Customers often inquire about staining their concrete floors. This is a growing trend but it is nothing new. Through the years we have stained, dyed & epoxy painted a multitude of foundations. I would like to share with you our stained concrete experience.
Most customers dream of a flooring that they can install over the weekend that looks great, cost virtually nothing, last forever & never needs maintenance. Unfortunately stained concrete is not that magic product.
Stained concrete has some really unique features. I used the word unique because it is the opposite of consistent. A unique floor will have imperfections, swirl marks, shrink cracks & inconsistencies in coloring. Flooring like tile is much more consistent with the same color level, finish & durability. Tile also hides any imperfection in the foundation like saw cutting, low spots & shrink cracking. In fact I have seen a lot of customers go back and actually put tile over their stained concrete floors. When asked why; most responded the same way; we could not stand the imperfections. People who like stained concrete tend to like these imperfections.
Stained concrete is not cheap & it’s not maintenance free either. To do the job right takes the right products. Professional stainers tend to use a better quality of stain. They also use a more expensive concrete sealer. The professional stained floor is generally finished with wax. In addition the floor then requires maintenance. Our stainer recommends resealing the floor every two years followed by a fresh coat of wax.
The last thing that is rarely mentioned is the floors hardness. Floor hardness is something the occasional visitor would not even notice. Over time this can lead to knee & back problems. Tile flooring has a similar problem. In fact I find myself wearing shoes inside of my house to help combat this condition. Area rugs help reduce the problem and can create contrast & textural changes.
To surmise it really comes down to preferences and being honest with yourself about what you really want out of your flooring. We would also recommend that you use a professional stainer. These people are trained in their product and familiar with unique foundation conditions. Like most things in life you tend to get what you pay for and stained concrete is no exception.
Concrete staining is a beautiful flooring option and if you do choose to stain your concrete floor I have listed below several precautions that must be taken in order for the stained finish to be top notch:
- Smooth finish all the way to the edge of the slab & do not “burn” the slab
- Ready mix: use straight cement no additive like fly ash or calcium
- Don’t use temporary nail supports
- Don’t mark the foundation (Blue chalk line only)
- Don’t use tape on the slab
- Don’t use muriatic acid or alkaline cleaners near site
- Avoid leaving debris on foundation that can corrode and stain (Ex: nails & screws, boxes & other building supplies)
- Protect foundation from spray-in insulation.
- Avoid pest control products.
- No traffic on slab while staining
(Staining notes provided by our floor staining specialist)