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Cost of Acid Staining a Concrete Floor: What you need to know

Acid staining your concrete floor is a great way to get a fantastic look for very little effort. It works both on outdoor patios and on indoor flooring and is something that you can usually do on your own.

If you are staining the concrete, the only cost will probably be the actual stain cost. Concrete stain costs about 50 to 70 dollars per gallon, and each gallon can cover about 200 square feet of flooring. This means that staining will cost about 2-4 dollars per square foot.

The good news is that a concrete stain is pretty cheap and you can do it yourself! Let’s get into the details of every part of the staining process and what it will cost you.

Materials

First, let’s gather the materials we’ll need. Safety materials will be a cost if you don’t already have them. Next, you’ll need plastic sheeting to protect vulnerable things from the powerful acid you’ll be using. Finally, you’ll need the actual tools for doing the project.

Protective Gear

Safety glasses cost between 1 dollar and 20 dollars. You won’t need the best safety glasses on the market, but you probably shouldn’t get the cheapest ones either. That’s just a good rule for life! You’ll also need a face mask to keep the acid out of your mouth, but you probably already have one of those after living through 2020.

Plastic Sheeting

This is for covering up things that may be more difficult to move around, like lamp posts outside, or curtains hanging up. This will run you anywhere from 20 to 30 dollars per roll. However, it can be reused for future projects if you don’t want to throw it away!

Tools

You can either use an acid-proof airless paint sprayer or paintbrush/roller to apply the stain.

Airless paint sprayers will tend to cost over 200 dollars to purchase, but you can usually save some money by renting one for just over 60 dollars for a 4 hour period.

You can also use a paintbrush or a paint roller. A paint roller can cost anywhere from 20 to 45 dollars. You may be able to find a suitable brush, on the other hand, for only a couple of bucks.

Buying Concrete Stain

Next comes the fun part: Picking out the stain out want to use. Concrete stains can vary widely in price by the brand that produces them. The one constant is that you’ll need to buy the stuff about a gallon at a time.

Brands

Brands the way that they would want you to imagine them.

I looked at three brands for this article. They may be different from the brands available at your hardware store.

  • Direct Colors. Direct Colors makes some of the best cheap concrete stainings I was able to find. A gallon of their concrete stain tends to cost around 51 dollars, making them the cheapest brand in this section. Their reviews are pretty good and most of their colors fit in this price range with a few exceptions.
  • Eagle. Eagle can be found at any Home Depot and will cost about 60 dollars per gallon. This is the midpoint for concrete stain prices. Eagle is another fantastic option when it comes to applying stain by yourself.
  • Kemiko. Kemiko is the most expensive of the three that I looked at. Each gallon of Kemiko concrete stain will cost from 70 to 75 dollars. However, you can expect high-quality concrete stain for your money here, and quality can make a big difference when it comes to the finished product.

Like with protective gear, you should always be sure that you’re getting a product that is of sufficient quality for your needs. You may want to do some research into the brands that you’re looking at to make sure that they’re good enough for the finish that you’re expecting.

Labor

As long as the job you’re planning to do is simple, you should have no problems doing it yourself. However, you might be dreaming of a more complicated finishing pattern that you just aren’t sure how to implement. This is where you’ll want to call in some professionals.

Contractors will generally charge more for more intricate jobs. For a simple job, they’ll charge 3 to 4 dollars per square foot.

For something complicated, rates can end up being from 15 to 17 dollars per square foot on top of whatever you’re spending on stains. In this situation, prices can add up quite quickly.

For comparison, a simple DIY job for a 200 square foot space will usually only cost a little over a hundred dollars. Compare that to hiring a contractor to do an intricate pattern, and you end up paying about 3,000 dollars plus an extra 120 for the price of the stain.

If you have the money and want just really want it done, then by all means go ahead! For those of us who just want a nice looking floor, we can keep our 3,000 dollars just by biting the bullet and getting it all done ourselves.

Sealer

Most experts recommend that once you’ve stained your concrete you seal it to keep it looking nice for longer.

A gallon of concrete sealer will usually cover from 100 to 400 square feet of concrete, although it is usually recommended to double coat the sealer which should cut that in half.

You should pick a sealer that can cover more space. If you do, you can plan to use one gallon of sealer for every gallon of stain that you use.

1 gallon of clear sealer can cost anywhere from 10 to 60 dollars. You should find a sealer that looks like it will work well with your project and fits in your budget.

This will add to the total cost of the project, but ultimately it will be worth it for improving the life of your concrete floor.

Other Things To Consider

The only thing that this man is considering is what color he should be staining his concrete. There's so much more that he should be thinking about!

Putting concrete stain on your floor does require some preparation. If there are large lumps in the concrete, they’ll need to be ground down to make the surface more even.

The floor will also need to be immaculately clean before staining can even begin, although it doesn’t need to be polished necessarily.

Be sure that you have the tools to make those things happen. If you don’t, put them in your budget and go get them.

You may also want to wax your stained and sealed floor to increase the lifespan of the sealer. In that case, you might want to shop around for the tools required for that. Of course, you don’t need to wax your concrete floor, but you can if you want to.


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