A concrete stain will update a plain concrete surface and give it a modern and classy shine. Staining concrete is a relatively simple process that can be done at home. Due to the staining process, each concrete surface will create a unique stain, so it is beneficial to understand the different techniques for painting, polishing, and coating concrete before beginning your project.
Acid stains cover a cement surface with a thin layer of stain that is mostly transparent. As such, any blemishes or debris in the concrete will still be visible after the concrete is stained.
Before you stain your concrete, ensure that the surface is entirely clean of debris and dirt. Invest the time and resources to sandblast the concrete, as this will even out the color of the concrete and lead to a smoother, more unified stain.
Once your concrete surface is clean and free of blemishes, it is time to apply a concrete stain. Always test your stain out on a sample surface before beginning your project. This will allow you to adjust the concentration of the staining solution and the application technique to suit your project. Some of the most popular techniques include the following:
Stain Technique #1: Diluting the Solution
The easiest way to alter the final product of a concrete stain is to strengthen or dilute the stain solution itself. Check the manufacturer's instructions for dilution. Adding different liquids to the stain solution will produce a variety of colors and shades in the final stain, so a certain degree of trial and error may be necessary.
Stain Technique #2: Applying a Coloring Agent on Top of the Stain
A second method of altering the natural stain color is to apply coloring agents to the stain once it has been applied to the concrete but before you have added a layer of sealant. Soaps and fertilizers are common coloring agents. Leaves and plant parts alter the color of the stain as well and create interesting patterns. In all cases, test your coloring agent before applying it to your concrete surface.
A good coloring agent does not necessarily make for a successful staining job. Be careful to apply the agent in the pattern or design that you would like for the concrete surface. It is easy for a stain to be ruined by a sloppy coloring agent pattern.
After applying an initial layer of stain, you may consider applying a second stain on top. This second stain can cover the first one entirely or cover certain areas to create a unique design.
Stain Technique #3: Applying a Stain Selectively
You may also consider not applying a stain to the entire surface of the concrete. Dip clothes or other objects in stain solution and lay them on the concrete to achieve a mixed stain pattern.
As with any painting or coloring project, staining a concrete surface requires an artistic touch and attention to detail. Many professionals offer staining services, but each different type of surface will require a unique staining pattern and technique to achieve the highest quality results. If you have the time and the motivation, staining your own concrete can be a rewarding creative experience and a way to brighten a room or building.