This weekend, it was time to start acid staining our concrete floors.

I will admit that we both were a little nervous to get started, especially knowing this will be the final look of the flooring in the house.  So as a trial, we decided to “practice” on the concrete floors of the garage apartment first.

But after seeing the results, I can tell you we are more anxious than ever to acid stain the house floors!

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The acid stained floor in the garage apartment.

We  knew all along we wanted to have acid stained concrete floors as our finished flooring in the kitchen, bathroom and main living space. When the foundation was poured, we had the contractors score the concrete into 4 x 4 tiles.

When complete, the acid staining would have the look of large marble tile flooring – with way less cost!

Acid stains have a big advantage over floor paints and traditional stains. They are actually not truly a “stain.”

Instead, the acid reacts chemically with the minerals in the concrete to etch permanent color into the surface. This means the floor will not chip or peel like paint or stain can.

Once a sealer and or wax is applied, the floor is nearly damage proof. Acid stains work best on newer concrete or concrete that has never been sealed.

It saved big money on the budget by not having to purchase any final flooring for the house. In fact, other than purchasing a few large area rugs to soften the large open room space – the low cost of the acid stain will be it for the flooring.

As for cost, the apartment floor ended up costing about $90, and we figure the house will be about $400 to complete. That is a HUGE savings over purchasing tile, carpet or wood.

The entire process of acid staining consists of four steps. Cleaning the floor, applying the stain, deactivating the stain, and then applying a sealer. We listed the basic steps below, and also posted some additional photos of the process at the end of the post.

Acid Staining Concrete Floors


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The cleaned floor ready to be stained

We first swept the floors to remove any dirt. We then cleaned and mopped the floors with a mild dish soap detergent.

acid stain, you want to avoid any harsh chemicals that could keep the acid from reacting with the concrete. After mopping, we rinsed clean with water to remove any soap residue.

Applying The Stain

It’s important to wear protective goggles, gloves, rubber boots and a mask when applying the stain. It is an acid, so taking those precautions are very important. With that said, the stain was not bad to work with at all – and had very little smell.

To apply the stain we used a spray bottle and an inexpensive pump sprayer. We first went over the floor and hand sprayed a few random areas to create a little extra depth of color.

Next, starting from the back of the space, we used the pump sprayer and applied stain to thoroughly coat the surface. While one sprayed, the other took a 12″ stiff push broom and rubbed the stain into the surface.

It’s important here to rub the stain in with circular motions to help keep the random look. Then we left it to work its magic for about 4 hours. It will fool you as you put the acid stain on, because it will look nothing like the final color!

Deactivating The Stain

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Applying the stain with a pump sprayer

After about 4 hours, we used a solution of 1 cup of baking soda and 4 gallons of water to deactivate the stain.

The baking soda stops the acid from etching the floor. We then used our shop vac to suck up the water from the surface.

We then repeated with water a few times to remove any residue. It is at this stage when the water is put on that you will see what the floor will look like when sealed. And we couldn’t have been happier!


The final process is to seal the floor. We want the more “wet look” of marble, so we are sealing with an acrylic clear coat. We will apply two coats today with a roller – and the first floor is complete!

All that is left now is the house – and that starts next weekend! We will be sure to keep you posted on future updates of the progress.  You can see more photos of the process below.

Happy Staining – Jim and Mary.  To receive our Recipes, DIY and Gardening articles each week, sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. You can also check out our book, Growing Simple, now available on

More photos from the process:

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The acid stain drying
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Using the hand sprayer to highlight a few areas before spraying
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The acid stained floor in the garage apartment.
Acid Staining Our Concrete Floors – An Expensive Look At Little Cost!

17 thoughts on “Acid Staining Our Concrete Floors – An Expensive Look At Little Cost!

  • November 6, 2016 at 9:45 am

    We usually use just water, but we use a little dish soap and water if necessary. We never have to use floor cleaners

  • November 6, 2016 at 9:37 am

    You still didn’t say what you use to mop with. Water or a floor cleaner?

  • November 6, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Thank you Marcy – with a sealer applied – it is actually easy to clean by mopping. The sealer also keeps dust to a bare minimum. We used a wet look high gloss sealer that keeps it shiny.

  • November 6, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Hi Robin – we used Brickform stain, and we purchased it from Jannell concrete products in Columbus.It is suitable for both. Good luck!

  • November 5, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Yes! Would love to know the acid stain product you used as we are in need of purchasing acid stain to do our garage and front porch. Please let me know the name brand and if it is suitable for both interior and exterior staining..or I can check into that once I know the name brand!
    Thanks for sharing! Looks amazing.

  • November 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    We had ours done by someone . I love the look but how or what do you use to keep it clean?

    Everything I’ve tried has only made it look dull

  • October 31, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    We will certainly be looking into this for our next building phase!! Thank you so much for taking the time to show us your progress. We have lived on our concrete floors (stained and sealed with Behr products) for 8 years now. I love the concrete as a material, particularly with the radiant floor heating as you have, but not our finish. No foot, leg, or back problems from it, for what it’s worth, but I can see how the possibility could exist.

  • October 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    The floor looks great! One of our neighbours is a concrete finisher and we hired him to do a finish on our concrete floors. I love the finish on our floors and it is so easy to look after. I have not had problems with sore legs that other commentators have had, but everyone’s circumstances are different.

  • October 30, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    I agree with Donna. Standing on concrete all day requires very good supportive boots. It is hard on not only your legs but your back as well. Good luc

  • October 30, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Just beautiful!

  • October 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    We did this on our basement floor. It turned out ok, but not nearly as nice as yours! Good job.

  • October 30, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    We’ve lived in our basement for 12 years and never sealed the concrete. Do you know what we’d have to do to prep the floor since all kinds of things were spilled on the concrete? Thanks!

  • October 30, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I hope you have good legs! I had a cement floor in my art studio and I could not stand on it more than 3 hours at a time and this was in heavy duty, new Vasque hiking boots. My legs ached for days. Cement is very hard on feet and legs!

  • October 30, 2016 at 11:15 am

    What kind of acid staining product did you use? Thanks! Looks beautiful BTW!

  • October 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

    What type of acid did you use and shere could one purchase the pyoduct

  • October 30, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Have FUN! God Bless!
    Lexie & Bill

  • October 30, 2016 at 9:04 am

    I never heard of this before- it’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing

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