Acid stained concrete cost per square foot

Acid stained concrete cost per square foot


Are you looking for acid stained concrete floors, but you don’t know what it would cost and it’s putting you down? Or maybe you are new to residential concrete staining and the first thing you want to learn is the cost of it?

No matter which one is the question, I’ll be making it my job here to provide you some answers. Concrete stain calculators can give you the rough cost, but there is always more to the job than square feet.

Acid stained concrete floors

Perhaps your decision to acid-stain your concrete into a beautiful color of loveliness is simply waiting for a breakdown. By breakdown, that means a breakdown of prices that will convince you that this is really the easiest, cheapest, and most beautiful way to go. Before that, let us have a short view of what staining with acid is.

So, let us go through what acid staining is so you can understand the following about cost a bit better. When concrete is stained with acid, the minerals in concrete react with the acid, and the new color is introduced to the surface. It is a bit different from the traditional kind of painting and the results are also harder to predict.

Personally, I always advise on making a sample piece so that the customer and contractor both know what kind of floor will be coming out of the process. It’s important for the expectations to be met so that everyone can walk away happy from the project.

Here is a basic rundown of the different costs involved with staining your concrete. Remember that these are rough estimates that change from place to place.

Acid staining is a chemical reaction

As stated before, acid staining is a chemical reaction, and to know just what is involved with staining concrete, read more on the link. Instead of being something that is just applied to the surface and left to dry, like paint or a sealer, with acid staining we have to wait for the reaction, and when it’s time we have to stop it.

Because of this, it can be a bit more pricey than just a can of paint or stain as you’re paying mostly from the experience and time of the expert. If you can do it yourself, it will get a lot cheaper.

To calculate the cost of the “stain” portion of your total bill, let us assume that you have already calculated the cost of laying the concrete. Thus we will begin with a slab of concrete, cured but unfinished.

Preparing the surface

First, you will need to use a grinder to prepare the surface of the concrete for the stain. This usually costs around $100 per day, in addition to purchasing each diamond pad that is used to grind the surface of the concrete. These pads cost about $10 each.

If it’s old concrete surface it needs to be gleaned of grease and everything else that might affect the stain or show under it. You can check this indoors guide for acid staining that I have here to get better picture.

Cheapest way to stain concrete is having it made simple

Simple stains

The actual acid stain concrete cost per square foot highly depends on the kind of acid stain you plan to do. For example, if you are doing a simple staining–the same color over the entire surface of the floor–you can expect to pay about $2 to $4 per square foot.

Larger simple projects tend to cost less per square foot, so the project size will affect the cost as well. The reasons for this can be many like competition between contractors (bigger projects are more income) or if it’s whole day project instead of few hours the cost of wasted time is lower (setting up the tools, preparing, etc.).

Medium difficulty

Medium-difficulty projects will cost a bit more. These kinds of projects involve some saw-cut patterning and various colors laid between the cuts. They will probably cost you anywhere between $4 and $10 a square foot.

Naturally the increase is from the work involved in creating the patterns. Materials are the same so it doesn’t bring much to the picture.

Complex patterns

Very complex staining patterns will obviously cost the most. Sawcut patterns with more complex coloring, i.e. multiple different salts incorporated, will obviously cost more.

They usually run in the range of $8 to $15 per square foot. The most complex jobs of all will cost anywhere from $12 to $25 per square foot.

These kinds of jobs incorporate fancy techniques such as sandblasted stencil work and include the coloring, cleanup, and sealing of the stenciled area. Thus they involve quite a bit of work and many hours of dedicated labor.


This should have opened up the acid-stained concrete cost per square foot a little bit. Of course, you have to remember that the costs listed in these articles are not hard and fast rules that every decorative concrete company must abide by. The cost for the same project can vary from place to place or even from company to company.

If you have a famous contractor that already has his calendar booked, he’s not going to increase his workload for free. His not-so-well-doing competitor might lower the price on the other hand.

Different cities will cost you differently, just like competitive companies will charge different prices for the same services. Instead of worrying about which company is the cheapest, it is wise to focus instead on the quality that each company within your budget provides.

You will want to read their testimonials, talk with referrals, and find out plenty of information besides the price tag of your project before you hire any company for any acid-staining concrete job.

If you’re interested, here are few tips on hiring a contractor that applies here as well. It’s good to do your research before you start a project like this as good results are important here.

No matter if it’s a driveway or interior floors you’re staining, the end result will affect how valuable others will see your house. Well done staining will more than likely increase it while the poor job will make everyone think how much it will cost to replace it.

And of course, if you’re interested in doing this yourself and saving money, here is a guide here on how to stain concrete yourself. It’s not that difficult, but it might be a good idea to practice on something first. After you get the feeling of how it works, you’re ready for the big surfaces.