Concrete floors have traditionally been left unfinished in homes that want an industrial or modern look. The big complaint that many people have voiced, is that it is cold, it is bland, and it makes the home unfinished. Well concrete floors can be beautiful if you have a little bit of vision, and a lot of ambition. Create a natural looking floor by staining the concrete.
Preparing the Floor
If you have existing concrete in your basement, or main floor of your home, take water and pout it in areas all over the floor. If the water does not absorb at all, it is protected by a sealer and will not take stain. You will have to get a scrub brush (deck brush) and some solvent to remove the sealer. This process is nothing but elbow grease. The more thorough your are, the better the concrete will look when stained.
Rent a floor buffer and apply a 100 grit screen to the buffer. This is basically a lite sanding of the surface of the concrete. This will take off any noticeable paint or dirt stains, but also give the stain a uniform and more natural appearance. The dust will pass through the screen, making this an extremely dusty project. Cover all the walls with plastic and make sure that you are wearing eye protection and a respirator. Use an orbital sander with 100 grit sand paper in the corners that you cannot get with the floor buffer.
Staining the Floor
The stain is sprayed on. You will have the ability to stain the floor one color or use a variety of colors. The stain is an acid based stain that penetrates into the concrete pours. The sprayer must be rated for acid stains or the acid will eat through the metal parts. Water can be added to the stain to create lighter variations of a stain and multiple stains can be used on the same floor. Simply spray a consistent path of stain on the concrete floor. Avoid working in straight lines at it tend to leave definitive marks. Instead spray in circular patterns that are random. make sure you start in a corner and end where the an accessible exit is. Let the stain dry for a few days before walking on it.
Sealing the Floor
Sealing the floor for an interior slab is like sealing a wood floor. Use a high quality urethane with the desired shine to it. Satins are not as shiny where glosses glow and can be almost mirroresque.
Concrete does not have to be ugly. This flooring option can be just as beautiful as any other flooring. You just have to treat it the correct way, as with any other product.