There are several ways you can make that drab old grey basement floor in your home a lot more attractive, and perhaps even beautiful to look at. Staining the floor using either acid-based concrete stains, solvent-based concrete stains or water-based concrete stains is one of the most effective ways to do this. Depending on the level of maintenance, concrete stains usually last for about 5 years, and if well cared for, much longer than that.
Of the three aforementioned basement flooring staining options, acid-based concrete stains are the most durable and nearly always give a high quality finish. However, while acid stains chemically bond with the concrete surface, solvent-based concrete stains soak into the concrete pores and are generally better suited for broom-finished rather than trowel-finished floors. This is mainly because broom-finished surfaces have more pores and allow the solvent to penetrate the surface easily. Solvent-based stains are, on average, better than water-based stains. Water-based stains produce deep, vibrant colors that tend to have a short lifespan. Water-based stains are environment friendly and the least harmful of the three aforementioned stains. Many people tend to have problems distinguishing between water-based concrete stains and water-based paints. When buying water-based concrete stains, double check to make sure you are buying the right thing.
3 Stained Concrete Basement Flooring Ideas
Acid-Based Concrete Stains
To develop acid stains on concrete floors, most manufacturers mix a mild acid, usually hydrochloric acid, with water together and then add metal oxides (metallic oxides) to the solution. When one pours this mixture on a concrete surface, it reacts with the free lime (calcium hydroxide) present in the concrete. The metallic salt and acidic solution are the active ingredients here. The acidic solution has a slight etching effect on the concrete surface, therefore, allowing the metallic salt to penetrate the concrete and react with the free lime. This produces oxides that fill the pores and permanently changes the color of the surface. The process of color development is, therefore, a chemical reaction.
Now, it is important to note that the color produced by this process might vary from one surface to the other. Typically, the color produced depends on the amount of lime present. In other words, the varying amounts of lime in the concrete are responsible for the marbling and mortling variegation present in the translucent stain pattern. Depending on the amount of lime present, you can get different earthy or stone colors such as rust, deep chocolate, amber, copper patina as well as golden colors. Acid stains are generally hard to reproduce because every concrete surface has unique properties that result in the development of unique colors corresponding to those specific properties. However, the most attractive feature of acid stains is that they are UV stable. As such, one can use them for both inner and outer floor surfaces alike.
A great acid-based solution that you can use to color floor surfaces is Patinaetch. This is a mildly water-based acid solution formulated specifically for concrete floors. In most cases, it gives variegated earth tone colors. It does not cover the floor surface the way paint does but rather works with it.
Solvent-Based Concrete Stains
Solvent-based concrete dyes are highly flammable. Because of this, one should exercise utmost care when using them. Safety issues aside, they produce strikingly bold and beautiful colors that are difficult to produce using the other two methods. Solvent based concrete dyes can be used either full-strength or diluted with solvents or water. Full strength dyes produce bolder colors while diluted colors produce paler shades. It is very important to remember to clean the floor thoroughly when using these dyes. A clean floor allows the dye to penetrate easily.
Water-Based Concrete Stains
These dyes are the most environment friendly of the three mentioned here. Generally, water-based dyes do not produce colors that are as bold as those produced by solvent-based dyes. However, because the finished color tends to appear soft and subtle, they are a great option for use in bathrooms and kitchens. In addition, while they are easier to apply and clean up than solvent-based dye stained floors, water-based solvents cannot hide surface imperfections as well as solvent-based dyes.
Water-based concrete stains produce a wider range of shades and colors than solvent-based stains. As such, they lend themselves quite easily to faux surface effects more easily than acid-based or solvent-based concrete stains.
Steps to Applying Concrete Stains
Step #1 Wash the Area
First, pressure wash the floor to thoroughly clean the floor area that you want to stain. After washing, dry the floor completely and ensure it is free from wax, grease, dirt, paints and any other contaminants. Wrap a plastic sheet around the walls in order to protect them from the dye.
Step #2 Apply the Dye
Pour water into a plastic garden sprayer up to the halfway mark. Then, pour in the dye carefully without splashing. Starting at the corners, hold the nozzle about 18 inches from the floor surface and begin spraying randomly. Apply a generous coating but do not puddle.
Step #3 Add the Second Coat
After the first coat has dried up, repeat the procedure above and apply a second coat. Let the floor dry completely then mop off the residual dye.
Step #4 Apply the Sealer
Use a water-based sealer to provide a gloss finish. You can use a roller or a garden sprayer to apply it. Apply two light coats instead of a single heavy one. Allow enough drying time between the two coats. Once the floor is dry, apply the final coat.
There are a wide variety of colors you can choose from, especially when you are using water-based or solvent-based dyes. The application process is quite easy and as long as you follow the outlined steps and the manufacturer’s directions, you can transform your plain-looking basement floor into literally a real work of art.
It’s a fantastic resource for finishing your basement! He provides information on bathroom ideas, finishing ideas, home theater, art, bookshelves and much more.