Monday, January 22, 2018

How I Stained My Concrete Floors

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen me working on the studio floor. It was plain concrete and I wanted to seal it and give it color.

 I honestly didn't want to worry about messing it up if I dropped paint on it. My idea was to stain the concrete and thankfully, I had a good resource for information. My friend, Cecilia, at My Thrift Store Addiction stained her concrete floor. She assured me it wouldn't be hard so I decided to go for it.

I was fortunate I didn't have carpet to remove like Cecilia did. I just needed to clean the floor really good first - you can see from the picture  how dirty it was. So I began by sweeping then vacuuming all the Sheetrock and joint compound dust up. Next I pulled out my wet vac and gave the floor a good scrubbing. I let it dry overnight.

The next day, I looked to see what kind of stain I had. I found a quart of Minwax Early American wood stain that was almost full. I figured I'd try it out so I started in the back corner using a foam brush - I figured the stain would soak into the raw concrete. And it worked beautifully! I brushed it on, let it sit a short time then went back over it to get the excess up.

I worked in about 2' sections making sure to feather my edges so I wouldn't have hard lines. It actually went pretty fast but since I used foam brushes to apply it, I was on my knees all day. Trust me when I say a foam kneeling pad can be a life (or knee) saver for this.
(The black spot is from oil from a vehicle parked in here back when
it was just a barn. I scraped and cleaned as much off as possible.)

By lunchtime, I was close to finishing but almost out of stain so I took a much needed break. (I met a friend for lunch then ran to Lowes to get a small can of stain).

Upon returning, I poured the small can into the larger one and mixed well. Then I finished the floor, making sure I ended up at the door (you don't want to paint yourself into a corner!)

Someone asked if I was going to put poly over it. My answer is no. We don't know if the slab has a vapor barrier under it (it was already there when we purchased the farm) and thought if it didn't, sealing it would keep it from breathing, and the finish would flake off. And no, the stain doesn't come off on your feet. It dried nicely just like it would on wood.

I absolutely love how it turned out! If I drop paint on it, I won't be upset or worry about it like I would if we'd put conventional flooring in. And it looks great with the varied shading.

Next time, I'll be sharing a sneak peek at some of the studio. I'm starting to set it up and I'm super excited. I have quite the checklist but with Bruce's help, I'm getting it done!


  1. It looks great! Thanks for the shout out! I've only ever used concrete stain, so I enjoyed seeing your results. Regarding sealing with poly, I know that it's recommended for many different types of DIY flooring. However, I've stained concrete in 4 rooms now and the only time I used a sealant on top, it actually had the opposite effect and there were some places where the stain color chipped in patches. This was with a sealant that was specifically recommended for concrete stain, but I would not recommend it! Some of my concrete has been stained for over 10 years and it's held up great. By the way, your windows and door look fabulous--all that light streaming in!

  2. It does look fantastic and will be so easy to care for!

  3. A durable floor that you won’t have to worry about is a must for your studio, and this is perfect!


  4. You did an excellent job, Cecilia - and it looks wonderful! I would have had to come up with a way to stain standing up! My knees would hurt even with a kneeling pad. Ouch! So bravo to you doing this!

  5. Great job. I hope it's carefree. Keep us posted on how it wears.

  6. This looks great. This is perfect for your art studio. Lots of hard work on your knees but so worth it.
    I cannot wait to see more.

  7. Progress! Cecilia, I'm surprised that a wood stain would work on concrete. I thought there was a specific product for concrete. Interesting! I have been in homes with stained floors, and in the shop where I worked we also had a stained concrete floor. Eventually, it faded in the areas where traffic was the heaviest, but you won't have that kind of footpath in your workshop. What's the next step ? Bringing in the furniture?

  8. Looks great Cecilia. I am sure it will age beautifully. I have wanted to stain our front porch for several years. Maybe this year will be the year. I will have to hire it done, but will be worth it. I know you will have fun setting up your studio.
    Audrey Z.

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  10. Hi! I'm not sure if this page is still being managed but I wanted to know how the stained concrete floor has weathered over the last 2 years. I found your post and we want to do this on our back patio. I don't think we should seal it because it might have a vapor barrier. Not sure. We are not the original home owners. Advice? How's the floor looking after 2 years?

    1. It has held up very well - no peeling or flaking.

  11. Was the stain used Oil based or Water based? Doing mine once you reply!


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