14 Pros and Cons of Acid Stained Concrete Floors

Acid staining on concrete provides the surface with a luxurious richness that no other coloring resource can provide. Instead of producing either an opaque or solid effect on your floor, the stain goes through the pores of the concrete to create translucent tones that bring out an extra depth and dimension to your garage, shop, patio, or other interior surface.

When this product is applied successfully to your concrete floors, then the acid staining can provide a long-term, low-maintenance solution that will help your surfaces to look fantastic throughout the year. The quality of the concrete does matter with this medium, as a poor mix will create unpredictable results with the product.

If you are thinking about using this option for your surfaces, then these are the acid stained concrete floors pros and cons to consider before hiring a contractor or doing the work by yourself.

List of the Pros of Acid Stained Concrete Floors

1. There are a variety of products from which to choose.
Acid stains have been available for concrete floors for more than five decades. It is one of the most popular methods of applying a topical color to this surface because you can apply it to any existing slab using everyday household tools. As long as the floors are protected during the curing process, you’ll have a beautiful set of tones and colors that will add a richness to that area’s environment. Most homeowners can find a suitable product that fits their exact needs when they shop around with different industry providers.

2. It can improve the aesthetic value of your property.
Although some manufacturers limit the color options which are available for concrete acid stains, your floor will experience an increase in its aesthetic value thanks to the different tones which are available in this industry today. Instead of installing new flooring on top of the surface or using large area rugs to cover up the space, this product gives you a simple way to enhance the original look of the concrete by adding various designs to it.

Acid stains can produce waves, swirls, marbling, and other visual affects with a minimal amount of work necessary to create the intended result. Some contractors can even stencil specific designs onto the floor to create semi-permanent results that add value to your property.

3. The cost of acid stains for concrete is competitive with other flooring options.
Using an acid stain on a concrete floor may not be the most cost-effective way to transform your environment, but it is relatively inexpensive when you compare it to the other flooring options which are available to you right now. Staining the concrete allows you to add value to an older floor, making it so that you can avoid the time and expense of adding carpet to the surface, adding or replacing tiles, or trying to lay hardwood over a worn-out surface. Once you have the staining and cleanup work finished, the floor is usable right away too.

4. It does not impact the durability of the concrete.
Concrete flooring is exceptionally resilient, which is why it is such a beneficial surface for homes and businesses today. It is strong enough to withstand the pressure from cars, trucks, and heavy equipment. If you have a hard-working space in your home, then this flooring can help you to maximize your productivity. It is extremely tough. Applying an acid stain to it may impact the visual appeal of the surface, but it will not negate the benefits of having this type of flooring available in the first place. It is difficult to damage.

If you maintain your concrete floor by keeping it sealed and properly maintained, then it can last indefinitely. Even high-traffic commercial spaces can see this flooring option last for several decades. When you consider the cost of ongoing maintenance with other surface options, an acid stained concrete floor can save you a lot of money over the long run.

5. You still have the option to install alternative flooring options on top of it.
If you decide in the future that a concrete floor is not the best option for your space, then the acid stain will not impact the opportunity to install a different type of floor on top of this surface. As long as the surface is free from defects, bumps, or holes, then you can cover it at a later time if you choose. An underlayment may be necessary for some of these future options, but you will discover that choosing this advantage means there will be a lot more freedom with your design options in later days.

6. You will have some extra flexibility in the design.
When the average person thinks about a concrete floor, then there is an excellent chance that they are thinking about the ugly, gray, utilitarian services that usually have undesirable textures. Thanks to the modern advances of acid stains, there is an almost endless variety of patterns and color combinations from which to choose. Although a professional contractor is needed to maximize this unique benefit, you will discover that concrete flooring is one of the most flexible and versatile materials today when you’re looking for a positive aesthetic impact.

List of the Cons of Acid Stained Concrete Floors

1. Every concrete floor takes the acid stain differently.
Every concrete surface might qualify for acid staining, but that doesn’t mean every floor you have is suitable for this product. The age of your concrete, along with its mix design for the slab, will determine what the outcome will be when you apply this product. If you are already using the area heavily for your household needs, then it might be a better choice to pursue a different sealant or colorant for the floor.

2. The results are unpredictable, even on brand-new concrete floors.
Some concrete slaps will only go through a variation of a couple of shades after applying an acid stain to the surface. Then there are the floors that can go through drastic changes. It is possible for the same floor to turn different shades even though the same color of stain is being used with multiple pours. Even the method of application to the concrete can be enough to alter what the final look will be. Although this disadvantage is uncommon, it is an issue that may occur and impact the final results of the work.

3. There is a lot of extra labor involved with acid staining.
When you decide to use acid staining for your concrete floors, then you must budget for an extra level of labor expenses when compared to other colorant products for this surface. You must rinse and neutralize the slab once you have the stain applied to it. There is also a physical residue that you must remove prior to the installation of your preferred sealant because it will interfere with the quality of the work. If you fail to take any of these steps during the creation process, then you might need to start over with your work – adding to the time, product cost, and work that needs to be finished.

4. There are only a handful of colors available with this option.
If you are thinking about using acid stains for your concrete floor, then you should be aware that the variety of colors that are available is minimal. Most manufacturers have 10 hues or less from which to choose, and most of the are typically Earth tones. Although this setup creates a muted look for the floor which can become a versatile space for you to use, there aren’t many options available in today’s market if you really enjoy having bright colors in your home.

5. It won’t change the impact issues that concrete floors create in the home.
Although concrete floors are extremely durable and a cost-effective option, there are specific aspects of ownership that must come under consideration if you plan to use this surface on a full-time basis. When glass products fall onto concrete floors, it is more likely to shatter the item than other services. If someone were to follow after using the acid stain, then they would still have a higher risk of being hurt when compared to carpet or hardwood.

That is why the installation of a concrete floor in any area where young children will be spending time is something that should be given considerable thought.

6. This option is difficult to use in residential settings.
Acid stains are typically used in commercial settings because the work can add visual effects to an interior surface without a significant investment. Although you could use this technique for a basement, shop, or other interior space, the skill of a professional flooring contractor is usually necessary to create the results you want to see. Once the stain is applied to the concrete floor, there are only a few seconds available to create the desired pattern. If you make a mistake during this process, then it can be challenging to correct the issue since the acidity digs deeply into the porous concrete surface.

7. Acid staining will not cover imperfections in your floor.
Acid stains can make an old concrete floor look like it is new again, but it cannot hide the imperfections that might be present on that surface. You will need to correct issues like discoloration or cracking before applying this product to avoid an undesirable result. That means you must prepare the floor before treating the surface to create the results that you want. If you are dealing with an unevenly colored floor already, then this disadvantage might not apply in your specific situation.

8. The results you achieve are purely aesthetic.
Acid stained concrete floors improve the aesthetic value of any space that uses the surface when the product is applied correctly. It does not improve the durability of the concrete to resist spills, stains, or abrasions. If you need to protect your floor because it is in a high traffic area, then you will need to combine the acid stain with another product, such as a sealant, to lock in all of the benefits that you want. You may even need to choose a decorative epoxy coating to ensure that your floor looks the way that you want.

Verdict on the Pros and Cons of Acid Stained Concrete Floors

Acid stained concrete floors provide a relatively easy way to improve the look of any space that uses this surface. You can spruce up your garage floors, create a functional industrial area, and create a beautiful finish. Many, but not all, surfaces can give you a variety of colors in the finish to add depth and dimension.

The pros and cons of acid stained concrete floors must also look at the availability of color and the need for extra products to complete the workl. Although your maintenance needs are minimal when the work is finished, the time and labor needed to apply this product correctly may put it out of reach for some consumers.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.