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Concrete staining

How do I stain raw unpolished concrete floors? I know there is a product that I saw in Knoxville, TN, that is water based and can be sprayed on to the concrete floor, but I don't remember the name. I now live in Puerto Rico.


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Posted 2011-02-17T13:59:17+0000  by rubyfuente rubyfuente

Greetings and welcome to our community,


My name is Tom and I am known as HD 116 here in the community. This question come up several times a week in my local store, and is a great one to share with the community at large, so thank you for asking!


As most any project, the key to success is based on proper preparation. This is no different with the staining of concrete. The first step is to prepare the surface to be able to absorb the stain. Of course, the surface should be clean, that is a given. Second the surface receiving the stain must be able to accept uniform coverage of the stain. This is accomplished by what they call "etching". Behr makes a product that is a combination cleaner/etcher that does the trick and saves you both time and money. It is pictured below;



It is designed for indoor and outdoor applications and must be rinsed following the process. Wear protective clothing, goggles and acid resistant rubber gloves & boots. Please pay close attention to the instructions provided. A link to the instructions follows for your convenience;


After cleaning and etching your prepared surface is ready to accept one of the variety of stain options that are available. They include epoxy, traditional concrete stain, and porch and floor paint. Some of these may require a primer which would be the next step in the process. A link to the Behr site which overviews all of your options follows;;view=13;channel=INSPIRATION


I hope you find this information useful in completing your project and again we welcome you to our community!


Posted 2011-02-17T15:19:49+0000  by HD116

Hello Ruth,


I bet the weather is better in Puerto Rico that in Knoxville!


The kind of weather that will make you want to be outside on that concrete patio.


HD116 did a great job of describing the etcher which opens the pores of the cement so it better accepts the stain.


What I would like to discuss are the stains and how to apply them.


Behr makes a semi-transparent concrete stain that will combine the color you select with the color of your cement to create a beautiful, waterproof finish. My customers love to faux finish their patios by putting the product into a pump-up garden sprayer and twirling the wand as they dispense the product onto the concrete. A second person uses a 3/8th nap roller on a pole to roll down the spattered stain, creating an irregular (denser and lighter) pattern.


Most often they will start with a lighter color and add one darker and one deeper colors ... allowing each layer to dry before beginning the next color.


The other option is a solid-color concrete stain that looks like paint, but actually absorbs into the cement (what you expect from a stain). This product creates a uniform color across the entire surface. Like almost all of our solid color products, you can color match if you are going for a decor look.


In either case, one gallon costs between 25 and 30 USD. Expect the first coat to cover 250-300 square feet and the second coat to cover a bit more.



An art teacher at the local HS enlisted my assistance in creating and brick look-a-like pool deck. We found her a four by eight inch rough-sided brick to use as a template, cleaned her deck using the etching solution, hand-drew the outline of the brick onto the deck leaving 1/2 inch faux mortar lines between each and staggering the pattern as if the brick had been laid. A carpenter's pencil proved to be the best tool to draw what seemed like countless outlines. We started, as described earlier with a lighter tan color as a base. Applied each coat with sea sponges, and used a medium brown and a very small amount of burgundy as an accent (third color).


What we produced was a brick look-a-like with the 1/2 inch clean concrete between each faux brick looking like a mortar line and the varying color of the faux brick looking like textured, laid brick. Labor intensive, but outstanding results!


The unexpected benefit was the blue color of the water became much more intense ... Caribbean Blue, if you will. The deeper blue color of the water showed against her "brick" pool deck and turned the whole area into an oasis.


So, whether your project calls for a complete makeover or simply beautifying a concrete patio, Behr's Concrete Stains will provide a water resistant finish under a reasonable project budget.


Posted 2011-02-17T20:08:27+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

question. I live in Victorville, CA  , high desert, Hot & dry. I want to remove my stained carpet from previous owners dogs. ughh & maybe just paint or stain the concrete under it & not replace the carpet. Is that a possiblility ? I see you say to use the cleaner/etcher first & rinse off. I have a problem with that. this is my front room which is a 6 inch drop down. We It's approx 100 sq ft & we have the pool table in there now. Would the cement under it more than likely be uneven ? would I need to grind it first to level it if so, then clean & stain it ?  And how do I remove the excess cleaner & water etc.. Cant really sweep it outside. lol  Wet vac maybe ?  And would it be better to use concrete paint or concrete stain ? I see a grey one online, but my rooms are in earth tones, next to front hallway which is wood & the upper dining room is tile.

Posted 2012-07-08T19:04:38+0000  by LaBray

Hello LeBray!


The first thing that caught my attention in your description was the phrase, "stained carpet from previous owner's dogs."


If you simply mean the surface of the carpet had dirt stains, then by all means proceed.


However, if you mean the dogs "marked" the floor regularly (you would likely notice the odor), then you're on a completely different project list.


For purposes of this answer, I'll reply as if it is just surface stains. You can follow-up if you need detail about removing pet odors.


So, here are your project steps after removing your pool table and other furniture:


1) Remove and discard the carpet, carpet pad, and tack strips;

2) Fill the nail pits using Quikrete Repair Mortar in a caulk tube;

3) If your floor is not smooth enough for your satisfaction, Tool Rental can provide a Diamond Blade Etcher;

4a) If you use the Diamond Blade Etcher, simply vacuum the remaining dust and you're ready to stain;

4b) If you're happy with the floor after removing carpet, use Behr Cleaner Etcher to open the pores in the cement;

5) A wet-dry vacuum will help remove the rinse water that follows etching ... Be Careful this solution is acidic;

6) Allow the surface to air-dry and apply your stain; and

7) If a clear coat is desired (they are not necessary) use Behr Low-Lustre or Behr Hi-Gloss concrete sealer.


NOTE: In this process, I have described concrete stain. This is a penetrating sealer for concrete that comes in solid color or semi-transparent. If you want an overall even color on your floor use solid color. However, with semi-transparent you can create a multicolored faux finish on your floor. Either product will provide a protective coating and either can also be sealed with the concrete sealers described in #7 above.


FINALLY: If you notice pet odor or the floor is discolored by pet urine, you'll need to use an oil-based floor primer to seal the odor before applying floor paint. If you apply a water-based stain, paint, or primer over these pet stains, you'll reactivate the stain and it will bleed through your coating. Follow up after removing your carpet and we can discuss this process in detail.

Posted 2012-07-12T15:50:02+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
I have the second situation where there are dog stains not from dirt but the other. What's the best method to clean those stains? Is dye a better choice over stain in case there is any residual in the concrete. My fear is the chemicals in the stain mixed with any possible undetected urine/feces would make a blotchy / bleedy look. Your advice?
Posted 2012-09-13T14:39:56+0000  by Yluke

Hello Yluke!


Concrete is porous and pet urine or feces embedded into the surface will certainly take several cleanings (three or four) to ensure removal.


And, you are correct! 


Both the remnants from your pet and the remnants from the chemicals used to clean the floor will cause your water-based paints or stains to discolor.


This is why I note above that you will need three or four cleanings.


YOUR PRODUCT QUESTION: "Is dye a better choice over (these) stains in case there is any residual in the concrete?"


No, Behr's dye kit, semi-transparent concrete stain, and solid color concrete stain are all water-based products. If any residual remains in the concrete, all three will discolor as the pet stains bleed back through ... typically within six to eight months.


The only solution to ensure you seal those stains is an oil-based flooring primer and/or an oil-based floor paint.


In most situations, I would prefer stain over paint because stain is a penetrating sealer that leaves the traction of the concrete intact. Paint, on the other hand, is a surface coat that can be slippery when wet and also requires much more effort to recoat when it begins to flake.


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Several years ago, a tenant kept a large dog in a 10 by 12 chain link kennel built into one bay of the garage. Upon moving, the floor had to be pressure washed and deodorized four times to remove the pet remnants as well as the odor.


I used an orange detergent cleaner and a scrub brush to clean. The orange cleaner deodorized and the reputation of orange cleaners proved true ... leaving no visible sign of the problem.


After scrubbing, I allowed the fluid to sit on the surface (but not dry) for about ten-minutes to help deodorize, and used a medium-pressure, wide-fan pressure washer tip to rinse. The wide-fan tip (25 degree) spread the force of the water over a larger area and prevented pitting the concrete.


I repeated this cleaning cycle four times to eliminate both the stain and odor.


MY RECOMMENDATION: Based upon this experience, I believe you can remove all of the pet remnants and odor. You are not likely, however, to remove them with just one cleaning. So, allow time to clean and deodorize completely ... then use concrete stain to obtain the easiest to maintain quality floor coating.

Hope this helps,

Pat InPaint

Posted 2012-09-13T16:55:16+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

Will I get the same results by using an acid etcher and the semi-transparent stain that I would if I used a milder etcher/cleaner and an acidic stain?

Posted 2013-06-11T19:06:47+0000  by UTRebel

Hello UTRebel!


I'm not familiar with products like you describe, "acidic stain."


If you would clarify or better yet, post a photo of the product.




For years, DIYers have created "acid wash" floor coating using several basic steps:

1) Clean and coat the floor with stain (water-based or oil-based will do);

2) Wear protective eye gear, acid gloves, and protective boots;

3) Thin muriatic acid with water (1 to 1) in a plastic bucket;

4) Pour the solution onto the floor, creating acid flow into the low spots or uneven surfaces in the concrete;

5) Allow the acid to etch the new stain, creating random flow marks and allow to air-dry overnight;

6) Rinse with fresh water several times, evacuating with a wet-dry shop vac; and

7) After dry, consider adding a protective clear coat.


Because these techniques expose you to acid that will burn your skin, many DIYers have chosen to create a very similar appearance simply using multiple colors of semi-transparent stain.




More recently, DIYers make acid wash floors like this:

1) Wear protective eye gear, acid gloves, and protective boots;

2) Clean the floors with a mild etcher like Behr Cleaner Etcher, rinse and evacuate with fresh water and a shop vac;

3) Choose three, progressively darker colors of Behr Semi-transparent stain;

4) Use a pump-up garden sprayer and a 3/8th nap roller on a pole for application;

5) Set your spray tip to throw a stream of stain, instead of a fan;

6) Starting at one edge, back up while you rotate your wrist in a loop that spatters the stain in irregular puddles onto the floor;

7) Use your roller to spread the puddles, but DO NOT roll all the puddles into an even coating;

8) Your goal is to maintain the irregular shape of the stain puddles, leaving the surface uncoated and heavily coated in different areas;

9) Allow to dry at least six-hours;

10) Clean your sprayer with fresh water, and then apply your second color onto the still-exposed concrete;

11) With a fresh roller cover, roll the second color slightly overlapping into the now-dry first color;

12) Use your third, accent color to spatter small areas that still have no stain;

13) This accent color will visually be only a very small amount of the floor ... creating noticeable, but intermittent spots of color; and

14) Once dry, consider using a protective clear coat over the floor.




You can create your acid wash floor either way.


The old school, true acid wash tends to create more distinct swirls as the acid picks up and move the stain into random "flows."


The new school non-acid floor will have more of a faux appearance as the colors overlap. The contrast in this floor comes from selecting three colors that contrast ... light base, medium second, and third accent colors.




Whenever pet residue is embedded into the floor, you must remove that residue before applying a water-based coating.


Water-based stains will reactivate the stain as well as the odor, and both will bleed back through.


So, take time to clean thoroughly as described earlier, before applying a water-based floor coating.


Posted 2013-06-18T14:05:45+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

I have a similar question: We had our cement patio poured this week and it was dyed, but the wrong color! I REAAALLLY hate the new color. Can I stain it now? Do I need to wait? Should I use the etcher first? Thanks for the help.  Bethinbfe

Posted 2013-07-01T05:32:16+0000  by bethinbfe

Hi Bethinbfe.  So sorry about the patio.:smileysad:


Yes, you can apply a concrete stain over the top of the dyed patio..Keep in mind that the dyed concrete will influence the color of the stain.  For example; if the dyed concrete is red and you apply a light beige stain over the top - it may turn out pink or flesh tone.You may want to consider doing a solid stain if you are thinking about a big change.


You will need to let the existing concrete cure for about 2 weeks before applying any stain.

Posted 2013-07-01T15:34:34+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL
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