An inexpensive alternative to traditional flooring is to stain existing concrete floors. Stained concrete can provide a colorful and durable flooring alternative without breaking the budget. Stained concrete floors, however, can become dull or scratched after years of wear and require refinishing. Refinishing can bring back the color and shine to your faded concrete floors. By following a few simple steps you can accomplish a complete refinish of your floor in under three days.
Clean the floor. Stained concrete floors are a wonderful way to hide dirt but that hidden dirt can create a problem during stripping and re-staining. Sweep the floor well and then scrub thoroughly using trisodium phosphate (TSP). A rotary floor scrubber can be used, or you may use a buffer with a scrubbing attachment. For hard-to-remove substances make a poultice out of fly ash or hydrated lime and denatured alcohol. Apply the poultice and allow to dry overnight. Scrub with a hard bristle brush the next day.
Apply a floor stripper. Purchase the appropriate floor stripper from your neighborhood hardware store. The exact type will depend on the type of stain on the floor. Most concrete stained floors will require an acrylic stripper but some floors will require a wax stripper. Mix the stripper according to manufacturer's instructions. Fill a bucket with the stripper and another with water. Apply the stripper liberally with a sponge mop to a 10 feet by 10 feet section. Allow the stripper to sit for five to 10 minutes before buffing but do not let it dry.
Attach a scrub pad to a floor buffer. Begin to buff the floor. The finish will begin to lift and some color may also come off of the floor. Buff a small area at a time using a circular motion and mop up the excess as it is lifted off the floor. You may want to begin in the farthest corner and work toward the exit. The extent to which you strip the floor is a personal choice. You can choose to strip down to where scratches begin to blend with the concrete and become unnoticeable or you can take all the stain off and start over again.
Clean the floor again once you have finished removing the finish. This cleansing is extremely important as you do not want debris left on the floor when you re-stain. Use fresh water and apply liberally to the floor. Use a wet vacuum if available to make sure you have removed all remnants of the stripper.
Apply stain or color. You may apply more of the same acid stain you originally stained the floors with or choose to include color as well. If you choose to add color, you may use concrete stain or water based wood stain. How much you apply is a personal preference but at a bare minimum you want to cover any areas that were heavily damaged and required extensive buffing.
Apply the stain and color with a sponge if you are only touching up faded areas. Apply the stain with a bucket and broom if you are starting over. Apply from the back of the room forward and from left to right in rows. Apply the color sparingly so it does not look painted. After the appropriate reaction time, which will vary according to manufacturer, wash the floor with a baking soda and water mixture to neutralize the acid.
Pour glossy finish in a paint pan and apply it with a roller. Once you are satisfied with the color of the stain you applied and your floor is dry again you may add the glossy floor finish. The glossy finish is what gives the concrete the shine and durability.