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!