Can You Use Wood Stain On Concrete? (Find Out Now!)

Rebekah Pierce
by Rebekah Pierce

There’s nothing more beautiful or elegant than a richly colored concrete floor. However, you may not want to make a separate trip to the hardware store for concrete stains. Can that leftover wood stain you have from your last deck staining project be used instead?

You can use most types of wood stain to coat concrete. However, you will need to take certain steps to make sure the surface is properly conditioned to accept the coating. You will also need to use a waterproofing agent to protect it. Consider using acid-based concrete stain instead of wood stain, which won’t scrape off over time.

While concrete stain is the preferred product for staining concrete, know that wood stain can be used just as you would use concrete stain. It might just not last as long!

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What is the Difference Between Wood Stain and Concrete Stain?

Stain is stain, right?

Well, not quite.

There are several significant differences between concrete stain and wood stain that you need to be aware of if you want to have a successful DIY project.

Wood stains are much like thin paint. It will coat a concrete floor rather than soaking in, merely adhering to its surface instead.

An acid-based concrete stain will chemically react to the concrete and soak fully in. Instead of just sitting on the surface, it will become a permanent part of the concrete.

There are also water-based concrete stains, but these, again, act more like paint. If you can, use concrete stain on your concrete floors and other surfaces, but in a pinch, wood stain will work, too.

How to Stain Concrete

Staining concrete is not complicated, but it’s important that you have the proper know-how before you dive in. Here are some tips.

How Long Must Concrete Cure Before Staining?

Your concrete should be at least four weeks old before you stain it. Concrete needs time to cure before it is sealed or stained. The curing process is what enables the excess water in the concrete to evaporate.

If you rush the process, you may find that the stain you use flakes off almost right away. Some brands of stain actually recommend 60 days, so be sure to read the instructions.

What Kind of Stain Can You Use on Concrete?

Your first step in staining concrete is choosing the right kind of stain. You can use wood stain but concrete stain, as mentioned earlier, is the preferred option if you have the choice.

When shopping for concrete stain, know that you can choose from acid-based or water-based products (just as you can with wood stain). An acid-based stain will resist fading and last longer than a water-based one.

However, water-based stains are easier to apply and available in a wider variety of colors. They also dry faster.

Concrete paint is another alternative to consider.

Staining Concrete Step by Step

After giving the concrete plenty of time to cure, you’re ready to stain. Start by removing any items from the floor and cleaning the area thoroughly. Get rid of all dust and dirt, as these will show through the stain.

If you notice any cracks in the concrete, now is a good time to fix them with a crack sealant.

Remove all previous paints, sealers, coatings, and adhesives. If you plan on using an acid concrete stain, use an etch and cleaner to prepare the surface. You can use a paint roller, handheld brush, or airless paint sprayer to apply the stain to your concrete. Work in small sections, if you need to.

Once you’re done staining, let it react with the floor for at least six hours. Then, clean up the residue and pour some water on the floor to give you an idea of what the final color will look like. If you want it to be darker or richer, go ahead and apply a second coat.

You’ll know your floors are dry when you can wipe the floor with a white cloth and no residue remains.

After the floor is dry, you can apply a concrete finishing sealer. This will protect the finish of your concrete and allow you to enhance the depth of color. It can also repel dirt, wear, and water.

The sealer can be applied after your stain has cured for a minimum of 24 hours.

Related Questions

Can I use Minwax wood stain on concrete?

You can use Minwax wood stain on concrete but keep in mind it will scrape off over time. You will have better, more long-lasting results if you use a concrete, acid-based stain.

How long does it take wood stain to dry on concrete?

It takes wood stains around 24 hours to cure but should be dry to the touch in around 20 minutes. These times can vary depending on the type of stain you are using as well as the temperature, humidity, and airflow of the surrounding environment.

Can you stain over sealed concrete?

You can stain over sealed concrete, but you will need to take a few extra steps. If you apply the stain right over the sealed concrete, it will flake off. Instead,  you will need to remove the sealer on the floor. Another way to get around this is to apply a thin layer of acrylic polymer modified concrete on top, and then apply a new coat of stain one day later. 

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Other Tips for Staining Concrete

When you’re staining concrete, it’s important to first test a small section and let it dry completely before you continue with the rest of the area. This will not only let you see how the concrete reacts to the stain but also will allow you to determine if you like how it looks.

Use painter’s tape to prevent stain splatters along borders and be sure to remove any existing concrete sealer before you apply a new stain color.

Ultimately, know that staining your concrete floor can give new life to your basement, garage, or outdoor living space. Follow these steps for a successful experience each and every time!

Rebekah Pierce
Rebekah Pierce

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