Monday, April 25, 2011

Staining Concrete Basement: Part 1

So, our new house has an unfinished basement. I have a thing about bare concrete. Outside, it's fine, but inside it kinda gives me the heebies. I hate how it feels on my feet, or even if I'm wearing socks, I hate how it smells, all dusty all the time, I basically hate it.

Well, since we're wanting to use the basement for more than storage (Exercise room, indoor playground for the kids in the winter, and an office of sorts, plus this is where all the food storage will live, and where I will grind my grains to make my bread (I sound like the little red hen right?lol)), we wanted to do a floor treatment.

We chose to do a concrete stain because it looks cool, and it's inexpensive.
The whole thing cost us about $85
So here's how we did it...

Step 1: SWEEP
Our basement was FULL of super fine dust/dirt. My SWEET Mom and Dad, who happened to be in town, and my sister Stephanie helped us get it all swept up. This was the most difficult, the photo below was taken with a flash because it was dark down there, and the flash caught all the dust in the air. We had a pretty good method where we worked together, to sweep piles, adn then my Dad came in behind us with the shop vac. We worked HARD sweeping for like 2-3 hours straight trying to get up all the dust.

Step 2: Clean/Etch
We used Quikcrete Bond-lok concrete cleaner, degreaser, and etcher, this was recommended at Lowes. We used one bottle for the entire basement, it cost $18. The reason you need to etch the concrete is because it opens up the pores of the concrete so it can absorb the stain. Follow the directions on the bottle.
This step takes about an hour to scrub all the floor and clean it up afterwards (rinse it). The rinsing was a challenge in the basement, we had to mop and rinse and mop rinse... and mop. You have to wear rubber boots and gloves, this stuff is nasty if you get it on your skin.
Drying after it's been etched:

Then, you have to let the etching dry overnight. This is the bare, dry concrete before the stain:
Step 3: Stain
We followed the directions on the can, get the concrete a little wet, and then apply the stain with a pump sprayer. This is kind of like water color painting. You know how when you paint with watercolors, you get your paper wet first? That way the paint will spread, and flow? Same kind of thing. We ran into some trouble with puddles because our floor isn't perfectly flat. Puddles are bad news.
This is the Vaquero Brown color we chose in Semi-transparent stain. Here is a link to all the colors available. (we bought ours at Lowes, I think around $25-28 a can, we used 2 full cans for our 900 square foot basement)

John, filling up the pump sprayer. We bought this pump sprayer at Lowes for $13, the lady said we should just throw it away when we're done with it. (I was so relieved because I thought we were going to have to buy a real paint sprayer for $100! Phew :)
John let me spray the stain while he went ahead of me and got the concrete wet. (We wished we had bought a second pump sprayer to distribute the water better, we used a bucket of water and a push broom to spread it around, I wouldn't recommend that time....
I cute right? My special work overalls, I've had these since I was fourteen, and they were my dads before that. and special rubber boots.
All done staining, looks kind of milky white-ish. Waiting for it to dry...stay tuned to see the results!!!


  1. oooh! can't wait to see it all done!

  2. Cool. We are redoing a room and are thinking about staining the concrete floor. Was there much of an odor? Thanks for showing how easy it was!

  3. Lovely browns! You did a wonderful job with all the DIY tasks. It is often stressful for me to try DIY projects and finish off with a messed up surface. It must have been my application. But, I really admire your project and I can’t wait to see how well done it is!Other home owners, flooring Honolulu experts and interior designers will surely find this post informative. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for explaining the whole process of staining. You also gave descriptions on the products you used. I am planning on staining my concrete floor in the basement and I have really learned a lot from your post. I just find stained flooring Houston concrete (as an example) to be so beautiful and the inexpensiveness of the process is just irresistible. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Courtenay, that’s cool! It seems like your basement will be a whole new world for the entire family. ^_^ Hope you get your basement floor and walls waterproofed. I suggest you ensure that your downspouts are at least 5 ft. away from the foundation. You may also want to apply a waterproofer (not a sealer) to your walls to enhance its defense against water damage.

    -Carmella Vancil

  6. Your working overalls are so cute! Anyway, renovating the basement is one of the first things that I do when I move into a new house. I make sure that I’m aware of state of the pipes, if there’s anything wrong, I make sure that I can easily maintain them though I’m going to fix the basement. Well, I bet the finished project here is really cool and I hope you can direct me to that post. Thanks Courtenay! :)

    -Elia Lester-

  7. Great job, Courtenay! While some people ignore investing in their basement (maybe because it's less obvious than the rest of the house), you chose to invest right there! And, I guess you did right in staining. If you applied waterproof staining material, you didn't just preserve the looks of the floor. It would also ensure that your basement floor would be safe, especially if done regularly. Meanwhile, maintaining a good surrounding drainage system will also keep your basement floor from cracking.

    ->Darryl Lorio

  8. Basement Finishing Videos teaches you how to finish basement.If you are looking for basement finishing cost then basement finishing videos would help you. How to frame a basement to how to finish a basement , such questions would be solved.Basement basement finishing cost

  9. Thank you for the blog on this! I'm getting ready to do this in our basement. I had a couple questions for you. 1. Why did you choose to etch the concrete first? Some sites to etch, others say etching could prevent the acid from staining later. I'm confused! 2. Are you happy with using just one acid color? I've seen some sites say to use two colors to get the variegated, marbled look.
    Thanks so much!

  10. It makes your sidewalk look so cool. I've always wanted one of those colored sidewalks leading up to my house. And according to the article, it's pretty easy to apply. I might just have to get some acid stain online or something and see what I can do to my sidewalk.

    Gerald Vonberger |

  11. My cellar was leaking due to cracks in the walls and floor. I was very upset because the plumber sealed the holes and cracks with an epoxy coating which made my basement look uglier. Then, I called a proper waterproofer and he recommended concrete waterproofing for my cellar. It was a success!

  12. This is so great tutorial! That is just what I was looking for, Thanks for taking the time to put all of this on here! Concrete Floor Stain have an opaque finish, so they give a completely different look to your floor. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    Airless Paint Sprayer


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