Staining concrete can be a very affordable and beautiful DIY concrete project. Like all concrete projects, preparation is key for a successful finished product.
If you plan to stain newly poured concrete, it is best to wait at least a full month before you attempt to stain it (It takes 28 days for concrete to fully cure). It is also advised that you not use any curing products as they can stop stain penetration.
New Concrete Staining
When staining new concrete, be aware that you will probably see deeper color results from your stain than you would see on older concrete.
Older concrete will absorb newly applied stain if you prepare the surface properly.
Use manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the surface of dirt, grease or other preparations before applying stains. Stains will not cover up any cracks, imperfections, patches or any visible changes in texture. However, stains can enhance natural variations in cement resulting in an attractive artistic interpretation.
For concrete that is in bad shape, manufacturers usually recommend that you apply a concrete overlay or skim coat to the surface so you can start with a fresh slate. Concrete that has a lot of patch work or that is damaged with grease and oil are good candidates for this option.
Cleaning before staining
If your surface has been cleaned with acid (muriatic or other acid washes) in the past, the best solution is to use a water-based stain. Previous cleaning with acid removes the cement’s compounds that are necessary for the chemical reaction which takes place in acid-based stains.
Having a clean surface to work with is extremely important. Not only does the surface need to be cleaned of any loose dirt, but any chemicals used during the cleaning need to be removed as well. Some chemicals might react to the stain and cause an undesired effect or reaction.
A good step to take is testing an area that is least visible before staining the entire surface. Be sure to give the stain addicquitte time to dry and check for reactions and desired color.
Finally, be aware that all concrete is not created equal. The age and composition of the concrete, its original color, its porosity and its cleanliness, will all affect the outcome of the stain, so you may need to adjust your preparation techniques to achieve the desired results when staining different concrete surfaces in your home.