Learn How to Achieve an Acid-Stain Look on Concrete Flooring

You can get the look of acid-stained concrete floors without using heavy-duty chemicals. Learn how to stain concrete floors using environmentally friendly dye.

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June 25, 2020
By: Chip Wade


Photo by: Wade Works Creative

Wade Works Creative

Tools and Materials

  • mop and a bucket
  • rubber gloves
  • safety glasses
  • rags
  • pump sprayer with fine tip
  • funnel
  • microfiber cloth
  • sanding block or grinder with concrete surfacing pad
  • TSP cleaner (Trisodium Phosphate)
  • sealer (liquid floor wax or high-gloss, water-based)
  • solvent (according to dye instructions)
  • concrete dye
  • painter's tape
  • masking tape
  • painter's plastic

Dyes Replace Acid Stains

Acid stains were used commonly in the past, but they are not environmentally safe. They have been almost entirely replaced by dyes. These dyes are mixed with a carrier, such as alcohol and sprayed onto concrete. It's topped with a water-based sealer to create the mottled look, accentuating the unique characteristics of the concrete.

Step 1: Smooth Surface

If you have any rough spots or irregularities on your interior concrete floor, use coarse-grit sandpaper or rent a grinder with a concrete surfacing pad to smooth it out.

Photo by: Wade Works Creative

Wade Works Creative

Step 2: Clean Surface

Once the surface is even, clean the floor with a mild cleaner such as TSP and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Step 3: Protect Walls

Cover the walls and molding with painter's tape and plastic sheeting. Painter's tape will protect the walls, normally it peels off without any damage, but it can peel off the surface if exposed to the dye solution. To prevent this, place masking tape over the painter's tape to hold the plastic sheeting in place.

Photo by: Wade Works Creative

Wade Works Creative

Step 4: Mix Dye

Mix the dye with solvent (i.e. denatured alcohol, acetone, lacquer thinner, etc.) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pour the solution into sprayer using a funnel.

Photo by: Wade Works Creative

Wade Works Creative

Step 5: Apply Dye

Apply the dye by spraying in a circular motion, overlapping as you go. Use a fine-spray tip for light, even coverage (Image 1). Pro Tip: Wipe the spray tip with a rag to prevent drips when you pause between spraying (Image 2).

Step 6: Allow to Dry

Allow it to dry for approximately 20 minutes.

Photo by: Wade Works Creative

Wade Works Creative

Step 7: Remove Residue

Mop the floor with warm water and a well-wrung mop. Do not allow water from the mop to pool on the floor. Depending on the dye product, mopping may not be necessary. Defer to the product's specifications.

Photo by: Wade Works Creative

Wade Works Creative

Step 8: Seal the Floor

Spray on liquid floor wax and then mop. Use a microfiber cloth to help spread wax more evenly. Another option is to apply a high-gloss, water-based sealer with a paint roller.

Photo by: Wade Works Creative

Wade Works Creative


Concrete Resurrection brand stain is ideal for concrete floors, pool decks, patios, driveways and more. Available in more than 30 colors.

Buy It

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