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How to Apply Concrete Stains

How to Apply Concrete Stains

Make your concrete pop with color.

Concrete's gray surface is part of its iconic reputation, for better or for worse. Don't let that fool you though, because with the help of dyes and stains, you can fully express your design vision on your concrete! From logos, subtle designs, practical markers or complete concrete overhauls, staining your concrete is a great way to achieve your vision for your floor.

What You Need to Stain Concrete & Preparation

The process of staining your concrete takes some effort, preparation and care to finish successfully. While you aren't in danger of harming your concrete floors necessarily, the staining process itself, if rushed or done incorrectly, can result in a faulty finish. Make sure that your concrete is fully cured before you take any steps! Here's a few tools and resources you'll need to successfully stain your concrete floors:

  • Concrete cleaning solution. We recommend the Kemiko Neutra cleaning solution which is designed specifically for concrete surface preparation.
  • An acid or water-based staining solution. Our EpoxyETC online store has a variety of stains, both acid and water-based.
  • High quality concrete sealer. The Xtreme Shield Concrete Sealer has a perfect glossy finish for stained designs.
  • Safety gear (goggles, gloves, mask, boots)
  • Pump sprayers, brushes and other stain application tools you'll need to achieve your vision.
  • If you want a specific design like a logo, using plastic tarps and painter's tape can help make it clean and tidy. Specialized 3M Blue Painters Tape will help you have a professional-quality finish with your design.

Acid and water-based staining solutions have some slight differences, but they're differences you need to know before buying & installing. The biggest difference is that acid-based systems require an extra chemical neutralizer after you apply it, whereas the water-based requires a concrete etching solution to catch the stains better. There are also some differences in the variety of colors available and the color tonality between the two. Be sure to figure out what works best for your vision!

Guide to Installing Concrete Stains & Dyes

An image showing a colorful concrete stain design on polished concrete.

After you've purchased everything you need, and finished any preparation necessary pre-installation, it's time to add color to your concrete!

1. Clean the Concrete

Like any other flooring work, like epoxy, you need to prepare the surface of the concrete before doing any work on it. Thoroughly clean the concrete with your preferred cleaning solution. Be sure to let the floor fully dry before moving on, and keep it clean!

2. Plan a Design & Apply the Stain

As mentioned before, the installation process does differ slightly, but with significant consequences, between using a water or acid-based solution. What solution you'll want to use comes down to the design vision that you have, so be sure to research and plan ahead for your installation. To help further plan your work out, start laying out painter's tape in the shape of your desired design.

Now it's finally time to apply your colorful new concrete stains! This process is fairly straightforward, although requires care and attention to get the desired finish. You can use a pump sprayer to apply a base color coat. After that, you can brush on the stain solution with even and long strokes.

After working the solution into the concrete and distributing it evenly, you can let it sit and dry. While the stain is most likely going to be dried in a few hours, it's best to let it sit for a full day (24-hours) before disturbing it.

3. Sealing the Concrete Stain & Post-Application Care

Now that the stain is applied and dried, it's almost time to enjoy your floors' new look! Sealing your concrete floor after applying a stain onto it will help the colorful new addition last for a long time. It'll also give it a beautiful glossy finish to help the color really pop! 

Before applying the concrete sealer, make sure to clean up any leftover residue, wash the floor and let it sit to dry. If you're using an acid-based stain, this is when you would apply the chemical neutralizer.

Once you've prepared the surface again, apply the concrete sealing solution evenly using a roller brush in even, long strokes. Let the sealer sit to cure & dry overnight.

With the sealer fully cured and dried, your floor's beautiful, glossy, colorful new look is ready for business!

Learn How to Install Concrete Stains Hands-On

An image showing a concrete professional teaching students how to repair concrete.

Making a beautiful stained concrete floor is just the tip of the concrete icerberg for contractors. Enjoy working in this high-demand business, and learn hands-on how to do it best with our team of professionals. Sign up for our Polished Concrete University and learn all the fundamentals during our 5 day course. In the class, we'll cover:

1. How to grind concrete

2. How to patch & repair concrete

3. Applying stains, dyes to concrete

Help yourself achieve success and sign up today!


With the right mind for design and a careful installation process, you can make your concrete floors truly unique, and shine like no other! Make a new life for your gray concrete floors with a pop of color, or show off your business' logo. With the help of this guide, and some time & effort, you can achieve your vision for your floors. Get creative and express yourself today!

If you need guidance with color charts, advice for stain installation or any other help working with concrete, our professionals at (954) 228-8856 are there to help. From the sealers, to grinders, and to our wide variety of stains in different colors and tones, the EpoxyETC store will deliver it to you at competitive rates.


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