Preparation for concrete stain in basement

Old 06-04-03, 05:00 PM
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Question Preparation for concrete stain in basement

I have a new home with concrete floors in the unfinished parts of the basement. I would like to stain and seal these floors to make them easier to keep clean. All the materials I have read recommend an acid etch prior to staining. I have read posts here on both painting and staining concrete as well as acid etching but have found no reference to the use of an acid etch solution in a basement. Just to confuse things more, my building contractor said that he would not recommend using an acid etch since it would eat into the hardener applied when the cement was poured (about 6 months ago).

The use of an acid etch solution in the basement seems unwise to me, given the problems with ventilation and rinsing. I'd hate to eat up my sump pump and plastic drain pipes with an acid solution - not to mention the danger of inhaling the stuff. Is there a type of concrete stain I can use that does not require an acid etch?

My purpose is to make the floors a bit more attractive (not "decorated") and make it easier to clean the sawdust in the shop area. Any advice would be appreciated.
Old 06-04-03, 06:04 PM
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Wouldn't it just be easier to paint it?

We painted our concrete basement floor about 4 months ago (2 coats), laying area rugs in some places and leaving the laundry room and similar work areas bare. It didn't require any special preparation other than a good mopping/vacuuming first to get up the loose dirt.

We used a porch/floor paint for concrete in a muted beige and it works very well. It's somewhat satiny, easy to clean, and looks much nicer than just the plain concrete.

We also noted various "garage" paints you can purchase at Home Depot that claim to repel water, oil, and other fluids, but we passed them over as they were a bit pricey per gallon and we didn't think our floor was going to get that kind of wear.

With two thick rollers and long pole, it was a breeze to do and sounds a heck of a lot simpler than etching/staining.

Old 06-05-03, 09:01 AM
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Concrete Stain versus Paint

Thanks for your reply. Sounds like you have a cozy new space in your home.

I prefer stain rather than paint since it actually penetrates the top layer of concrete (and in some cases bonds chemically to it) rather than sitting on top as an additional layer. Given that this is a basement and may be damp at times, I would like to avoid the possibility of peeling paint, the result of moisture build-up under the paint.

I'm still hoping that someone out there has experience with a stain that does not require an acid etch.

Old 06-05-03, 04:12 PM
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i've done the acid stain....beautiful and pretty easy...

1st old is the concrete and has it been sealed with anything that you know of....

whatever you do - don't "acid etch" prior to staining....the acid will react with cement in the mixture and your acid stain will have nothing left to "stain" to....

clean your floor really well with water and ithink its called osp...its a powder that is used to clean with....

then in an inconspicuous corner or something, try a small section with the acid stain of your choice....let the stain completely dry and then mop up several times (until the water comes out clean)...

then mix a small bucket of water and baking soda and rinse again several times...

when wetted, the stain will show what it will look like when it is finished....if you like your test section, then go after the whole floor....

when you are finished with the whole floor....let it completely dry and then seal with a non-yellowing polyuerthane sealer and thne wax....

your done....btw- most guys seem to like the acid stain better then most women for whatever reason....go to and do a search on decorative will find plenty of refernecs and internet sales for the products...

good luck,
Old 07-10-03, 12:01 PM
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Is there any difference in application process or material in an outdoor vs. indoor application?
Old 07-10-03, 08:43 PM
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Indoors versus outdoors

My original question related to the problems of using an acid etch indoors because of the toxic fumes. The concrete stains I considered were for use either indoors or out and the preparation process was the same for both. However, this method was not recommended for use on garage floors because of the problems with hot tire pick-up.

After much research, I finally resorted to using an alkalyd porch and floor enamel. I learned that it would be very difficult to etch the floor in preparation for a stain because my contractor had used a top-notch hardener which was not amenable to the stain that I wanted.

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