Cleaning Up Concrete: Acid Staining Floors
Are you looking for a way to redecorate old flooring without spending thousands of dollars on new carpets, tile, or hardwood flooring? Do you have a basement floor that has been marred by the aftereffects of flooding or leaks? An innovative answer to challenging remodeling problems, acid staining is a perfect solution for creating fantastic patterns on old, dirty concrete flooring.
How does the process of acid staining work? First, the stains used in this technique contain acid. The acid in the stain causes the concrete to become more porous. The water contained in the stains interacts with the concrete and causes the production of calcium hydroxide, also known as lime. The colors in the stain, which are derived from metallic salts, then react with the lime formations in the concrete. The most intense color results will be achieved with concrete that contains large deposits of calcium.
Getting started is easy. If the concrete is newly poured, you will need to wait about three weeks to allow the floor to completely cure and harden before you can start. Begin by scrubbing away the surface dirt with a good cleaner. After you have cleaned the floor and allowed it to dry thoroughly, you are ready to start. Choose the design that most appeals to you and coordinates with the rest of the room.
A wide assortment of patterns is available, or you can create your own unique design if you prefer. Pattern designs range from very simple to intricately complex, ornate decorations. If your heart is set on a particularly elaborate design, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Alternatively, practice your design on an exterior deck, or even the garage floor, so that you achieve the desired effect without frustrating errors.
Some helpful tools include sprayers, brushes, and a diamond-bladed saw. Sprayers and brushes are used to spread the stain across the flooring. Saws are generally used to cut patterns in the concrete after the stain and the first coat of sealer have been applied to the floor.
If you are planning to use stencils, determine whether you are going to remove the stain from the stenciled areas through sandblasting or by using gel acids. Stencils are generally used to allow the natural concrete flooring to show through a patterned area. Many designs are available in vinyl stencils, which can only be used once. Others, made of paper, can frequently be used multiple times.
Although metallic salts offer many interesting color options, other alternatives, such as dyes, are also available. These offer color shades that are typically more intense and brightly hued than those achieved with concrete stains. Both offer excellent long-lasting results, especially when protected after completion with polyurethane sealant. Generally, two coats of sealant are recommended after the stains and dyes are applied and allowed to dry.
This imaginative, innovative technique is a resourceful way to enhance the beauty of concrete flooring. Turn your old, stained floor into the talk of the neighborhood with this clever approach!