What affects concrete staining cost

What affects concrete staining cost


The last part was about how to prepare for concrete staining on new construction. This part will be about what affects concrete staining cost and what trouble might come from staining old carpet or tile floor.

Concrete staining cost

When it comes to staining concrete, the prices are usually based on the actual square footage of the building. Just as an architect, designer or appraiser would measure, wall to wall, that is how to measure. Why would they do it this way? In short, they have to tape off all the walls within that area and that is a lot of extra work and it has to be counted too.

The prices most likely will not include excessive cleaning of the concrete floor, protective covering of the slab upon completion, post-construction cleaning, or any other service not listed on the estimate/proposal. They should do everything in their power to create beautiful and cost-effective floors, but cleaning is usually not on their mind when they arrive. A little assistance from yourself and the general contractor goes a long way in this.

Everyone fully expects to have to do a little overlapping here and there during construction. It just has to be scheduled so that everyone can work as best as they can in this situation. There is no charge for minor overlapping and the wasted time it causes but there will be a charge if there are areas that they have to totally redo due to abuse from other contractors.

For floors that have been completed in an overlay all of the above conditions apply. In addition, an extra day or two should be given before heavy traffic is allowed on the floor.

Cheapest way to stain concrete is to have no extra work for the staining crew

Schedule should be well planned for the project

Scheduling is critical to our performance and the outcome of your project. You should contact your contractor 3-4 weeks in advance in the fall and winter and 5-6 weeks in advance during the spring and summer.

Summers are always busy times in construction work so it needs more planning during that time. They want to make sure that they have enough time to give your project the attention it deserves so they usually ask to be notified well in advance of your project.

Everyone knows that project scheduling changes as projects changes, especially with commercial projects. Staining contractors just want to be kept in the loop so they can make sure that they have an adequate amount of time to complete your project as well as their other clients.

Stain color is different for every slab

When it comes to staining, it’s good to remember that it is unlike painting where you have a pigmented paint to put on the surface of your choice.

Concrete acid stains and pigmented stains react chemically with the free lime in the concrete or overlay. Concrete acid stain color charts will show what the typical concrete slab or concrete overlay will render but due to the differences in concrete slabs from company to company and area of the country, concrete slab colors may vary.

This is why it is best to do a sample on the concrete slab itself. It should be done and approved before the major work so there won’t be any surprises for the customer. It should be part of good service.

It is a little different with a concrete overlay. You first of all with get a more consistent color and this color will be more vivid and in most cases more dramatic. This is because the mix is consistent and we are using white Portland cement in the mix as opposed to grey Portland cement in normal concrete.

Former carpet and tile surfaces and things to note for staining


Tack strips are sometimes used to hold down your carpet in this case when you pull up the tack strip you will create holes in the concrete because the tack strips are nailed into the concrete and they always pull up a little concrete when you rip them out. Obviously, these have to be repaired and usually, it will show under the staining.

Carpet adhesives

Carpet adhesive may have been used on the floor for your carpet or the padding or indoor-outdoor carpet which was very popular in the past. In the case of concrete staining, all of this material will need to be removed. There are many carpet adhesive removers that work extremely well for this situation. A razor scraper in 4” or 8” will come in handy for this situation.

Even in the case of great adhesive removal, you may be left with a bit of residue in the pores of the concrete. This may not be visible until you stain the concrete floors. You just need to be aware of this condition when you make your decision between stained concrete floors and stained concrete overlays.

VCT tile glue

VCT tile glue can be dealt with in the manner described above for carpet adhesive removal. You may need to use a different adhesive remover and water-based adhesive remover.

Porcelain and ceramic tiles

Porcelain or ceramic tile is a whole different ball game. When you remove the tile you are left with the grid marks of the tile where it has stained the concrete. In other words, the grout for the tile has allowed all the materials that stained it through to the concrete.

You are left with a surface that can be “stained” but you will see the grid on the concrete. There are specific faux techniques to take your eye away from the grid, but the marks will remain. It will be from hard to impossible to hide them completely, depending on the marks.

In this case, a concrete overlay is a great alternative to concrete staining. You can create any look you want and contrary to what many “concrete stainers” say overlays can be troweled just as smooth as concrete and will allow for the “aged marble effect” you may be looking for.

You can even get a textured concrete floor with an overlay which you cannot do with concrete. Personally, I’m with this school of thought as overlay is pretty easy to apply and it can fake a new floor look well.

Old concrete floors

Many warehouses have been converted to lofts and many old residences have concrete that is 30-40-50 years and older. The concrete may have lost a lot of the free lime from the surface (which is what the metal salts in the stain react with) and may not be a good candidate for concrete floor staining.

While tests can be done on the concrete to determine the viability of staining for that surface many times an overlay can be used in this situation. If you are bound and determined to stain the concrete you have there are products such as Scofield’s “Enhancer” which can add some of the ingredients necessary to stain back into the concrete. This can work on some concrete slabs but not all.

Another way here is again the concrete overlay as well.

Paint Over-spray

While this is definitely a project stopper in the case of a stained concrete floor, the project can be saved when using an overlay. You will of course need to remove all the paint and we will use a liquid polymer on the concrete to ensure adhesion.


Concrete that has been poured at different times can render different hues of stain color even when sprayed at the same times. This is because concrete coming from different companies has different ingredients such as the amount of fly ash dissimilar brands of Portland cement and so forth. You can even have different ingredients coming from the same company at different times of the year.


I hope these two articles have given you some insights into the possibilities and even some of the limitations of concrete floor staining and the advantages of the concrete overlay when concrete staining is not the right fit. Some parts might have been a little repetitive, they are that important to the success of your project.

You can still have your stained floors in the case of concrete overlays but there are several surprising things you will find with concrete overlay floors; the floors are warmer on your feet than tile, you will get brighter and more vivid colors with the overlay, you can have textured floors which resemble stone or marble, are much less expensive and require a lot less maintenance than real marble.

As a last thought on this subject. A success with finishing surface products always comes from the careful preparation that is done before it. It’s the same with epoxy floor coatings, paints, etc.