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How to Apply Acid Stain on a Concrete Floor

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

To give a concrete floor a beautiful marbling, consider applying an acid stain. Acid staining is a fairly straightforward task as long as you prepped the treated area beforehand. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to apply acid stain on concrete floors on your own:

You will need:

Paint roller extension handle
Rubber gloves
Painter’s tape
Acid stain
Clear coat sealer

Step 1: Prep the Treated Area

Before moving ahead with the project, remove all baseboards and trim work to avoid damaging the materials.  Then, cover the walls using a masking paper to protect the material from stains. The same thing goes for lower cabinets. Remove the knobs on the bottom cabinets and cover any metal screws with painter’s tape. Make sure no metal parts are exposed.

Step 2: Prepping the Acid Stain

After prepping the area being treated, start mixing the acid stain mixture. Do this outside to avoid inhaling the noxious fumes. Wear protective gears when mixing because the acid stain contains hydrochloric acid. This extremely corrosive acid will damage metals. Never use a metal sprayer to avoid damaging your equipment.

After mixing the acid stain, pour it on a two-gallon pump. If the floor is hand trowelled, dilute the stain first at a ratio of one part stain to four parts water. If the floor is machine trowelled, use a concentrated mixture of one part stain to one part water.

Step 3: Applying the Acid Stain

Test the spray to check the flow. Once you are satisfied, you are ready to apply the acid stain. Keeping the spray wand about 18 inches above the floor, start spraying at random patterns. You want the floor to be wet but without puddles. The acid will react to the lime deposits in the cement, yielding different hues. Once you are done with the first coat, leave it to dry for an hour and then apply the second coat. Repeat the application of the stain until you achieved the desired hue.

Step 4: Neutralizing the Stain

To neutralize the acid on the floor, mix four parts water and one part ammonia. Apply the mixture using a clean plastic pump sprayer. After neutralizing the floor, mop it clean and vacuum the water. Allow the floor to dry using a clean mop to prep the surface for sealing.

Step 5: Sealing the Floor

Sealing the floor protects the color and the finish from stains, dirt, and grime. It will also enhance the color of the stained floor. Application of the seal will differ so follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the sealer using a paint roller to ensure better bond with the surface stain. Reapply the sealer two times or until you are satisfied with the hue. Do note that a beautiful finish can be achieved with just two coats of sealant. Once you have completed the sealant application, leave the floor to dry for at least 24 hours.

After the sealant has dried completely, you can start removing the masking paper and assembling the trim work.

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