DIY : How To Stain Concrete Floors

by Laura on August 17, 2012

Before buying our new home we knew the current floor HAD to go.

I, of course, wanted hardwood flooring throughout…Markie Mark reigned me in to the idea of concrete.


I searched the Internet for awhile.
I looked at several commercial flooring companies and reviews, and Kemiko seemed to stand out .
This is a color chart for all their stains. We chose Black Stain. It’s not really black, it’s dark brown with some very dark brown/blackish marbling that occurs.

{I will have Aqua Blue Stain somewhere!!}

We purchased our Kemiko Stain & Sealer from Rooster’s Paint on South Congress, Austin TX

Steps to Stain Concrete:
1. Floor Prep – crucial to have clean, dust free surface so that the stain can work right.
2. Apply Stain with correct tools.
3. Clean the concrete again!
4. Seal Seal Seal, and for good charm, Seal!!
(easy peasy)1. Floor Prepping:
So for the first step, get the concrete bare, smooth, clean.
For us this was taking out our existing flooring. carpet & tile.
We removed loads of ceramic tile and mortar.
We  {MM} used a electric hammer chisel that was rented from Home Depot.
This tool was used to pop off the tiles and scrape up mortar.

Next was smoothing out the entire floor.
We rented a floor grinder using diamond bits to grind off any mortar.
MM used another buffer bit on the same machine to make it smoother.

Next I filled any divots/deep cracks with concrete pre-mix, found at Home Depot.
Mostly this was around the edges where I had ripped up carpet tacks.

Next is cleaning! The most daunting task of this project. Making sure all dirt is up!
I used brooms and this shop-vac.
Next you have to clean the floor with a neutral cleaner. I used an all-natural organic cleaner from Home Depot. Kemiko does sell their Neutra-Clean product, but it was pricier than the other stuff.
Every stain product is different, follow instructions for your product for this step.
Other products require “etching” before you stain. DO NOT do this with Kemiko, that will take the natural lime out of your concrete and the stain will not take.
{ It is recommended to tape off walls before starting. We did not because we still had to paint and add baseboards)
2. Apply Stain : {finally}
 Using the Step 2 Bottle Stone Tone Stain in Black, mix in insecticide pump sprayer with 1:1 ratio of stain and tap water.
*It’s important to use all plastic pump sprayer, any metal parts will be eaten away by the acid stain. We found our 4 gallon one at Harbor Freight.
* Wear Gloves, Eye protection, and mask!
Have a handy man…
Start at the back of house or room you are spraying, so that you can “walk out”.
With a continuous pump spray action make random motion with the wand. So that you don’t get defined lines from spraying.
This is the stain in working mode
We did get nervous, the stain does dry quickly and looks like a very faded color of the one we wanted. It will look ugly, scary, and you make think “oh crap”!
I freaked out a little and was able to call Kemiko directly for advice.
We were told it’s totally normal to have that faded color once the stain dries.
To test out the final color , place a small amount of water on the floor {in a corner} and this will give you an example of the final color after the sealer is applied.
At this point we had applied 2 coats of stain with a 1:1 ratio.
Since we were still a little worried about the color we applied a 3rd coat with 2:1 ratio, so more stain and less water.
3. Clean Again!
Next we mopped up access stain with water & also used the shop vac to get puddles up.
Here you can see how dark the color was with water placed on it…perfect.
4. Apply Sealer
We used the Step 4 bottle in the Kemiko,  Stone Tone Sealer II.
Use a low nap roller brush, in thin applications.
This was a clear gloss, we really wanted a High Gloss Wet Look.

So we went and bought Behr Wet Look Sealer for concrete from Home Depot.

It says to also use thin coats, I put it on on pretty thick, to fill in small divots and cracks. It did not dry with the lines in it.
Much better high gloss look.
FYI:   After our floor were finished we waited about 1-2 days time before moving things on it. I really think the floors needed more time to cure and harden. there are several small scratches from boxes on the floor when we moved stuff in. But now, weeks later scratch marks don’t appear when moving things around on floor.
So I’m going to have to go back and apply another coat of sealer to the living room area.
 Now it’s the week of the Kitchen!
We finally bought appliance yesterday, they live in the garage right now.
We had a night of measuring & designing.

Check out the rest of our DIY Home Remodel !!

XO Laura