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If you’ve moved into a home with a concrete floor and you’re not in love with the look, there’s good news—you can easily change it by staining it. Staining a concrete floor lets you give your house a more finished look without compromising the durability of the material, so what’s not to like about the idea?

Make sure to work with a professional when you stain your floor to avoid any structural issues or obvious imperfections. If you want a better sense of what your concrete contractor should be doing, read the step-by-step how-to guide below or check out a more in-depth guide here from the home design experts at KSI Kitchens.

Staining Your Concrete Floor A How-To Guide

Step 1: Choose a Space

This might seem like an obvious step, but if you have concrete in multiple areas of your home (inside and out), you’re probably wondering where to start. Fortunately, stained concrete looks good and will hold up well both inside and outside. Many people choose to stain their concrete floors in places that see a lot of wear and tear, like the kitchen or basement.

Step 2: Prep the Surface

Your professional should first check for any cracks, as these will need to be filled in before staining the floor. He or she should also clean the floor, ideally with a concrete degreaser that won’t leave any residue behind, and go over it with a buffing machine to ensure the surface is smooth.

Step 3: Choose the Type of Stain

There are two types of stain you can choose from: acid or acrylic. Most home professionals recommend an acid stain, because it will conceal any imperfections (such as discolored sections of the floor), better than acrylic. Acid stain comes in eight basic colors, but if you’re not happy with those choices, you can mix multiple stains to get a new color.

Some homeowners choose acrylic over acid if they’re not worried about existing cracks or discolored sections of the floor, because acrylic stain doesn’t contain any solvents or acids, comes in a wider range of colors, and produces a more consistent color when applied.

Step 4: Apply the Stain

Your contractor should begin by testing the stain on a small, inconspicuous patch of the floor in order to verify that it’s the color you want. Once you’ve approved the color, they should apply the stain to the entire floor, most likely using a combination of a plastic pump sprayer, mops, squeegees, and rollers.

Step 5: Neutralize the Stain

The neutralizing process differs slightly depending on whether you’re using an acid or acrylic stain. Acid stains need to be neutralized using an ammonia solution (four parts water to one part ammonia), which your professional can apply using a large plastic pump sprayer. Acrylic stain doesn’t require ammonia, but your professional will still need to dry the floor, mop it, and vacuum up any excess water before sealing the stain.

Step 6: Seal the Stain

The last step is to seal the stain, which will increase the floor’s durability, make the surface dust-proof, and generally give the room a more finished look. Your contractor should first use a densifier to penetrate the concrete and increase its resistance to abrasion, and should then apply a stain guard to (you guessed it) protect the floor from stains and give it a better shine.

Now that you understand the basic steps a professional goes through when sealing a concrete floor, you’ll be well-positioned to hire your own contractor.

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