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Staining & Sealing Interior Decorative Concrete Floors

Written by  Dave Barnes

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the steps needed to properly stain and seal interior decorative concrete floors. Follow each of these steps for optimum results.

Step 1: Allow the Concrete to Cure

Freshly poured concrete needs to cure for a period of four to six weeks prior to being stained and sealed. Failure to let the concrete adequately cure will result in failure of any applied sealing system.

Step 2: Wash the Surface

Concrete surfaces need to be clean and free of grease, dirt, paints, waxes, and other surface contaminants prior to staining. To clean the surface, use a neutral cleaner, such as MasonrySaver Cleaner & Degreaser.

Step 3: Apply a Concrete Stain for Color

Select a proper concrete stain for your project, such as Smith's color floor (duvalpaint.com). Smith's Color Floor is a water-based dye stain and is best applied by airless sprayers, HVLP sprayers, or garden sprayers. To achieve the desired color, multiple colors of stain may need to be applied to the surface. Follow all of the manufacturer's directions when applying a stain.

Step 4: Wash the Surface (when using Smith's color floor, omit step 4)

After the stain has dried completely, the surface will again need to be washed to remove any residue left over from the staining process. Clean the surface using a neutral cleaner that was used previously in step #2. Cleaning can be accomplished using a stiff bristle brush or a floor scrubber with a scrub brush attachment. If using a floor scrubber, cleaning should be accomplished on low speed. Remove all water by squeegee or wet vac. Adequate cleaning has been achieved when no stain residue is released after wiping the cleaned surface with a white towel.

Step 5: Allow the surface to dry

After applying the color dye, the surface must be allowed to dry completely. Application of a sealer on a damp surface can result in a 'blushing' effect, where the sealer takes on a cloudy appearance as moisture becomes trapped inside of it.

Step 6: Apply Two Coats of Concrete Sealer

Seal the patio by applying two coats of MasonrySaver Decorative Concrete Sealer per label directions. The sealer can be applied using a brush and roller or by spraying using a garden variety pump-up type sprayer. Avoid puddling or "ponding" of the product. Allow adequate time between coats (one to two hours) for the sealer to completely dry before applying the second coat. The sealer needs to be reapplied within four hours. After four hours of cure time, the sealer is too hard to bond to. Allow a minimum of four hours before subjecting the surface to foot traffic. Full cure of the sealer is achieved within three to four days.

Step 7: Wax the Surface (interior surfaces only)

It is always best to apply a protective floor finish on interior surfaces. The floor finish will help protect the sealer from being eroded by the abrasion of foot traffic. Apply two coats of MasonrySaver #25 Floor Finish to all non-traffic areas and apply six coats to all traffic areas. This product has a gloss finish when applied. If a high gloss finish is desired, it can be buffed using a high speed floor buffer equipped with a polishing pad.

Step 8: Maintain the Finish

As the surface is subjected to wear, the finish will slowly deteriorate. It will be time to re-apply a coat of the finish when the floor begins to exhibit an uneven sheen. To apply a maintenance coat, simply wash the floor with a mild detergent and water, allow it dry, and re-apply one coat of the floor finish in all non-traffic areas and three coats in all traffic areas. Again, buff the finish to a high gloss using a high speed buffer equipped with a buffing pad.