This chapter is going to cover every step involved in the acid staining process, including preparation stages that were covered in previous chapters.
I would strongly advise you to print out a copy of these instructions and put them in page protector sheets, or laminate them. Keep them close to your work area in a binder or on a clipboard so that you can refer back to them often without having to open your computer.
Remove any adhesives, tar, or paint splatters from your floor. Also, do your best to remove any stains including oil that you find on your floor.
Use a putty knife to scrape off adhesives and quickly remove the old carpet glue so that the stain will go on your floor unmarred. For more detailed instructions on preparation and stain removal, refer to Chapters 7 and 8.
Vacuum the floor near your walls and then tape off the lower part of your walls, including baseboards and wood that is near the floor with strong painters tape and plastic.
Use plastic up to the halfway point on your wall. Acid stains on woodwork and walls cause damage that can easily be prevented with painter’s tape and plastic.
Sweep up any loose debris from your floor, or run the vacuum over the floor.
Mix a solution of one cup TSP cleaning powder with four gallons of water. How you scrub your floor will depend on the amount of work you want to do and the amount of money you wish to spend. The fastest way to scrub the grime is with an industrial floor scrubber. If you do not own one and do not wish to rent, then a more traditional, hands-on form of scrubbing will work.
Pour some of your solution on the floor and use the floor scrubber, push broom, or scrub brush to scrub your floor being sure to clean the entire floor.
Do not slack off on this step, perfectionism is required!
This step must be done quickly following step four, and preferably with an assistant.
Use a Shop-Vac to quickly suction up any of the water and solution off your floor.
Be sure to do this as fast as possible so that the dirt does not settle back into the concrete.
Remember to get all the corners and edges of your floor to ensure a proper staining later.
Quickly rinse the floor with a clean mop and clean rinse water. It is important to do this step quickly before marks from scrubbing can dry and later leave patterns in your staining job.
Allow the concrete to dry thoroughly until the next day to ensure the best possible results.
Fix any cracks and crevices on the floor. Use a small cold chisel to remove any islands or particles from the cracks. Hairline cracks can be left and don’t need to be filled.
Once you have done this, vacuum up any remaining debris around and in the cracks.
Use a woodworker’s syringe to fill the cracks with concrete glue.
Wipe up any extra glue with a wet rag or sponge. When the glue has completely set, mix anchoring cement, and press it into the crack.
Once it’s dry, a sanding screen can be used to sand away excess anchoring cement.
Use a plastic pump paint sprayer to apply your diluted (dilute according to instructions from the stain company) stain, to your floor. BE SURE TO USE A SPRAYER WITH NO METAL PARTS. The metal parts and stain can cause a fire when combined together. If you don’t want to use a sprayer, you can pour on the stain, this method is not recommended. A pump sprayer will ensure that you do not have any pour marks, and makes the process faster and cleaner.
Spray in a circular motion, moving from side to side, to keep the edges from drying too quickly. Some concrete stainers prefer to use figure 8 motions when spraying the stain, and then they have an assistant follow behind and scrub the stain into the concrete with a stiff bristled scrub brush.
You may want to give this technique a shot on a small area of your floor first to see if it suits you.
Make sure to get the edges of the floor and around doorframes.
If you use the pour method, a light push broom or sponge mop can help to spread it out, but be cautious of broom marks. This is one reason so many people prefer to use a sprayer.
If at all possible, have an assistant available for the next step.
Wait approximately 24 hours for the stain to set in, and a colored residue will form. Neutralize and clean any remaining residue from the floor using ammonia mixed with water (8 oz. of ammonia in a mop bucket full of water).
Use a mop or soft bristled broom to apply the solution, and then rinse with clean water twice.
Be careful not to over-scrub your floor, instead use a gentle washing motion, you are cleansing the surface, not trying to be abrasive.
If any areas of your floor are too dark for your liking, go ahead and give them a harder scrub. The floor is most vulnerable to scrubbing off stain right now, so either beware of disrupting the color, or go ahead and make changes.
Use a Shop-Vac to vacuum up any excess residue, water or detergent from each rinsing.
Make sure you have cleaned, vacuumed and rinsed the entire floor including all corners.
Take a break, and let your floor dry until the next day. It is important that your floor is completely dry before the next step.
Apply a sealer. The easiest way to apply sealer is with a paint roller on a long pole. This works best when it is back rolled, meaning the roller is pulled toward you instead of pushed away from you.
Do not apply a thick coat of sealer. Once this coat is dry enough to walk on, apply a second thin coat. Use a paintbrush to get the corners and edges.
Let your floor dry for a few days, without doing anything further.
Apply a good wax to ensure the desired shine. A lamb’s wool applicator can be used for this application. Apply 2-3 thin coats, brushing the wax on in one direction. Do not allow any pooling of the wax, remember, you want thin, uniform coats. Allow 1 hour of drying time between coats.
Allow the floor to dry completely overnight and then furniture may be placed back on your floor.