Staining concrete floors indoors

Staining concrete floors indoors

Are you tired of looking at your dull concrete floors at home? Do you want to add some character and style to your floors?

Consider concrete staining if you’re searching for ways to decorate your floors. It’s a popular and cost-effective way to enhance the look of your floors.

You can transform your plain and unattractive floors into a work of art with concrete staining. You can create a unique, personalized look that matches your style and taste.

In this text, I will provide detailed information on achieving concrete floor staining so you can have beautiful, impressive floors that you and your guests will love.

Stained concrete floors in the house

Concrete stain sounds like something that would be very difficult to remove from the rug. You know the story: the construction worker in the family comes home with boots covered in gray, and soon, they’re all mashed into the carpet.

Well, it’s time for a radical re-orientation on the concrete stain. Instead of a messy problem, it’s a way to decorate. And not with concrete, but acid. The design possibilities are endless and very attractive.

You can use water-based concrete or film-forming stain for those who don’t want to work with acids. Both are valid options, but they work differently from acid stains.

How concrete staining works

When staining concrete, acid is not always the only option. There is a fascinating recipe-like process where salt and lime (metallic and hydrated, respectively) react with the concrete to form exquisite colors and intricate designs.

What makes these stains so appealing is their ability to create unique patterns and colors and provide a natural appearance to the concrete surface. Once stained, the sheen produced looks like the concrete’s original look.

It’s important to note that there are differences in how the three types of stains (acid, penetrating, and film-forming) work. Acid stain works via a chemical reaction while penetrating stains fill the pores of the concrete. On the other hand, film-forming stains are more similar to floor sealers.

This guide will focus on acid stain, the most commonly used and challenging of the three types.

Painting or staining concrete floors depends on what you wish from the end result

How to apply concrete stain indoors

If you want to give your indoor concrete floor a fresh, new look, using an acid stain is a great option. This type of stain creates a unique variegated marbling or mottled pattern in a range of earth tones, adding elegance and character to your living space.

What sets an acid-based concrete stain apart from a non-reactive water-based stain is that it penetrates the concrete’s surface rather than just coating it. This results in a more permanent effect that lasts for years to come.

The acid-based stain typically penetrates between 1/16 to 1/32 inch of the concrete, depending on the specific product and application method.

It’s worth noting that the degree of penetration can also depend on the porosity of the concrete, which can be influenced by factors such as age, composition, and previous treatments. However, an acid-based concrete stain generally provides a more durable and long-lasting finish than other types of stains.

Overall, if you’re looking for a way to enhance the appearance of your indoor concrete floor, using an acid-based stain can be an excellent investment. Its unique variegated pattern and long-lasting durability can add style and value to your home.

If you have floors in lousy condition, look at some of our how-to-fix concrete cracks guides to see if there is a good solution there.

Begin with cleaning the floor.

If you plan to apply an acid stain to your indoor concrete floors, cleaning and preparing them thoroughly is essential. Before using the stain, remove any old glue, paint, waxes, grease, or paint from the concrete surface.

These contaminants can be visible on the surface or may seep into the microscopic cracks of the concrete.

To clean the concrete properly, use a good-quality trisodium phosphate and water mixture or other phosphate-free concrete cleaning product. You must apply the cleaning solution and allow it to work for a while before removing it using fresh water and a mop.

This will help to remove any dirt or grime that may be present on the concrete surface.

Suppose your floor has cracks or other imperfections. In that case, it is essential to patch and repair them before applying the stain. This will ensure that the stain adheres well to the surface and that the final finish looks smooth and even.

It is important to note that you should not use an aggressive acid wash to clean the concrete surface before applying the acid stain. Such products can destroy the natural beauty of the aggregate used in the concrete-making process and yield inferior results.

Therefore, using a mild cleaning solution to clean the surface thoroughly is better.

Once the floor has completely dried, you can apply the acid stain. Following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and using the stain in a well-ventilated area is advisable.

You should also wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, to prevent accidental contact with the acid stain.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your stained concrete floor looks great and lasts for a long time.

Things to consider before staining

If you plan to stain your indoor concrete floors, you have a couple of options. You can leave your floors as they are or add some interest and detail by scoring and stenciling your floors before staining them. Doing so will give your floors more depth and detail and make them look more visually appealing.

To create a 3-dimensional look, you can use an angle grinder to make scores approximately 1/16 of an inch deep. Using a straight edge is essential to get uniform and consistent lines. Once the scoring and possible stenciling have been completed, clean any concrete dust or excess material and ensure the surface is clean.

It’s important to note that when applying the acid stain, you can use it at full strength or dilute it with water. If you want a more subdued effect on the changed appearance of your interior concrete floor, it is best to cut the stain with water. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when applying the stain, as it is an acid-based product.

Before starting the staining process, make sure that you wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, protective eyewear, and a mask. Additionally, ensure that the area in which you’re working is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

Following these steps, you can quickly achieve a beautifully stained concrete floor that adds character and personality to your home or business space.

Applying the acid stain

You could use two methods to apply the stain to your concrete surface. The first uses an inexpensive garden-type plastic pump sprayer, a convenient and quick way to spread the stain evenly. The second method uses a soft bristle brush, which is more precise and ideal for smaller areas.

Whichever method you choose, applying a thin coat of stain that will saturate the surface without forming puddles is essential. This is because the puddles can lead to uneven coloring and staining, which can be hard to fix later.

After applying the stain, allow it to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Remember not to press too hard if you use a brush, as it can create visible brush strokes on the concrete surface. To avoid this, keep your brush strokes light and even.

Once the stain is dry, a residue will form on the surface, which needs to be neutralized using a water and ammonia mixture. To make the mixture, mix a gallon of water with a cup of ammonia and apply it to the surface.

Allow the mixture to sit briefly before rinsing the surface with fresh water.

Your newly stained floor should have a beautiful and permanent new look with a distinct range of darker and lighter color patterns. These colors are earthy and can vary in intensity based on the degree of limestone and other organic materials that underwent the chemical reaction.

To maintain the look, you can apply wax once or twice yearly to protect the surface from scratches and scuffs. When cleaning your floor, use a mild detergent and water to avoid damaging the surface.


Staining concrete floors indoors can be a transformative and rewarding process, but it requires some attention to detail and preparation.

To achieve the best results, addressing any imperfections on the floor before applying the stain is crucial. This might involve filling in cracks, holes, or other blemishes with a patching compound and then sanding and smoothing the surface until it’s even.

If there are still visible patches after the fix, it’s possible to use the stain to fade them and create a more cohesive look.

However, in some cases, even the most skilled stain wizard might only partially conceal the patches. In these situations, it might be necessary to resurface the floor, which involves applying a thin layer of concrete or other material on top of the existing floor and then staining it.

This option might require more time, effort, and resources, but it can result in a flawless and durable surface lasting for years.

Whether you patch, fade, or resurface, it’s important to remember that staining concrete floors indoors is a process that takes time and effort. It requires patience, practice, attention to detail, and the right tools, materials, and techniques.

But if you’re willing to work, you can create a stunning and unique floor that will enhance the beauty and value of your home or business. It would help if you had a picture of how staining concrete floors indoors works. The process is simple but might take some work and practice to do perfectly.

When it comes to any floor decoration, it’s essential to fix the imperfections on the floor, and if the patches show, you might need to try to fade them with the stain.

The problem with the old floors is that most of the time, they do need fixing. It might resurface and stain if the patches can’t fade as you want.

It might not be an option many people want to hear, but I’d take the extra steps to have the best floor I can. Some wizards can fade most of the fixes. Still, I do decorative work so randomly that I make the conditions perfect before I start.