Before you can think about applying your concrete stain, you need to first prepare your concrete. If you applied your stain, without first preparing your concrete, not only would the results be shoddy – there is a chance it would not stain at all.
A clean start is not only important for your concrete floor; it’s mandatory. You absolutely cannot apply acid stain to your floor until it is squeaky clean, otherwise, any dirt or residue will show through the stain.
Taping Off the Walls
Obviously, you don’t want your baseboards and walls to have stain on them, so you will need to tape them off to avoid stain splatters. Use painter’s tape or plastic with painters tape on all baseboards and the bottom of your walls. While it takes extra time in the beginning, you will be thankful when you have finished staining, and have clean walls.
Removing Glues and Residues
In order to get a proper stain on your floor, remove any glue, tar or paint from your floor. While it may appear to be a daunting task depending on the condition of your concrete a scraper will get the job done in most cases.
Check your floors carefully, scrape away and remove any glue or paint found. Be sure to not leave even small spots, as this will change the look and the outcome of the staining.
Cleaning the Floor
Give your floor a good scrubbing to remove dirt or residue.
Depending on location and the condition of your concrete, there are a few options for how you can do this.
One option is a high-pressure water hose. This option works best for outdoor projects for obvious reasons. Another option is to use a cleaner such as TSP powder to clean the concrete, using a rotary floor scrubber.
Mix one cup of the powder to four gallons of water, and you will have a perfectly clean floor.
A rotary scrubber is one of the best ways to ensure that you have gotten the floor truly clean.
One final but time-consuming option is a scrub brush and some “elbow grease”. Once you have scrubbed the floor use a Shop-Vac to vacuum up any remaining water and dirt on the surface of the concrete. It is best to get a second person to use the Shop-Vac right behind you, before the dirt has time to settle back into the concrete.
After you have done this, use rinse water and a mop to go back over the floor. Do this right away so as not to have any tracks or lines from the previous scrubbing.
Allowing the Floor to Dry
Before you can begin the next steps, you will need to wait at least 24 hours to ensure that your floor has completely dried. While you may be anxious to be done with the process, a wet floor will not properly hold the stain.
Filling in Cracks
If you have any cracks in your concrete, fill those in prior to staining. Staining over a crack without properly filling it in will only cause the crack to stand out more.
You want people to notice your floor’s beauty, not the very apparent flaws. Hairline cracks will not require any attention, but any crack large enough to catch dirt particles must be filled in.
First, use a cold chisel to remove any islands or particles. After you have finished, use a vacuum to remove any debris left behind. You can use a wood workers syringe to inject concrete glue into the crack and then use a wet rag to wipe up any extra.
When the glue is set, use anchoring cement to fill in the crack. After the anchoring cement is dry scrape and sanded off any extra cement.
Use a vacuum to remove the dust and particles from sanding. You are now ready for the next step to a gorgeous floor, which is removing stains for a flawless floor.