If you have a concrete flooring at your business, office or warehouse you might be less than pleased by it’s brutalistic presence. The dull, drab grey colour can impose a gloomy atmosphere on the surrounding area.  Why stain concrete flooring?  Because you can counteract this dull and bleak consequence of such an overpowering presence.  For some advice on how this can be done, we present some tips on applying concrete stain.

 

Staining Versus Painting

It’s important to understand that staining and painting concrete are two separate and distinct procedures.  Staining concrete actually requires a chemical reaction between the stain and the cement component of the concrete.  Painting, on the other hand, is simply applying a thin coating onto the concrete to effect a colour change.  No chemical reaction occurs and the paint doesn’t penetrate anywhere near as deeply as a stain.  That said, if the concrete pad is already discoloured in any way, stain will not hide the blemish in the same way that paint would.

 

Concrete Preparation

Before staining a concrete pad, you need to make sure it’s in the proper condition to accept the stain.  If the concrete has already been painted, sealed or waxed or has any type of grease or oil on its surface it will need to be prepped beforehand.  A good way to test if the pad needs prep work is to pour a bit of water onto it.  If the water soaks in, you should be able to go ahead with staining.  If the water pools and beads, you’ll need to strip the concrete before applying the stain.  Use an appropriate cleaner (ie paint remover, sealant remover, wax stripper, degreaser etc.) to remove the coating.  You may need to sand the floor slightly to rough up the surface and allow the stain to react with the cement.  You should also give the surface a good cleaning with trisodium phosphate before proceeding.

 

Applying The Stain

The best way to apply stain is with a sprayer as it’ll allow you to get a nice even coating.  However, stain can also be applied using brushes, rollers or a mop.  Make sure to test a bit of stain on a section of the concrete that isn’t completely visible as you want to make sure you’ll get the desired effect before working the whole surface.  This will also allow you to ensure the concrete was properly stripped.  Once the stain is applied, you’ll need to wait overnight before you’ll be able to fully appreciate the final colour change. Applying a sealant over top of the set and dried stain isn’t absolutely necessary, but it can help with longevity and colour retention. If you’re considering staining your concrete flooring, our industrial contractors can help.