Top Brown Acid Stains for Concrete

There are many color variations with concrete stain but one of the top choices that goes well with traditional and modern design is a brown/walnut. These are some of the top brown concrete stain products available.

A lighter brown, this is best used when applied in a mottled pattern with a darker color. Otherwise it will all be lighter brown.

This is a black acid color, but it can also be used in a diluted or mixed color state to make your other colors a little darker. Keep in mind with acid you cannot usually go over it with a second coat so this color needs to be added next to the application of a lighter color OR mixed in to alter the color. This is generally used in the mottled effect you see above applied with a

Be sure that when using acid based stains or cleaners, that you use an acid-resistant sprayer with them. Here is a good quality choice:

Does a stained concrete floor increase the value of a home?

I would say yes. In this day and age the homes that have a more clean, unique, or modern approach generally are going to do better on the market than the rest!

Especially with the COST efficiency of concrete floor “installation”. For some it may be as easy as ripping up the carpet and doing a quick wash and stain. But for others, the damaged concrete or slab issues may wind up being more of a hurdle and costing more time and money in the long run.

Refinishing a home with beautiful concrete floors may cost as little as $0.60 each sq. ft. (Depends on concrete condition, products, and methods used.)

But overall, the benefits generally outweigh the cons. If all else fails, simply install something over it! (Not all concrete floors allow this, but for some you won’t need to do anything except cover it up.)

The longevity and ease of cleaning will be incredibly desirable for buyers, landlords, and renters. Instead of having your carpets cleaned every move, you’ll just need to wash it down and possibly do a new top coat every four years. These floors are nearly indestructible and will last for decades with proper upkeep. As minimal as that upkeep is!

Concrete Floor Staining Sub Floor Preparation

After pulling up the carpet, remove all of the tack boards and nails. (Note: DO NOT “rip out” nails if it’s ripping up your concrete. This was our problem.) If any glue is left behind the acid should eat it while etching the concrete.

So there’s one thing about staining concrete that’s very important, the concrete preparation. This is beyond preparing a wall for paint, since paint actually covers stuff and stain does not. (Especially the kind I bought!)

We went with Behr products with the etching, since originally I was going to use Behr’s Loden concrete stain. However, I found a product called Soycrete which seemed much easier to work with, and safer just in case I spilled some or went crazy sniffing the stuff. (Not to mention, Soycete is a green product.)

Etching concrete does involve acid, which is not good for skin. Acid resistant boots and gloves are highly suggested!

It’s good to pour it into a container to then pour onto the floor. It’s easier to “splash” it around pouring from the jug. By the way, you probably should wear long sleeves. It was hot though so I risked my bare arms. (and even spilled a couple drops on them, yes it stings.)

I learned the hard way! Make sure to get the acid all the way to the baseboards. Because we had so much “gunk” along the edges of our rooms it was higher than the rest of floor so we had to pour more than we thought to get it along the edges. Because this was just a closet, I left most of the gunk. (We’ll see how it turns out later.)

After pouring the acid we waited 20 minutes for it to eat away everything it could, then we scrubbed like crazy with a large bristle broom, while adding water to the floor. (More water = less foaming up) When doing this have a second person use a wetvac to suck up the dirty acid water. If your outdoor hose can reach your room it’s a lot easier than using buckets of water.

I learned the hard way! A 5 gallon wet/dry vac does NOT do the trick. I was trying to avoid purchasing a new one, but emptying this thing every 2 minutes wasn’t working out.

I bought a new one, and it’s the BEST. It’s 12 gallons and was only about $80. It is amazing for this project, and it’s just entirely awesome compared to the old one.

After cleaning the acid some scrap off anything left behind with a razor blade, it should come off fairly easy. If not, spot treat these areas with more acid and repeat the process.

All of our tack strips were glued and had nails in the concrete. Most of them broke up the concrete when we took them out, which isn’t good. (It’s not suggested to repair the concrete with a filler.) So we broke out the Dremel tool and sliced them off. Safety goggles highly suggested here.

My stain products arrive next week and we’ll be weekend warriors with more photos on the progress soon!

Staining Concrete VS Hardwood Floors

Turning the great room into my studio. This has been a planned and replanned room for months. First, I was going to lay hardwood floors, now I’m staining the concrete. That was a large jump wasn’t it? Now why am I staining the concrete instead of laying down some beautiful hardwood? I give you…

Hardwood Vs Staining Concrete
1. Stained concrete is easier to maintain, I wouldn’t have to worry about ruining my floor.
2. Staining concrete runs about $400-$800 DIY project. I’m doing about 750 sq ft. The chocolate brown bamboo hardwood quote was around $8,000 installed. (I wouldn’t chance installing such an expensive floor myself.) Who doesn’t love those numbers?
3. The wood I planned on purchasing claimed to be “environment friendly” but I’m sure using what I already have is more green no matter what.
4. Stained concrete is beautiful and modern. Two things I love.

The “maybe it’s not such a good idea” thoughts…
1. Concrete may be colder than wood, but not necessarily any different than tile.
2. If you drop something on concrete such as a glass, it’s a goner.

What if we waste $600 on all the materials, work, and then hate our stained concrete floors?! Well, we’ll deal with it until we get hardwood floors to cover it up!

The bottom line:
The carpet had to go. Immediately.

We learned that removing this much carpet really stinks, literately for us since we have pets. And you really wonder what you’re breathing when you look under old carpet, ick! It took us hours but we managed to roll up all the old carpet, padding, and scheduled the dump to pick it up. I would’ve offered someone to reuse it, but it was in bad shape.

Underneath… even a little mold by the kitchen doorway. After you remove the carpet you will have dust floating around, a shop vac is nice for cleaning up all the dust on the floor and in the air.

The studio is connected to our master bedroom, so it’s also getting new floors. Where did our new huge bed go? Why we’re sleeping in the living room for now, haha.

Finally carpet free, but tons of work to come.

Concrete Eco Friendly Stain Products

For those who do not want to worry about working with acid or having to go through the preparation of an acid-based stain, you can use some of these water based stains. Some water-based stains apply a little more uniformly, so using a method such as a sprayer or a sponge with multiple colors will aid in giving you a mottled or design appearance on the floor. (Unless your concrete already has a lot of color variation in it.)

Dark Brown Water Based Stain

English Red Water Based Stain

Cola Water Based Stain

Grey Water Based Stain

These are some of the most popular colors. Again if you are looking for a mottled effect with these stains I highly recommend getting a sponge or applicator and using your creativity to “paint” these stains on. You can also use a sprayer for the mottled effect.

These do not have a reaction with the concrete, and the best part is that you can use ANYTHING over them. Acid-based stains are generally not something you can paint over if you do not like them. (You would have to etch the concrete to remove it.) So these are also flexible for those who want more creative freedom with their floors.

After you have your water-based stain down, you may also want to use a water-based sealer.

Aqua Klear Koat – Concrete Clear Acrylic Water-Based Sealer

If you are using an epoxy, you may want these as well:

Epoxy Spiked Shoes

Concrete Stain Products

These are the items that you will need to stain your floor. This can vary if you are doing an overlay or any unique application. This is just a great starting guide for your necessary items list.

Safety Gear
(Especially for Acid-Based Applications)

3M 6503QL Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator (Acid Applications)

Heavy Duty Latex Gloves, Resist Strong Acid

Industrial Anti-Fog Approved Wide-Vision Lab Safety Goggle

Concrete Preparation

Some of these will vary depending on how much cleaning your concrete needs. Also, I recommend the larger shop vac if you have 2,000+ sq. ft. you’ll be working on.

12-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

16-Gallon Wet Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner

How to Etch Concrete Without Acid

These are the items that you will need to prepare and get your floor ready to stain without using acid.

Acid etching as a surface preparation is the process of applying an acid solution to a concrete surface, allowing the acid to react with and ‘etch’ the concrete. This is usually considered a concrete preparation step prior to the application of an epoxy floor paint (garage epoxy).

Large Push Broom

You’ll need this to clean the concrete before you stain it. This is good for an acid or non-acid etching. This photo is a good example of how I etched my concrete, and the broom is in the corner. IF you have a very large home, I recommend the 24″ push broom.

Professional 18″ Rough-Surface Push Broom

Professional 24″ Multi-Surface Push Broom

Acid-Free Concrete Etching

You’ll also need the acid-free etching product. There are just a couple available on the market. These work great if your concrete is not in that bad of condition.

Enviro-Etch – Micro Etches Concrete Surface Prepare

Now if you find that your concrete is NOT in good condition. This means you found paint drips, construction leftovers, or pet urine stains. (My floor had a lot of glue on it.) If this is the case you MAY need to use an acid based etching for your concrete. I had to use acid on mine, twice, just for the glue and white paint that was soaked into my sub floor.

Also be sure to purchase enough concrete etching product, as I had to use around 4 gallons for my project. (It was 8 gallons for the entire house.)

Acid-Based Etching Product

This product is an acid-based product, but it is a muratic acid alternative.

Krud Kutter Concrete Etch – Biodegradable