Can Wood Stain be Used on Concrete?

Can Wood Stain be Used on Concrete?

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Wondering can wood stain be used on concrete?

Stained concrete floors are beautiful!

Originally used mostly in stores, stained concrete floors came into fashion for homes in the late 1990s. We love the look of the swirled colors, the durability and the ease of keeping them clean.

But many DIY’ers, including myself, have wondered can wood stain be used on concrete?

The short answer is yes, wood stain can be used to stain concrete. However, like the brands of concrete stain places like Home Depot sells, which are not acid stains, wood stain is basically going to be like painting the concrete. Acid stain, by comparison, leeches into the concrete and becomes part of it instead of just sitting on top (which over time can scrape off).

But there’s a lot more to know about concrete staining and how wood stain works on it.

So in today’s post, we’ll be exploring some of the top questions about concrete staining. We’ll look at questions around sealers, stain rollers, and concrete curing.

But specifically, we’ll answer the question “can wood stain be used on concrete?”

How do you use a stain roller on concrete?

For solid color concrete stain (the finished result will look more like you painted it), a roller works just fine.

You’ll want to start with a clean, washed, and dry surface.

As we get into below, you also want to wait at least 30 days if the concrete is new and was just poured. But if your concrete is prepped, clean and ready to go, simply roll the stain on using long strokes of equal pressure.

Roll in one direction only, and make sure to avoid overlapping lines.

Also, make sure the air temp is not too cold or too hot; between 50-90 degrees. 2 coats may be required for the best look.

All that being said if you are using an acid based stain and/or a transparent or semi-transparent, I would recommend using a backpack sprayer rather than a paint roller.

It will go on smoother and easier and be less likely to show any lines.

The Field King Professional Backpack Sprayer rates 4.5 stars on Amazon with well over 500 reviews.

It comes with free shipping too and is an Amazon’s Choice product, so you know this is the best of the best. I wouldn’t apply concrete stain (and I have) with anything else!

Cleaning concrete floors is one of the best parts about having this type of floor.

Make sure and check out one of my top posts that shows you just how easy is it is to Clean Stained Concrete Floors with Vinegar.

How long must concrete cure before staining?

Concrete needs to cure completely before staining or sealing.  The curing process allows excess water in the concrete to evaporate.

If you don’t allow it to evaporate, then any stains or sealers won’t soak into the concrete and may end up flaking off.

With most acid stains, concrete paints or sealers, the best practice is to wait at least 1 month after it was poured.

However, some brands recommend up to 60 days, so always read the instructions (admittedly hard for some of us guys).

That being said, temperature, humidity and how stiff the concrete was mixed all factor in too.

So to really be completely safe, I would wait 45 days. After all, what are another 15 days to ensure you end up with really beautiful stained concrete floors?

Can you stain over sealed concrete?

The short answer is yes; you can stain over sealed concrete.

That being said, you can’t just apply the stain on top of the sealed concrete. If you do, chances are it will just flake or scrape off.

After all, an acid stain is designed to soak into the concrete, not just lay on top of it like a coat of paint.

Thus, if you have sealed floors and don’t treat them, the stain will just sit on the surface and be vulnerable to foot traffic and furniture.

So to apply a stain on sealed concrete, you really have 2 options to ensure it looks good:

  • Remove the sealer and apply the stain
  • Apply a thin layer (1/8″ thick) of acrylic polymer modified concrete on top of the concrete and apply the stain to that (after at least 24 hours)

Instructions for both methods are below.

Removing sealer from a sealed concrete floor

This is not a fun job, just FYI.

To remove sealer from a concrete floor you can either grind it off by renting a floor sander from Home Depot or you can use a solvent-based stripper to remove it.

Solvent-based strippers (typically Methylene-chloride based) work quickly but as you would imagine they can be hazardous to breathe and dangerous if it gets on your skin, eyes, etc.

Thus make sure you have good ventilation and consider using a respirator.

Once it’s been applied, you’ll be left with a goo mixture on your concrete which must be completely removed.

Use a long-handled floor scraper and scrape the mixture up and dispose into an appropriate container and always follow your state’s regulations on disposal.

Then use hot water and liquid soap to thoroughly clean the floor.

Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely before proceeding.

Adding a layer of concrete on top of your concrete floors

  1. Use a floor sander with 60 grit sanding screen over the entire floor. Grind for about 15 minutes using smooth constant slow movement for a room about 15’x15′.
  2. Rinse the floor with a gentle floor cleaner and allow to dry.
  3. Lay down a heavy coat of acrylic primer, using a long-handled paint roller.
  4. Wait at least 10 hours before proceeding with the next step.
  5. Add a 2nd, thinner coat of the primer.
  6. Allow it to dry to the touch.
  7. Apply the polymer modified concrete overlay, such as Akona® Polymer-Modified Concrete Resurfacer, at 1/8″ thick. Apply using a trowel or long-handled squeegee.
  8. Wait at least 24 hours before proceeding with the next step.
  9. Apply the acid stain using a backpack sprayer. Follow the steps provided by the stain manufacturer, but typically you would allow it to dry for 3-4 hours before applying additional coats as desired.
  10. Once you have applied all the coats of stain you wish to apply, we need to neutralize the acid.
  11. We do this easily by simply mixing TSP and water and mopping it on and scrubbing it in.
  12. Then rinse with water only enough times to completely remove any residue. Use a wet/dry vac to suck up all the extra water.
  13. Allow your new stained concrete to dry for at least 24 hours. Then you can sealer using a water, acrylic or solvent-based sealer and wax if desired.

How much does it cost to stain concrete floors yourself?

If you’re seriously considering staining your concrete floors yourself, you will definitely want to check out my Step-by-Step Concrete Staining Guide of exactly how I did it (including all my mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

I show you every step of the process and cover all the questions and challenges you’ll likely have.

That being said, which you could easily spend between $2,000-$5,000 hiring a professional, I spent under $500 staining my own concrete floors (a dining room and kitchen).

So now, let’s completely answer . . .

Can wood stain be used on concrete?

The short answer here also is yes; wood stain can be used on concrete.

That being said, I would personally not use wood stain.

While it’s true that places like Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t typically carry acid-based concrete stain, unless you live in the backwoods, most likely there is at least 1 store in your town that deals in professional acid stain products.

Alternately you can also order acid stain on the internet.

The reason I say no to “can wood stain be used on concrete” is that it’s coating the concrete more than becoming part of it.

Concrete is porous and the wood stain may soak in to a degree, but acid stain actually has a chemical reaction with the concrete that helps ensure a smoother and deeper bond between the stain and the floor.

If you absolutely have to use wood stain, just be prepared for it to flake off easily and to reapply it regularly.

Did I cover all your questions about can wood stain be used on concrete?

Today we took a fairly quick look into some of the top questions around concrete staining.

We answered questions that many DIYers have on sealed concrete, new concrete and application techniques.

But specifically, we answered the question “can wood stain be used on concrete?”

And yes, we technically you can stain concrete with wood stain, I would recommend against that.

Ready to get started on your project?

Check out one of my top posts on How to Stain Interior Concrete Floors which walks you through step-by-step exactly as I did it in my house.

Any concerns over staining concrete?

If you like this post, please follow my DIY Projects board on Pinterest for more great tips from myself and top DIY experts!

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Of course in the day and age we unfortunately live in I have to add the following: I am not a general contractor or professional concrete stainer.  This post walks you though the steps I took in staining concrete in my house.  Your results could differ.  Please consult a professional if you need to.



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