy.
(Picture heavy! )

I decided to stain the concrete floors in the kitchen and living room.

I decided to do the living room in a solid color because it was a very large area.  I got more creative with the kitchen floor and decided to make it look like flagstone in a random pattern.


I did quite a bit of research online looking at various stains (acid or water-based), dyes and paints.  I also researched techniques and how-to advice.  I decided to use  H&C stain as it had excellent reviews and I could purchase it locally at Sherwin-Williams.

Unfortunately, when I went to the store, they only had two colors to choose from:  a golden tan and a coffee brown.  They could order more, but it would take a week to come in.  That just didn’t fit into my schedule.  Fortunately, those two colors were close to what I wanted anyway.  So I bought them, the cleaner/etcher, and the sealer that goes on top.




The other problem I ran into was that they only sell the stain by the gallon.  I wanted to purchase small amounts of different colors to use for the “flagstone.”  Sherwin-Williams needs an “artsy-fartsy” section in their store for people like me.

So, on the way home, I stopped by Home Depot and got a quart of three different colors of concrete dye.   Notice that I didn’t say “stain.”  I didn’t think there was any appreciable difference since they are both water-based.  This mistake later worked to my advantage.

I had swept the floors carefully, and started taping and using plastic to protect the walls from the stain.


The stain I purchased was a water-based stain.  Acid stains etch the concrete as they stain.  With the water-based stain you have to etch and clean the concrete prior to applying the stain.  So, with the help of the twins one evening and Micah the next day (because the cleaner/etcher doesn’t tell you how much floor it covers so I ran out and had to go buy more) we cleaned and etched the floor.

We worked in 8-10 ft square patches.  It goes like this:  wet the floor with a pressurized mist sprayer, sprinkle diluted cleaner/etcher on the floor using a watering can, scrub with a push broom until it stops foaming, use a shop vac to suck up the dirty water,  flood the area with clean water from a garden hose, vacuum the rinse water up, and repeat the rinsing two or three more times.  This is the hard part, folks.  With the twins, one person could work ahead misting, sprinkling and scrubbing while the other two of us handled the rinsing and vacuuming.  After that, you have to let the floor dry thoroughly.



The stain is also diluted before use and is applied with the pressurized sprayer.  How much to dilute is up to you.  I did 1:1.

I didn’t find much detailed information on how to apply the stain.  It was mostly advice along the lines of “spray it on and let it dry for several hours.”  Not helpful.

Here is what you need to know:
When you start to apply it, you will think that no color is being applied.  It will look like you are just dampening the concrete.  Don’t be fooled.  Apply enough to dampen the concrete thoroughly without causing puddles.  You can always add more later if you think it needs it.  The color will be there!  I promise.

I applied the stain too heavily to most of the floor.  It puddled and left pools of color in places.  It doesn’t look bad, it just isn’t what I was going for.  It actually gives the floor a somewhat “industrial” look.  What I would do the next time is try for a more “speckled” look.  Think of a picture drawn with pointellism.  Look closely and you see the dots.  Step back and it looks solid.

This is what I’m talking about:


I used a golden brown color as the base.  Then I went back while the base coat was wet and used a trigger sprayer to add spots of a dark coffee brown.


You can see where I taped the plastic down to mark the edge of the kitchen floor before applying stain to the living room floor.

After the stain dries completely, you apply a couple of coats of glossy sealer to the floor with a low-nap paint roller and let that dry.



Here is the finished floor:




In my next post I’ll show you how I did my kitchen floor.


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